The Carlton v Brisbane AFLW match was played in pretty dark conditions.
The Carlton v Brisbane AFLW match was played in pretty dark conditions.

Safety is paramount: AFLW chief on Ikon Park lights

IKON Park's lighting has been slammed with Brisbane coach Craig Starcevich declaring the seemingly dimmed conditions "terrible".

Portable flood lighting has been brought in to Carlton's home base for AFLW night games in an attempt to brighten the ground, but there has been concern in both night matches played at the venue so far this season.

And the Lions coach did not hold back in his assessment on Saturday night.

"No (it wasn't well-lit enough). Nowhere near it," he said.

"Terrible, really, at ground level. We're up in the box looking across the ground and we're all a bit old, so we're trying to see what we're looking for, but not good enough, I don't think."

The Australian Standard - Sports Lighting dictates that professional competitions will be played under illuminance of 500 lux. Match practice can be completed under 200 lux.

Starcevich said that conditions could only be described as "very dark".

The Carlton v Brisbane AFLW match was played in pretty dark conditions.
The Carlton v Brisbane AFLW match was played in pretty dark conditions.

"I'm just thinking 'God, is this OK safety-wise for the players?'," he said.

"But anyway, we played and we got through, but it just seems very dark."

AFLW CEO Nicole Livingstone said safety was paramount and that the issue is on her radar.

"The lighting at Princess Park has been discussed quite a lot," she said on Channel 9's Women's Footy Show.

"I know that there are submissions in the Victorian Government to upgrade the suburban grounds and Princess Park is one of them."

Asked if the issue would prompt changes to the fixture, she added: "If there are concerns about the League to bring that to us. From an umpiring point of view we ask two coaches to join us for an umpire review.

"Because we are so immature in terms of our development we are relying on the coaches to come to the table and help us as well. If that is something that comes up this week, we may look at fixturing.

"The fixture is part of a very big picture in terms of broadcast, in terms of flights to make sure that the players can get in and out as well. So it is a much bigger piece of puzzle that we need to look at."

Photos taken reflect the ground wasn’t as well lit as it could have been.
Photos taken reflect the ground wasn’t as well lit as it could have been.

Carlton interim coach Nick Rutley said the issue first occurred to him when his side trained on the ground on Thursday night.

"I noticed it a little bit, but I thought 'oh well, that's bound to improve, because we're having a game," he said.

"The flood lighting did improve a little bit, but it's hard to see from behind glass in a box as well.

"There could be something in that.

"I'm not sure if this was flagged at all last year and if it hadn't been and they're still booking in games for now, I'd say the AFL is happy with it.

"I'd love to see night football stay a fixture, for sure."

Rutley also refuted the suggestion that the Blues had ignored the league's memo encouraging a 5-6-5 formation at the centre bounce amid concerns around defensive flooding.

The Blues appeared to regularly have at least one player behind the ball in their loss to Brisbane.

"We're definitely not ignoring the memo, and it's not habit, either," he said.

Ex-Blue Nat Exon and teammate Kate McCarthy celebrate the win. Picture: Getty
Ex-Blue Nat Exon and teammate Kate McCarthy celebrate the win. Picture: Getty

"It comes down to the opposition and how they interpret the rules and how they play the game. We don't have to go up to the stoppages just because opposition do. And if we stay and hold our ground, that's OK. The directive of the AFL said that's OK. That's probably a question for them and how they're interpreting the rules and playing by them."

Starcevich said the Blues tactics "can be" difficult to penetrate.

"But the players were the ones getting frustrated, because they're just sort of bombing it into a zone where there's an out player and a significant out number," he said.

"They were a little bit more composed in the second half and actually lowered the eyes a little bit and went for the obvious ones right in front of their nose and they were much better off. "When you're looking from above, you look at the numbers and think 'that's impossible to get through' but if you move the ball quick enough, you can still find a way."



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