AN AFLW heartland will be off limits for season seven, as Victoria University Whitten Oval undergoes significant redevelopment work.
The Western Bulldogs will play at a temporary home ground for the season – to be announced alongside fixture details in the coming days – and have already started their training at Skinner Reserve in Braybrook.
Redevelopments at the venue include upgrading the oval surface, realigning the playing surface itself, as well as spectator areas to enhance the experience of the club's 3000+ AFLW members. This will see the Whitten Stand demolished and the construction of a new high performance facility.
To date Whitten Oval has hosted 25 AFLW matches, the second-most of any venue, and has played home ground to not just the Bulldogs but Brisbane, West Coast and Fremantle when COVID wreaked havoc with state borders in recent seasons.
It also holds a special part of AFLW history as the venue Brooke Lochland kicked an AFLW record-breaking seven goals in round four, 2018. This record still stands today. The Dogs have won 11 of their 21 games at the venue, and look to be on an upward swing in form heading into next season.
"It’s a shame that we won’t be able to host games at VU Whitten Oval this season. We’ve worked extremely hard over a long period of time to establish our venue as having the best game-day experience in women’s football, and we know how much our members and fans love to support our players here," Bulldogs’ CEO Ameet Bains said.
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"We have been working closely with the AFL to secure venues for us to host our home games this season, and these will be communicated in line with the fixture release."
Several AFLW grounds have recently undergone redevelopment, or are still in the throes of changes, including Casey Fields, Ikon Park and GMHBA Stadium, while both Punt Road and Victoria Park will both begin construction on fresh AFLW facilities soon.
Brisbane's new AFLW facility, Brighton Homes Arena in Springfield is on track to be completed later this year.