The Western Bulldogs can confirm that redevelopment work at the VU Whitten Oval precinct in 2022 will prevent the Club’s AFLW team from hosting home games at the venue in Season 7.
Crucial work is set to be undertaken in the later stages of the year which will include the oval surface and surrounding spectator amenities, causing the Bulldogs’ women’s team to find alternative venues to host their matches.
The Club, with support from Maribyrnong City Council, has developed a secondary training venue at Skinner Reserve in Braybrook, where the AFLW team is currently embarking on its pre-season preparations.
The AFL is expected to release its fixture for Season 7 of the AFLW season over the next week, where the Bulldogs’ ‘home’ matches will be revealed.
Season 7 will begin on the weekend of August 27/28.
“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,” said Bulldogs’ CEO Ameet Bains.
“It’s an unfortunate and inevitable consequence of undertaking such a large-scale redevelopment of the precinct, that the venue will be unavailable to visitors for certain periods.
“What we do know is that when it’s complete, VU Whitten Oval will be an incredible place to watch men’s and women’s football, and experience everything the precinct has to offer.
“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.
“We have undertaken considerable planning to look after our AFLW members – more than 3000 of you – who received home game entitlements as part of their Season 6 memberships.
“We will communicate our plans directly to our AFLW members very soon, to ensure your value is maintained despite the Club not having access to our home venue for the upcoming season.”
The iconic VU Whitten Oval facility is in the midst of undergoing the most significant facelift in its long and storied history, and will transform into a modern, state-of-the-art precinct which is home to the Club’s four elite men’s and women’s teams as well as a place for the community of the West to congregate and enjoy.
With the support of the State Government and the Federal Government, that transformation will happen over the next 18 months as construction experts ADCO piece together the build.
Works involve the demolition and rebuilding of the famous Whitten Stand, construction of a new high-performance centre and indoor sports field, realignment of the oval surface, vast improvement of spectator amenities for AFLW, VFLW and VFL football, the establishment of a Women’s Health and Leadership Hub, and a physical home for the Western Bulldogs Community Foundation programs.