Warrnambool will make history in October with the redeveloped Reid Oval to host an AFLW match between Essendon and Geelong for the first time.
The inaugural Bombers - coached by Warrnambool-raised Natalie Wood - will host the Cats in the clash on Sunday, October 9 at 1.10pm, which is expected to draw a loud and passionate south-west crowd.
Wood said it was going to be "surreal" for her to coach in her hometown, where she grew up surrounded by the game before becoming one of the trailblazers of female football.
"To think that I get to coach an AFLW team in Warrnambool on the Reid is surreal," she told The Standard.
"I spent my childhood playing hockey staring through the fence and watching all the people get to play football.
"So to think that 20-odd years later bringing a women's game to Warrnambool, it's just fantastic.
"It's a huge credit to the council and all the work that's gone into the redevelopment.
"It's a premier stadium and it's exciting for Warrnambool to get feature games. Finally there is a facility suitable for AFLW, so it's great for the region."
Warrnambool City Council mayor Cr Vicki Jellie said bringing elite sport to the region was "exciting news".
"The brand new Reid Oval is less than three months old and already we're beginning to attract elite competitions to Warrnambool and that is what the upgrades and redevelopment was about," she said.
"It's fabulous - it's an AFLW game, it's building gender equality and building gender equitable facilities was a big part of the Reid Oval upgrade and we worked towards breaking down the barriers of representing all people playing sport.
"So many people follow AFLW, it's becoming more popular, we've got more women and girls being involved in our region and in the city - we thank them for choosing the Reid Oval."
Jellie said she wanted to acknowledge the work done by council to put Warrnambool on the map.
"Our recreation team has worked hard to promote the Reid Oval and Warrnambool as a destination for the AFLW," she said.
"It's a good positive story for the city."
Reid Oval is one of 33 different venues across the country fixtured for AFLW matches this season with the competition set for 18 teams for the first time.
The finals series will now stretch over four weeks, with the top eight to play finals.
The season is set to begin on Thursday, August 25 with the traditional blockbuster between Carlton and Collingwood at IKON Park.
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