AFL keen to stop fans running on field - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

AFL keen to stop fans running on field

By Adam Cooper 11/08/2008 07:01:23 PM Comments (0)

The AFL is poised to stamp out one of the game's traditions, with plans afoot to prevent crowd invasions if two superstar forwards post their goal-kicking centuries this season.

With Hawthorn's Lance Franklin (91 goals) and Carlton's Brendan Fevola (84) closing in on tons, talks have begun on what venues should do to prepare for fans keen to jump the fence and celebrate with players.

The AFL on Monday made it clear it wanted the celebration to stop, in the interest of player safety.

A spokesman said the league did not want fans to run on to the ground should Franklin and Fevola reach three figures, and warned that spectators could be fined or even ejected.

"We want to discourage this and warn that there is the potential to be fined or ejected from the ground, in the interest of player security and the security of other patrons," he said.

Fans who run on to the MCG can be fined $5,000.

On form, Franklin is a chance to post his century at the MCG on Sunday, against 12th-placed Richmond.

Franklin kicked 1.7 the last time the two sides met, but is averaging nine shots at goal a game, and has twice previously kicked hauls of nine at the MCG.

AFL and Melbourne Cricket Club officials met on Monday to discuss the issue, and are set to talk again later this week.

The Hawks have already had talks with the league on how they handle the milestone celebrations.

Hawthorn will consider getting security personnel to usher Franklin off the ground when he kicks his 100th goal, to ensure he is not mobbed and put at risk by fans.

Essendon star Matthew Lloyd was whisked from the MCG in 2000 and 2001 after kicking his 100th goal of each season - both in finals - and St Kilda followed suit in 2004 at AAMI Stadium when Fraser Gehrig bagged his ton.

Former Essendon football manager Matthew Drain on Monday recalled in the lead-up to those games the Bombers asked their players to be ready to gather around Lloyd to ensure safety.

Drain said although there were no problems on either occasion, clubs now would be wary about excited spectators getting too close to players.

"Back then you wouldn't have thought too much about safety, but things have changed since then and you have to think about it differently," he said.

"It only takes one fool to do the wrong thing."

If Franklin does not post his century this weekend, he could do so against West Coast at Subiaco Oval in round 21.

Subiaco Oval general manager Shane Walsh said the ground's management would await directions from the AFL, but expected the league to want to prevent fans running on to the ground.

Carlton play North Melbourne at Telstra Dome on Sunday, but Fevola would be a better chance of registering his century against the Brisbane Lions at the Gabba (round 21) or against the Hawks at the Dome (round 22).

Spokesmen for the Gabba and Telstra Dome said the management of both venues would discuss security arrangements with the AFL in the lead-up to those games, should they need to.

The AFL spokesman said the league would not divulge what sort of security arrangements it would put in place.

Gehrig was the last player to kick a century in a season, but Tony Lockett was the last player to do so in the home and away season, for Sydney in 1998.

Hawthorn's Chance Bateman tipped Franklin would need all three games to reach the milestone.

"It would be a pretty bold man to predict him kicking nine goals this weekend," Bateman said.

"I would like to see him get to the 100 and I think it will definitely take the next three games for him to get there."

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