The Queensland Government, Cairns Regional Council, AFL Cairns and Hawthorn Football Club are delighted to announce that Hawthorn will be hosting a home game at Cazalys Stadium during the 2023 AFLW season.
This game will be played during the AFLW’s Indigenous Round, with Hawthorn playing host to Richmond Football Club in Cairns on Friday 20 October under lights.
The hosting of this game comes on the back of Hawthorn holding its pre-season camp in the region over the weekend as part of the ‘Northern Nest’ initiative, which saw the club connect with the North Queensland community and inspire women and girls in the region to be physically active and engaged in sport and recreation. Similarly to the camp, hosting this game in Cairns presents a significant opportunity for the local community to be further exposed to elite professional sport, with significant benefits for tourism economy. Additionally, with the game occurring during Indigenous Round, local indigenous communities in the region will be celebrated and showcased as part of the ceremonies surrounding the match.
The match will be part of a festival of football at Cazalys Stadium, with plenty of family fun and fan engagement opportunities around the ground on the night.
AFL Cairns General Manager Craig Lees was rapt to be able to play host to the Hawks for a showpiece match, especially during such a special round on the calendar.
“AFL Cairns couldn’t be more thrilled to have the opportunity to host the Hawthorn AFLW side for this momentous match at Cazalys Stadium. It’s a true showpiece event, especially during the prestigious Indigenous Round on the AFLW calendar.
“Hawthorn Football Club’s positive culture made a remarkable impact in Cairns over the weekend, inspiring and uniting local footballers. Their meaningful interactions left an enduring impression, and our community is delighted to have reached a deal with our stakeholders which will see the Hawks return for a game during the regular season.
“We are proud to showcase our region’s passion for sport, and this game will undoubtedly leave a lasting impact on our community. It’s an occasion not to be missed.”
Hawthorn Football Club Acting CEO Ash Klein was equally excited to see the Hawks take centre stage at Cazalys Stadium.
“We are delighted to take the next step in our partnership with the Queensland Government via Tourism and Events Queensland, Cairns Regional Council and AFL Cairns by hosting an AFLW blockbuster game against Richmond at Cazalys Stadium,” Klein said.
“We know the Cairns community are passionate about our game and we look forward to seeing them come out in droves to support the brown and gold.
“As a club, we are committed to growing the game and getting more women and girls involved, and there’s no better way to do this than by showcasing our sport at the elite level in a fantastic region like Cairns.”
Member for Cairns and Assistant Tourism Minister Michael Healy said the 20 October AFLW fixture was a first for Cazalys Stadium.
“Bringing the AFLW to Cazalys Stadium for the Indigenous Round is a wonderful investment in Tropical North Queensland’s visitor economy and women’s sport,” Mr Healy said.
“The Hawthorn v Richmond game will be Cazalys first AFLW match and continues the stadium’s long-standing tradition of hosting elite, premiership Australian Rules Football.
“We know this match has amazing potential to inspire young girls and women in the Tropical North to stay active, healthy and get involved in the game.”
Tourism and Sport Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said the Hawthorn v Richmond AFLW game was part of Tourism and Events Queensland’s It’s Live! In Queensland events calendar.
“We’re backing the AFLW’s first match at Cazalys Stadium because of its potential to generate hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Tropical North’s visitor economy and support good Queensland jobs,” Mr Hinchliffe said.
“The Hawthorn v Richmond AFLW Indigenous Round clash will be highly anticipated in Cairns with the State already experiencing an incredible 380 per cent increase in Queensland girls and women playing AFL.
“For teams, support crew and the growing AFLW supporter base in Cairns for the game, this is also a terrific opportunity to discover more of Tropical North Queensland’s great lifestyle and iconic, world-class visitor experiences.”
TEQ CEO Patricia O’Callaghan concluded: “Events are a major player in our state’s tourism industry and a key factor in helping maintain Queensland’s appeal in an increasingly competitive environment.
“We’re focussed on ensuring TEQ’s It’s Live! in Queensland events calendar delivers exceptional content throughout the state.
“In addition to the tourism and community benefits from hosting this match, we’ll be working in partnership with Hawthorn to entice their massive fan base across the country up north for an unforgettable Queensland holiday.”
Cairns Regional Council Mayor Bob Manning welcomed the first AFLW fixture to be held in Tropical North Queensland.
“Hosting an AFLW game for the first time in Cairns is a wonderful opportunity for our region,” Cr Manning said.
“This inaugural fixture is fantastic news for local girls and women players who will be inspired by seeing top-level female athletes at Cazalys stadium.”
“It will also be a chance to showcase our city and our ability to host elite professional sport.”
“Cazalys Stadium is quite simply the best AFL oval in regional Australia.”
Events, Marketing & Communications Manager – AFL Cairns
M: 0408 940 138
Communications Coordinator – Hawthorn Football Club
M: 0428 485 956
Media – Office of the Hon Stirling Hinchliffe MP
M: 0427 475 089