Etihad Stadium to host final - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Etihad Stadium to host final

07/03/2011 03:09:29 PM Comments (0)

The AFL pre-season grand final between Collingwood and Essendon will go ahead at Etihad Stadium on Friday night as planned.

The league had looked at switching the game to the MCG because the two popular clubs would easily fill the 52,000-capacity Etihad Stadium.

"The AFL today examined the options for playing the game at the MCG, but it was determined the match could not be moved in the timeframe available," the league said in a statement.

"To ensure all patrons have access to seating on the night, the game has been upgraded to a designated seat match."

Tickets for the NAB Cup final went on sale at 10.30am (AEDT) on Monday.

The MCG is available this Friday because Victoria cannot make the Sheffield Shield final, meaning the drop-in pitches can be removed.

The Magpies are the defending premiers, but their only pre-season title came in 1979.

Essendon have won the pre-season trophy six times, most recently in 2000.

The Bombers finished 14th last year and have impressed during the pre-season under new coach James Hird, but will start outsiders against the in-form Magpies.

Collingwood will be without captain Nick Maxwell, who remains hospitalised in Perth.

Maxwell will miss the start of their premiership defence after he suffered internal bleeding from a heavy clash during Saturday night's semi-final win over West Coast in Perth.

The defender said via Twitter that he will be in hospital for possibly a week.

Magpies rookie Tom Hunter also remains in hospital after suffering a neck injury against the Eagles.

But Collingwood will be close to full strength for the final, with stars such as Alan Didak, Heath Shaw and Luke Ball set to return.

Essendon could also regain ruckman David Hille.

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