Freo loses WAFL final to Leederville

City of Vincent CEO David MacLennan and WAFC CEO Michael Roberts.

LEEDERVILLE OVAL has won hosting rights for the 2022 WAFL Grand Final on October 1, beating out Fremantle council’s bid.

It’s always a scramble among suburban ovals to host the big day and bring in the crowds: in 2020 Fremantle business owners pooled $50,000 in funding to help bring the game to their oval expecting visitors’ on-spend would be worth it. 

In 2021 Optus Stadium had the deal cinched up and local ovals lost out to the state government-owned grounds, but this year Optus Stadium will be busy on game day getting into cricket mode for a rescheduled Twenty20. 

This year Leederville Oval was chosen over bids from Fremantle and Bassendean. 

Vincent council won the WA Football Commission over by pledging to close off the streets and turn Leederville and Oxford Street into a festival of football on game day, and to invest funds into replacing the turf and fixing up the soggy grounds. That’s been a bone of contention among players who don’t enjoy the muddy Melbourne style of semi-aquatic play. 

WAFC CEO Michael Roberts said in a press statement: “It was never an easy choice to make but we believe after reviewing the submissions and the extensive meetings with clubs and local governments, that we have made the right choice.

“Naturally, some fans will be upset it wasn’t their home ground, but we’ve tried to go for a central location that is currently looking like it will be a neutral ground for teams on the road to the Grand Final.

“At the end of the day, we want to see as many people get to the game or in and around the precinct, cheering on their team and having the best game day experience while watching some of the best players in the competition.”

Vincent mayor Emma Cole said in an announcement: “We are excited to have people experience the buzzing heart of Leederville.

“Footy fans have plenty of places to dine, have a drink and shop in Leederville before and after the big game.”

Leedy Oval has a capacity of 14,000, higher than Fremantle Oval’s 10,000 but still far too small to fit in the near 30,000 people who attended the 2021 grand final at Optus Stadium.

by DAVID BELL

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