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Crows guaranteed day preliminary final

By Roger Vaughan 09/09/2009 04:08:09 PM Comments (0)

The 2009 AFL finals schedule continues to shape up well for Adelaide.

The AFL confirmed on Wednesday that the Crows will play their preliminary final during the day should they win Saturday night's semi-final against Collingwood.

They have an eight-day break for this weekend's game, while the Magpies are coming off a six-day turnaround.

The league's decision on the scheduling for the prospective September 19 preliminary final is a far cry from the controversy surrounding the 2004 finals series.

Should the Crows advance to the second-last round of the finals, it will be the first time in five years that a non-Victorian team plays a preliminary final on Saturday at the MCG.

Back in 2004, the conditions of the AFL's agreement with the Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC) meant higher-ranked Brisbane had to "host" a home preliminary final at the MCG.

Adding to the Lions' problems, the game was played at night.

Brisbane narrowly beat Geelong, but a week later their run of three straight premierships ended when Port Adelaide won their first AFL grand final.

The following year, the AFL struck a new agreement with the MCC that dramatically changed the scheduling of finals at the grand final venue.

If Adelaide advance to the last four this year and beat the Cats, the daytime scheduling means they will be able to fly home on the evening of the game.

It will assist with player recovery and the start of the hectic grand final week.

"It does help, although had it been the night game we wouldn't have let it concern us too much," said Crows football manager John Reid.

"In real terms, we think that's a really good decision.

"But had they gone the other way, we wouldn't have complained - there are other considerations and we would have adjusted to fit what was required.

"At the end of the day, it's their call."

The AFL spoke to the six clubs still in contention for the flag before deciding on the preliminary final scheduling variables.

Should Collingwood win their semi-final, they will play a Saturday night preliminary final against the Cats.

Friday's semi-final features the Western Bulldogs against Brisbane, with the winner to play minor premiers St Kilda in a night-time preliminary final on Friday, September 18.

All remaining finals games will be at the MCG.

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