The newly built Brighton Homes Arena got its first test in November after hosting the 2022 AFL Women’s Grand Final match to excited crowds.
On Sunday, November 27, fans from near and far descended upon the brand new Michael Voss Oval, the elite playing field central to the recently opened Lions home base stadium on the corner of Eden Station Dr and the Springfield Greenbank-Arterial Rd.
After a headline performance by Delta Goodrem, the game kicked off at 1:40pm, with the Brisbane Lions women’s team facing off against the Melbourne Demons.
The match was also broadcast live on the big screen at Robelle Domain for those who missed out on tickets.
For sports lovers, the novelty of the occasion perhaps softened the blow of the outcome, with Brisbane falling short of their expected season victory by 4.
Brisbane Lions coach Craig Starcevich believed match hype got the better of the players, but that their “best is yet to come”.
“Footy is won and lost on the day,” Mr Starcevich said.
“To host in your own town and all the excitement around playing here, possibly that’s played some role.”
Since the women’s seasons began in 2017, the Lions have made it to the grand final four times – but taken home just a single premiership.
He said the loss will sting for some time because of the longer than normal gap until next season, but was optimistic about the team’s “long game”.
“It’s going to be something we’ll have to carry, and it’s going to burn for a little while.”
“There’s still a major portion of our group [aged] 22 or younger, which is fantastic for us going forward,” Mr Starcevich explained.
Disappointed but “proud”
Chairman of the Brisbane Lions Andrew Wellington was proud despite the disappointment.
“Our club’s very proud of this group and what they’ve achieved,” Mr Wellington said.
“There’s still a lot of good things ahead for this team. Thanks to all involved and thanks to the fans who still made it a special day at Springfield.”
“Strong crowds, amazing atmosphere, and a nail-biter finish,” Ms Mullen said.
“[I’m] disappointed for the Brisbane Lions AFLW team, but I’m confident they’ll be back bigger and better next season.”
Ultimately, the arena itself and the economic boost from hosting the games is the big score for Springfield, Ms Mullen explained.
“This is an incredible investment in our region and for women’s sport – and all here in Springfield!”
Division 2 Councillors Nicole Jonic and Paul Tully were also there, both capturing the thrilling moments on camera.
“The clash [was] the first game ever played at the new Brighton Homes Arena, which will be the training facility for the Men’s and Women’s teams,” Mr Tully said.
Ms Jonic brought along her daughter to the game and also managed to snap a selfie with Ms Goodrem.
“Pinch me! Our very own backyard is hosting the AFLW Grand Final!” she said.
See also: Lions stadium set for kick-off