North Melbourne is now set to host the AFLW Grand Final if it wins through, after the League clarified its rules on finals seedings with clubs.
There had been confusion among the remaining teams still left in AFLW competition as to whether the seedings for Grand Final hosting rights related to the home-and-away ladder, or if they changed throughout finals.
That confusion was further amplified over the weekend when Adelaide and Melbourne – the AFLW's No.1 and No.2 sides during the home-and-away season – were upset in their qualifying finals against Brisbane and North Melbourne respectively.
But the League has since moved to confirm to clubs that rankings will change depending on finals results, meaning North Melbourne – the highest-placed team already through to a preliminary final – is now seeded No.1 for Grand Final hosting rights.
Brisbane will therefore host the Grand Final if it wins through and North Melbourne loses its preliminary final, while Adelaide can now only play a home decider if both the Lions and the Kangaroos lose their preliminary finals.
In a statement sent to clubs, the League said the Grand Final hosting seeds were based on the following criteria:
- Ahead of Week One of Finals, teams are ranked according to the Home and Away Season finishing ladder.
- Following Week One of Finals, the two winning teams from the Qualifying Finals are automatically ranked as 1st and 2nd heading into the Preliminary Finals (position 1 going to the higher of the two teams per the home and away finishing ladder).
- This is currently 1. North Melbourne, 2. Brisbane
- The losing side from the two Qualifying Finals are automatically ranked 3rd and 4th (position 3 going to the higher of the two teams per the home and away finishing ladder).
- This is currently 3. Adelaide Crows, 4. Melbourne
- The two winners of the Elimination Finals are automatically ranked 5th and 6th (position 5 going to the higher of the two teams per the home and away finishing ladder).
- This is currently 5. Geelong Cats, 6. Sydney Swans
- The highest ranked winner from the Preliminary Finals will host the Grand Final based on the rankings set after Week One of Finals.
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North Melbourne, who finished third on the AFLW ladder, won through to a preliminary final after shocking reigning premiers Melbourne in a 41-point thumping on Sunday.
That result had followed an earlier upset that saw the fourth-placed Brisbane defeat minor premiers Adelaide by two points on Saturday, an outcome that will likely see the Crows lose their rights to host a potential Grand Final.
Adelaide will now face Sydney in next week's first semi-final on Saturday night, while Melbourne will look to respond against Geelong on Sunday.
The Crows have so far hosted three of the AFLW's six Grand Finals, while the Lions have won hosting rights twice. The other was played at Ikon Park, when the Western Bulldogs hosted the Grand Final in 2018.
Potential AFLW Grand Final venues
- Norwood Oval: Adelaide
- Brighton Homes Arena: Brisbane
- GMHBA Stadium: Geelong
- Ikon Park: Melbourne and North Melbourne
Seedings after week one of finals
1. North Melbourne
AFLW Ladder at the end of home and away season
3. North Melbourne
5. Gold Coast - eliminated
7. Essendon - eliminated