Saturday, June 15, 2024

WA clubs want Victorian teams to play home games in Perth

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THE West Australian clubs want Victorian teams to play home games in Perth as the competitive balance debate rages across the country.

West Coast and Fremantle view travel as the biggest disadvantage they face in the modern game and something they believe sits at the centre of the league’s pursuit of greater equity.

Under a proposal discussed with the AFL, the Dockers and Eagles are suggesting two Victorian teams once every five years play a “home” game at Optus Stadium and therefore one less home game in their home state.

The Perth-based clubs point to the fact that this year four Victorian teams play 17 games in their home state and another three play 16.

The Dockers and Eagles play 12 in WA given they face each other in the derby twice.

Fremantle and West Coast aren’t whingeing, blaming anyone or even demanding change, but instead are collaboratively enquiring with the league about a simple solution that would give them something back.

Another Gather Round won’t work in Perth for geographical reasons and Adelaide has made it their own.

Broadly, the WA clubs believe the fixture is born out of a state-based competition – the VFL – where away games meant driving to a neighbouring suburb or Geelong at worst.

But they point to the fact the competition has now evolved, with two teams on the west coast and 14 others more than 3000km away. Yet the same fixturing philosophy applies.

As one chief executive said: “As a CEO of a Victorian-based club the first thing you look at is: ‘Are we playing in Perth once or twice?’ And it’s a massive win if you’re only playing there once.”

Victorian-based clubs playing home games in enemy territory is nothing new.
Melbourne once played home games against Brisbane at the Gabba, North Melbourne did the same at the SCG and Richmond have played home games against Gold Coast in Cairns.

Cairns are currently trying to woo Hawthorn to the region to play home games once its deal with Tasmania ends and Collingwood want to play a home game against the Suns on the Gold Coast.

Gold Coast would welcome that, despite the Suns’ home game against the Pies being their most lucrative fixture, because the Suns would also like to ease their travel schedule.

However, it’s understood the Pies’ asking price to shift a home game north is currently more than the City of Gold Coast are willing to pay.





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