The AFL is weighing up the proposition of introducing a finals hub in either Victoria or Western Australia, according to Eddie McGuire.
With COVID-19 currently forcing three states, Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales into lockdowns this week, the league is hell bent on continuing on with the home and away season without a break, despite suggestions of the pre-finals bye week being brought forward.
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According to McGuire, the the finals hub will be held in Victoria if the Victorian government allows crowds well in excess of 10,000 to be in attendance, with Perth looming as a backup option.
“Victoria desperately wants it, but can we get the crowds in? There is a real chance that we could have a finals hub in Perth for this year’s finals,” McGuire told Nine’s Footy Classified.
“If crowds are [allowed] in Melbourne, it’ll be in Melbourne, provided it’s not 10,000, but otherwise there’s a real chance Perth comes into play.
“Now, it could be a combination of the two. They might get the hub going here in Melbourne and then you can get over [to Perth] for a grand final if that was the case, or vice versa.”
Perth has already showcased its ability to hold a blockbuster Melbourne fixture this season, after the Dreamtime clash between Essendon and Richmond was forced West.
Tickets for the clash at Optus Stadium sold out inside a week, with players and coaches from both sides lauding the atmosphere inside the stadium.
However, Essendon great Matthew Lloyd was concerned that a WA hub could further compromise the integrity of the season.
“I know the season has already been compromised a lot with games and all that, but when you’ve got three Victorian teams that should finish as the top three in Geelong, Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs, I think it would hurt if crowds could be in Melbourne and we’ve got all our finals in Perth,” he told Footy Classified.
“I just want to see the advantage come for teams who finish first, second, third and fourth.”
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