No commitment on AFLW home and away matches in Ballarat

BACK HOME: Former Ballarat girl Laura Bailey in action on Saturday.

BACK HOME: Former Ballarat girl Laura Bailey in action on Saturday.

Despite the success of Saturday night’s AFLW practice match in Ballarat, a fully-fledged game for premiership points in the city doesn’t appear to be in the immediate planning.

Western Bulldogs women’s football boss Debbie Lee was in Ballarat for the weekend’s fixture against Carlton, which drew a strong crowd to Mars Stadium.

Lee said it was a great event, but added that nothing had been tabled around bringing a home game to Ballarat in the future.

“We haven’t tabled that or (aren’t) up to any 2019 discussions. We are just about to kick off the 2018 season so our focus has been really on that in terms of what that footy season looks like and the venues we will be playing at,” Lee said.

“But I’m sure it would be considered if the opportunity presented itself.”

Lee said fixturing is a collaborative effort between the Western Bulldogs and the AFL.

“We haven’t really approached those discussions yet,” she said.

“I can’t really comment if it’s a yes or a no, but what I can say is that the experience at Mars Stadium was great and it is a suitable venue to roll out women’s footy, absolutely.”

Lee said she was surprised by the large crowd that turned out for the practice game and heaped praise on the redeveloped venue.

“I was really impressed. The facilities were really great and really conducive to the women’s footy,” she said.

The Western Bulldogs have a strong relationship with Ballarat and held the first AFL match for premiership points in the city last season.

Two more AFL games have been scheduled for 2018, as well as a JLT Community Series encounter during the pre-season.

The Bulldogs will play at Mars Stadium in round seven against the Gold Coast Suns and again in round 17 against Port Adelaide.

Hawthorn is the Bulldogs’ opponents for the JLT Community Series encounter on March 3.

Carlton won last Saturday night’s AFLW pre-season game by 16 points.

All AFLW clubs are now preparing for the start of the season, which gets underway on February 2.

There will be seven home and away rounds before the grand final on March 24.