Update 7.15pm Horsham's Nekaela Butler will make her AFLW debut on Saturday without a crowd to cheer her on after the AFL announced no fans would be able to attend games for the foreseeable future due to coronavirus concerns around large public gatherings.
Australian Football League Chief Executive Officer Gillon McLachlan made the announcement in a statement released on Friday evening, with the change affecting NAB AFL Women's and Toyota AFL Premiership season.
As of Saturday, March 14 AFL and AFLW matches will only host players, coaches, essential club officials, umpires, AFL match day officials, essential broadcast teams, media and required venue staff with no supporters permitted to attend.
Earlier: Horsham's Nekaela Butler will live out a lifelong dream on Saturday afternoon.
Butler will make her AFLW debut with the Richmond Tigers - the club she grew up supporting - against St Kilda at Moorabbin Oval.
Butler found out she would debut after training on Wednesday night, a euphoric moment followed by an emotional phone call.
"It was a bit unbelievable," Butler said.
"I didn't think I was going to get a game at all this year. I thought I was just going to keep training and trying to develop.
"I was in a bit of shock - I called Mum (Pauline Butler) after and just cried with her on the phone. I was that excited."
Butler said she was not expecting a full night's sleep on Friday, and expected a nervous build-up to the match beginning at 5.10pm.
Richmond is still searching for its first AFLW victory after five losses to start its inaugural season.
"I didn't sleep Wednesday night when I was told, so I don't think I'll sleep at all tonight either," Butler said.
"We're always hopeful of the team to go out there and play our best. We're a first-year club, so we're just here to enjoy the moment and have a bit of fun along the way.
"It's been awesome so far. I really couldn't be any happier right now."
Butler's mother Pauline said it was the realisation of a lifelong dream.
"I couldn't be prouder. To see your daughter live her dream, it's a pretty amazing feeling to be honest," she said.
"Ever since she was young, it was 'What do you want to be when you grow up?' and her answer was always 'to play footy.'
"For her to achieve that, it's an amazing achievement."
While Pauline was hopeful of watching her daughter debut in person, the match could be played in front of an empty stadium, amid coronavirus concerns.
The Melbourne Grand Prix was cancelled on Friday morning, while AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan said AFL matches could be played without crowds, if health authorities ban large public gatherings.
"We're heading down to the game tomorrow but we'll see what happens," Pauline said.
"Either way ... we just can't wait to see her run out in the yellow and black.
"It's a team that we support as a family, which makes it even more special."
Meanwhile Ararat's Ella Wood was omitted from Tigers' lineup, three weeks after making her AFLW debut.
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