Etihad Stadium fit to host soccer, AFL - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Etihad Stadium fit to host soccer, AFL

By Roger Vaughan 08/03/2010 12:20:26 AM Comments (0)

Etihad Stadium is still determining the full extent of Saturday's storm damage, but it will host the AFL NAB Cup final and Tuesday's soccer match.

Melbourne Victory will play at the stadium on Tuesday in an Asian Champions League match before St Kilda and the Western Bulldogs clash in this Saturday night's Cup final.

Water and structural damage to entertainment areas at the southern and western sections of the stadium meant the St Kilda-Fremantle semi-final on Saturday night was delayed for 20 minutes.

But the affected areas are not part of the main stadium structure.

The playing surface was not damaged by the wild storm that hit Melbourne on Saturday afternoon.

"The most significant damage is in the Livewire and Medallion Club areas, and gates two and three," said venue communications manager Bill Lane.

"We've had engineers and building inspectors in all day, appraising the damage and it's going to be ongoing in terms of establishing the extent of the trouble."

Lane said fans attending this week's matches should prepare for some changed conditions.

"As far as Tuesday night, we will isolate those areas that have been impacted and we'll be able to host the event around those areas," he said.

"It will mean some inconvenience and some re-education for patrons coming into the venue.

"The same (will apply) with the NAB Cup, we're equipped to host the event and the event will go ahead as scheduled ... we're going to have to manage patrons as they come into the venue."

He added the assessment of the damage was ongoing.

"At this stage, it's a little bit hard to appraise where we're going to be in a couple of weeks' time," Lane said.

"There's lots of mopping up."

The Saints smashed Fremantle by 70 points to reach the Cup final, while the Western Bulldogs beat Port Adelaide on Friday night.

St Kilda narrowly beat the Bulldogs in last year's preliminary final, before losing an epic grand final to Geelong.

The `Dogs were filthy with a crucial free kick paid to Saints captain Nick Riewoldt early in the second half of the match, which St Kilda won by seven point.

The Saints last won the NAB Cup in 2008, while the Bulldogs have never won the pre-season competition.

The Bulldogs have only won one AFL premiership, in 1954, and their last silverware was for taking out the 1970 night series.

Meanwhile, Geelong and Brisbane are likely to apply to the AFL for extra practice match time after the cancellation of Saturday's fixture.

The two sides were supposed to play on Saturday afternoon at Visy Park, but the storm meant the game was cancelled.

The game was already rescheduled from the Gold Coast because of the poor weather there.

Under AFL rules, if they feel players are underdone, the clubs can apply for some form of practice match conditions in the week off between the NAB Cup final and the start of the premiership season on March 25.

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