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Hawks coach ruffles AFLW fixture feathers

Hawthorn coach Bec Goddard has called on AFLW officials to move her club’s inaugural fixture to Marvel Stadium to cater for an expected large crowd.

The full schedule for season seven was released on Monday, with the Hawks drawn to take on fellow expansion team Essendon in round one.

The August 27 contest is set to be played at Port Melbourne’s ETU Stadium – also known as North Port Oval – which was packed with several thousand fans for Sunday’s VFLW grand final.

Goddard is convinced the demand for tickets to the Hawks-Bombers AFLW opener will be high enough to warrant a move to the much larger Docklands venue.

“We’ve got great expectations of our players and our fans,” Goddard said.

“Hawthorn and Essendon traditionally hate each other with the passion of a thousand suns and I’m so excited about the opportunity we have to sell this game out.

“Huge numbers turned out yesterday (at the VFLW grand final) and the ground was really creaking.

“If we sell it out, it’s going to have to get moved to Marvel.”

Goddard, Adelaide’s 2017 AFLW premiership coach, hopes to kick-start a “#MoveItToMarvel” movement for the Hawks’ inaugural game.

She doesn’t want to see a similar situation to the competition’s first-ever fixture, when fans were locked out of the Carlton-Collingwood opener in season one.

“This is a first-time event for both of our clubs and there’s no (AFL) men’s football on that weekend,” Goddard said.

“We’ve got 70,000-plus members of a traditional football club and a rivalry (with Essendon) that is unsurpassed.

“We want to be able to really promote that game and set our teams in the right direction.”

Essendon coach Natalie Wood backed Goddard’s call.

“The women’s game is one for the community and it’s one for families and friends, and we just want everyone to be able to attend,” Wood said.

“Hopefully we’re at the right ground that allows everyone to come.”

Essendon are still waiting to learn the full extent of Georgia Nanscawen’s suspected serious knee injury after she was hurt in the club’s VFLW grand final win over the Southern Saints.

Nanscawen was the first player signed to the Bombers’ AFLW squad.

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