Colless casts doubt over success in west - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Colless casts doubt over success in west

By Adam Cooper 07/06/2009 04:11:15 PM Comments (0)

Swans chairman Richard Colless has reiterated his doubts over whether the AFL's push into western Sydney can be a success, as he believes interest in the game has hit a flat spot in the harbour city.

Colless said the AFL would face a far bigger battle establishing an 18th side into Sydney's outskirts from 2012 than it had with the Brisbane Bears in the early, troubled years in the late 1980s and early '90s.

The AFL is committed to having the Gold Coast enter the competition as the 17th team in 2011, with western Sydney coming in for the following year.

Colless said despite the Swans reaching the finals every season since 2003, interest in the AFL in Sydney had "plateaued", which did not augur well for a second side to be established.

"The message that we would send to the AFL community as a whole is that this is going to be a battle the likes of which the game has never undertaken," he told radio station Triple M on Sunday.

"It's winnable, but it's going to take a massive amount of money and I think the club is going to have to be looked after in a way that perhaps the Brisbane Bears weren't.

"It has to have some degree of success reasonably early on (to prosper)."

The AFL and backers of the 18th franchise can also forget about getting a free ride on the coattails of the Swans.

"We want the game to flourish, that's in our best interest," Colless said.

"But once a second team comes in, I don't think we'll do quite what West Coast tried to do to Fremantle.

"But they will be the enemy as will be the other 16 teams."

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