WAFC Football Operations Manager Scott Baker is confident the state game between Western Australia will go ahead at Optus Stadium as planned this weekend.

Last week there was speculation the game may not take place at Optus Stadium due to weather and playing surface concerns, with Claremont proposed as an alternative venue. 

The two sides will come head-to-head on Sunday afternoon as the curtain-raiser to West Coast’s clash against Melbourne. 

On Sports Breakfast Baker has confirmed, after conversations with Optus Stadium, the match is all-systems go at WA’s main stadium.  

“It’s definitely not at Claremont Oval. We’re all systems go at Optus Stadium,” he said. 

“I spoke to them yesterday, we’ve got some really favourable weather, and a 9-day break between Fremantle’s game on Friday night and this Sunday’s game. I can’t see any issue getting on Optus Stadium.

“We’ll work on a contingency and make a call over the next few days. Based on my conversations pretty high up at Optus yesterday, they’re really committed to the game. I can’t see it being an issue.”

The speculation arose after poor weather was forecast across Perth in the week leading up, which could possibly damage the playing surface.

On Sunday, VenuesLive confirmed they would be monitoring and continuously assessing the surface in the week leading up to the game.  

Baker also said that he had been in contact with AFL Executive General Manager Laura Kane to negotiate the conditions surrounding hosting the two-state games as Curtain Raisers over the past month.

“I met with Laura Kane a couple of weeks ago and we know that some people don’t like it at Optus Stadium. We met with her a couple of weeks ago and pushed with her to help us around the finish time,” he said.

“We’ve got the finish time of those state games now 60 minutes before AFL bounce not 90. At the women’s game the other week there were quite a few people there for the last quarter-and-a-half to two-quarters which was really pleasing and what it was pre-covid. 

“We’ll continue to plan for that. South Australia are coming over, so the Stadium understands moving at late notice isn’t ideal and I’m really confident that won’t happen. 

Optus Stadium hosted the inaugural State Women’s game on May 4th, which saw South Australia beat Western Australia by 14 points. 

Looking forward, hosting a double-header with both the men’s and women’s games is a possibility Baker is coming around to moving forward.

“With the success of the Women’s State game a couple of weeks ago, that was a really good game, the players really brought in here and also from South Australia.

It’s two weeks apart, it’s a bit silly South Australia coming over two times in three weeks. The Boys 18s start in a couple of weeks.

“Is there an opportunity to play a doubleheader with the boys and girls state game and potentially the 18s game around it

against South Australia at Norwood Oval next year? and then back here next year at Leederville or Claremont? 

“I’m coming around to that concept, but we’ll obviously get through this year, have some conversations with the SANFL and we’ll definitely explore that option for next year.”

IMAGE: WA Football