Grand Final Parade.

Happy to be here: Dockers players are the centre of attention at Friday's grand final festivities in the city. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo

The AFL has refused to pay the additional cost of a chartered flight that brought the Fremantle players and support staff to Melbourne for the grand final.

With bad blood already flowing between the debutant grand finalist and the game's governing body over the qualifying final fixturing at Geelong, the Dockers have been forced to pay an estimated $50,000 to fly the team to Melbourne. No flights were available within the times deemed by coach Ross Lyon and his assistants as appropriate for the Dockers' pre-game preparation.

''We have worked very closely with both the AFL and Virgin to schedule a flight to Melbourne at 3pm on Thursday,'' Fremantle CEO Steve Rosich said. ''Unfortunately that wasn't possible. In the end we had to charter a flight to fly in order to make sure the team's preparation was not compromised. There was a cost involved. We spoke to the AFL with a view to them subsidising the extra cost of the charter flight but unfortunately that wasn't possible.''

The AFL's view was that Fremantle had chosen to finesse its preparation to a degree that did not justify the league funding the extra cost above its normal across-the-country flight subsidy.

The Dockers were determined to train at home on Thursday morning before flying to Melbourne and rejected the later flight offered by Virgin on the basis of its need for adequate preparation. Fremantle has also had one day less to prepare for the grand final than Hawthorn with the AFL's determination to not fixture afternoon preliminary finals.

The Dockers have played two games on the MCG in the 2013 home-and-away season and in week one of the finals series was sent to Simonds Stadium to play Geelong in a late decision by the AFL.

For the grand final, Fremantle was determined to depart between 3pm and 4pm Perth time on Thursday in order to train at home and reach Melbourne at what the club's fitness advisers considered to be a reasonable hour.

The AFL appeared to view that decision as micromanagement and would not cover the cost.

The AFL's partner airline Virgin did not schedule any flights out of Perth on Thursday any later than 1pm or before 5pm, a situation it could not improve by more than 30 minutes.

The Dockers plan to enlist the support of West Coast in future to push for flexible flight times in grand final week in the event of either side reaching the final game.

Fremantle fans have made something of a pilgrimage across Australia to reach the MCG, having taken up their full members' allocation of 14,000 seats, with some 5000 extra Fremantle members having secured tickets.

The lack of planes has forced some followers to pay more than $2000 for return flights, and others having to drive or bus across the country.