Western Sydney to host AFL NAB Cup game - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Western Sydney to host AFL NAB Cup game

By Sam Lienert 27/10/2009 08:40:16 PM Comments (0)

The Sydney Swans will help pave the way for their new AFL rivals in the city's western suburbs with a pre-season game there next year.

The Swans will host Carlton at Blacktown Olympic Park in the NAB Cup opening round on February 20, the league announced on Tuesday.

It will be the first senior AFL match at the venue, the headquarters for the new western Sydney club due to join the league in 2012.

The Swans have previously expressed reservations about the idea of being used as a publicity driver for the AFL newcomers.

Coach Paul Roos in May expressed dismay that "suddenly the Swans are supposed to be the PR machine flying the flag for future cross-town rivals".

They were also understood to have mixed feelings about the AFL using a Swans home game against Geelong at ANZ Stadium in August to launch the western Sydney club's logo.

But Sydney chief executive Andrew Ireland said they did not view the pre-season match as a promotional vehicle for the expansion club.

Ireland welcomed the rare chance to play a home game in Sydney during the cricket season - when the SCG is unavailable - and cater to their own supporters in the area.

"Part of our membership base is out around that region, we've got 8-9,000 people buying three-game passes to games we play at ANZ Stadium," Ireland said.

"It's just part of playing games in the greater Sydney region.

"We're a Sydney team and we don't see it as necessarily a part of the promotion of a new team, we don't see it in that way whatsoever."

But the AFL clearly has a different view, highlighting the connection to the western Sydney club.

"This will be the first time the home of Team GWS will host elite level football," AFL NSW general manager Dale Holmes said on the Swans' website.

"This is a terrific way to bring the elite AFL competition to the greater west of Sydney."

The Swans could also play a pre-season semi-final at the 10,000-capacity venue, although history suggests that is unlikely, given their lack of emphasis on the pre-season cup under Roos.

But Ireland said next year might be different, after the Swans this year missed the AFL finals for the first time in Roos' seven full seasons.

"Our pre-season has started earlier and we'll be in a slightly better position in terms of preparation than Carlton, given they played in the first week of the finals," he said.

" ... We're hopeful we can put in a strong team at that time."

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