Geelong unhappy with lack of home games - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Geelong unhappy with lack of home games

By John Salvado 26/10/2007 06:12:11 PM Comments (0)

Reigning AFL premiers Geelong are unhappy at being denied the chance to strut their stuff in home games on the biggest stage in 2008.

The Cats asked for nine home games at Skilled Stadium next year, plus two at the MCG against off-field powerhouses Essendon and Collingwood.

What they got was eight at Skilled, with the other three home clashes at Telstra Dome.

Geelong's two trips to Perth are also played on a short six-day turnaround.

"From a commercial point of view the club has some concerns," Geelong chief executive Brian Cook said after the 2008 fixture was released.

"As the premiership club we are disappointed that we do not have the opportunity to play a home game in front of a 50,000-plus crowd.

"This is because all of our three home games in Melbourne are at Telstra Dome.

"Our two matches against Collingwood in 2007 were amongst the most exciting and best attended matches of the season.

"We are perplexed as to why we face Essendon and Collingwood only once in 2008."

AFL chief broadcasting and commercial officer Gillon McLachlan said Geelong, Hawthorn and Collingwood were rewarded for their stellar 2007 seasons with more prestigious Friday night fixtures in 2008.

The Cats open the round on six occasions next year, although each time it is as the away team.

Melbourne's finance department also has some qualms about a draw that sees the Demons play 70 per cent of their games on Sundays, when it is traditionally most difficult to draw large crowds.

The Demons were at least happy to get 10 of their 11 home matches at the MCG - plus one at Manuka Oval in Canberra - especially as their fans have long shown an aversion to Telstra Dome.

The Demons' supporters will be tested in round 14, when the MCG's two longest serving tenants meet at the indoor venue in a Richmond home game which McLachlan conceded is an anomaly of the draw.

"Every team will have some requests that haven't been accommodated," he said.

"They will also have a number that have been.

"Do we think there is anything that was an absolute imperative that hasn't been accommodated? I don't think so.

"Were there things they would like that haven't been accommodated? There are a number.

"I think you could ask every club and they would have something that hasn't been dealt with.

"But there's a hell of a lot that has been."

McLachlan said the AFL had focused on achieving on-field equity in the 2008 schedule.

As such, only two matches - rather than three - were scheduled for the Sunday of round 22, with both involving two Melbourne clubs.

"(It will) mitigate the effect of travel for those teams having to go interstate leading into the finals and give us the maximum flexibility for our finals scheduling," said McLachlan.

There will be two byes next year, with the first falling between rounds seven and eight when the AFL will play a match at the MCG - likely to be between a Victorian side and an All-Stars outfit - celebrating the 150th anniversary of Australia's indigenous football code.

There had been a push to reintroduce State of Origin football next year, although it proved too difficult.

"I don't think you could ever say it's dead, but in the foreseeable future it's unlikely we'll be playing State of Origin," said McLachlan.

In other news from the draw:

* Teams no longer have to play every other opponent in the opening 15 rounds.

* The season kicks off with a double header on Easter Thursday when Chris Judd is set to make his Carlton debut against traditional rivals Richmond in a twilight game at the MCG. That will be followed by the grand final rematch between Port Adelaide and Geelong at AAMI Stadium.

* Sydney will again be the away team in both of the matches scheduled for Canberra's Manuka Oval against Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs.

* The Kangaroos will play four home matches on the Gold Coast - one more than in 2007.

* Hawthorn will again play four home games at Aurora Stadium in Launceston, although only one of them will be against a fellow Victorian team, the Western Bulldogs in round 10.

* With Anzac Day falling on a Friday, there will be two matches scheduled. The traditional encounter between Collingwood and Essendon at the MCG will be followed by the Fremantle-Geelong game at Subiaco.

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