Anzac Day blockbuster to return to MCG - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Anzac Day blockbuster to return to MCG

By Sam Lienert 04/10/2005 07:13:01 PM Comments (0)

Essendon and Collingwood's Anzac Day blockbuster will be the first AFL match at the MCG next season, thanks to a quicker-than-expected schedule to ready the ground after the Commonwealth Games.

AFL broadcasting, strategy and major projects manager Ben Buckley said the league was hopeful a crowd approaching 100,000, the predicted capacity, would attend the first match in the redeveloped stadium.

With the Commonwealth Games closing ceremony to be held at the MCG on March 26 and the AFL regular season to begin on March 30, Buckley said the initial forecast was that the ground would not be available until at least round six, but that been revised.

"We're very happy and delighted in working with the Victorian government that we should be able to get the venue ready after a four-week period after the Commonwealth Games," Buckley said.

"That's going to be a fantastic game to showcase the redevelopment.

"Hopefully there's 95,000-100,000 people turn up to that particular game.

"I think it's particularly exciting and a fantastic result that we've been able to get the MCG back for Anzac Day."

Buckley said there were contingency plans in case the preparation of the MCG took longer than expected, with the potential to relocate matches built into the round five schedule.

But he doubted they would be needed.

West Coast will host St Kilda in the season-opener at Subiaco on a Thursday night, the first time a season has started in Perth.

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