Only completed in late 2017, Optus Stadium is the newest ground in the AFL, and will be the home for both the Fremantle Dockers and West Coast Eagles from the beginning of the 2018 season. With both clubs saying farewell to Subiaco Oval at the end of the 2017 season, it will come down to the club who can more readily adjust to its new environment that will first truly call the place home.

In a state-of-the-art stadium with world-class facilities, the ground itself will be a huge drawcard for Perth locals. On the 10th February 2018, the first Australian Football game was played at the ground between Fremantle and Collingwood in the AFLW, attracting a crowd of 41,975—the largest stand-alone figure for women’s sport in Australia.

Measuring up at 165 metres long and 130 metres wide, Optus Stadium isn’t as long as the old Subiaco Oval, which was 10 metres longer. Furthermore, the new stadium is considerably wider than the Subiaco in dimensions that reflect those of the MCG. This is a worrying fact that the Perth teams will have to deal with, and for the initial period will feel like they’ve lost their home advantage, especially when playing Melbourne-based teams who are more accustomed to the shape and size of Perth stadium.

However, it’s not all bad news for the Dockers and Eagles players, who will be looking to kick-start a new and successful era for their respective clubs. In a stadium that was jokingly nicknamed ‘the cray-pot’ due to its steep, confining shape, the grandstands are close to the action, and can seat up to 60,000 people, which will surely create a formidable atmosphere for visiting teams. With two passionate and vocal groups of supporters, West Coast and Fremantle will definitely feel (and see) the support around them.