Cricket Aus defends season opener's clash with NRL GF
Cricket Australia have stood by their decision to schedule the opening match of the international season on the same day as the NRL grand final and are adamant it won't be overshadowed.
A women's Twenty20 between Australia and the West Indies at North Sydney Oval on October 1 will finish only hours before the NRL grand final.
The clash means some fans will have to choose which event to attend, with TV viewers asked to decide between the cricket and rugby league's grand final lead-up games.
CA take the view that in a cluttered schedule clashes are inevitable, but that a Sunday start in Sydney is the right way to go. They will also hope to benefit from Channel Seven promoting the match during the AFL grand final the previous day.
They are also adamant the cricket season should start on October 1, and have backed their world champion women's team to still draw a strong crowd.
"This fixture's worked really well in the past," Cricket Australia scheduling boss Peter Roach told reporters on Monday.
"We're fortunate to have the same broadcasters for both AFL and cricket so we know it's a terrific lead-in for our women's summer of cricket.
"We have adjusted the times to make sure we're not intersecting with either the NRL women's (or) men's matches, but we know it'll be a terrific (game).
"It's a terrific venue for women's cricket, North Sydney Oval, and it'll be well supported as always.
"We have played on the AFL grand final night before but we think that Sunday is our preference and we really want to maximise the school holiday period.
"So trying to get as many games in that early October window was a real preference for us. So starting as quickly as we can after the AFL grand final was our priority."
Captain Meg Lanning said having the game on the weekend "makes a lot of sense" while fellow stalwart Jess Jonassen was optimistic about the Sunday afternoon timeslot.
"The benefit for us is we've got an afternoon fixture and the NRL (grand) final is at night, so hopefully people go from our game straight over to there," Jonassen said.
"Even better if no New South Wales teams make the NRL (grand) final it's an all-Queensland derby.
"The cricket schedule is jam-packed and there's always going to be tricky times that you have to play while trying to balance the best possible opportunity for exposure for all games.
"Whenever we get to play is a really awesome opportunity. I appreciate the AFL grand final is the day before, so hopefully we leverage off that as well."