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Sydney Swans consider playing AFL games in Canberra

Manuka Oval.

Manuka Oval. Photo: Graham Tidy

Sydney are considering playing premiership games in Canberra from 2017 as part of a move to increase the club's flexibility with scheduling.

The Swans say they will continue to play the bulk of their home games at the SCG, but Canberra and Spotless Stadium are emerging as contenders to play host for an "occasional game", along with ANZ Stadium.

Sydney have not played a premiership match in the nation's capital since 2011 but did play regular games there from 2003 against North Melbourne, Western Bulldogs and Melbourne – all smaller Melbourne-based clubs keen to sell home games outside of Victoria.

"Playing an occasional game in Canberra is an option we would look at": Swans chairman Andrew Pridham.

"Playing an occasional game in Canberra is an option we would look at": Swans chairman Andrew Pridham. Photo: Getty Images

Swans chairman Andrew Pridham said the Canberra idea was only "exploratory" but said the ACT government was interested.

"Playing an occasional game in Canberra is an option we would look at," Pridham said.

"It could be none, it could be one a year, one every two years, it could be a Melbourne team buys a regular slot in Canberra playing us.

"There's all sorts of options we would look at. We have a lot of support and members in Canberra, so it's something we'd think about, but we're not about to play a whole heap of games there."

The move would help safeguard the club from situations like this year when they were not able to get onto the SCG until round four due to the ground hosting Major League Baseball matches, or occasions when the season starts earlier and clashes with cricket.

The Swans are about to enter negotiations with the SCG Trust and ANZ Stadium for a new tenancy agreement after their deal expires at the end of the 2016 season. The current deal stipulates the Swans play three home and away games, plus home finals, at the Sydney Olympic Park venue.

Pridham said he was aware there were plenty of Swans members who preferred to watch games at the SCG but said the club also had members in the Hills District who preferred ANZ Stadium.

"The big thing is we need some flexibility because we need to be able to schedule games for clashes with other sports," Pridham said.

"Part of that flexibility is we will look at the three major stadiums in Sydney and Canberra, where we have played in the past and have support and members.

"That's something the ACT government has mentioned they would like – the occasional game."

The Canberra revelation follows comments Swans chief Andrew Ireland made on Melbourne radio, on Tuesday night, that the club would like to return finals to the SCG.

Sydney have not played a final at the venue since 2005, when Nick Davis kicked four goals to sink Geelong in a semi-final en route to the Swans' drought-breaking flag.

Swans forward Sam Reid was non-committal on whether he preferred to play a final at the SCG or ANZ Stadium but said the 41,317 fans who watched the club beat Port Adelaide on Saturday had created an "electric" atmosphere at the SCG.

"It's the first I've played in front of so many at the SCG," Reid said.

"It was a good experience for me. A high percentage of fans were Sydney supporters. It was one of the louder crowds I've played in front of and it's really exciting."

The Swans will travel to Melbourne on Thursday. They take on Richmond at the MCG on Friday night.

14 comments so far

  • Games in Canberra are fine, as long as they are away games. Even better still, those struggling clubs could make a motza by selling their home games to play at the SCG. If we can get 41000 to come and see Port Adelaide, then we should sell out every game.

    Sydney Olympic Stadium is fine for a couple of games a year, we just don't need to play and get beaten by Collingwood there anymore. We don't want to risk a situation where for lack of use, it is made unsuitable for AFL. We may need that 82000 capacity one day. Real Swans fans will travel to see them even if they play on the moon, even if it means missing their favorite soy latte in Paddo.

    Commenter
    Hannebery's Tongue
    Location
    Burwood
    Date and time
    June 18, 2014, 10:44PM
    • The fans will only come if they keep winning. Although that's pretty much guaranteed given the buckets of money Sydney are allowed to spend to buy players (aka premierships). All that nonsense about the cost of living in Sydney is rubbish. Tried living in Perth? The WA teams don't get the same advantage. Thank goodness they are (eventually) getting rid of it.

      Commenter
      Catherine
      Date and time
      June 19, 2014, 11:42AM
    • As if $ydney don't get enough advantages with the extra AFL benefits, now you want clubs to sell their games so you get more games in $ydney !! ..... Typical.

      If the draw isn't slanted enough in your favour.
      Hawthorn play 7 clubs inside the top 8 for the rest of the year.
      $ydney play just 2 clubs.

      If the AFL go down this path again of poor clubs selling games to other states, it makes an even further mockery of an already totally unbalanced and uneven fixture. But hey, that wont concern the average $wans supporter obviously .

      Commenter
      Funda$wan
      Date and time
      June 19, 2014, 1:50PM
    • @Catherine WA teams have bucket loads of local talent running around for them as well. They don't face the relocation issues that many of Sydney's players do.

      @Funda$wan. Oh, I $ee what you are doing. Very clever. $wan$ will swap COLA with Hawthorn for getting to play the Grand Final on their home ground and if you pay my mortgage and I pay yours. Poor clubs should merge or relocate if they want to strengthen their position instead of asking for handout or selling games.

      Commenter
      Hannebery's Tongue
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      June 19, 2014, 2:18PM
    • Catherine and Funda$wan, we are living in a time when we are privileged to witness great teams like Sydney, Geelong, Collingwood of a few years ago, Hawthorn, even a recent St Kilda outfit.

      If your misanthropic mindset prevents you from the great privilege of enjoying the achievements of a superb club like Sydney, and instead causes you to see a conspiracy round every corner, that is entirely your loss.

      Commenter
      Rory
      Date and time
      June 19, 2014, 8:18PM
  • Nobody I know likes ANZ stadium. I live closer to Homebush than the SCG but would gladly travel the extra distance to watch my team play at their home. 40k crowd and a full SCG V's a 40k crowd and vast expanses of emptiness at ANZ is an easy choice.

    Commenter
    Don
    Location
    Holsworthy
    Date and time
    June 19, 2014, 12:33AM
    • Please, give up the ANZ stadium - SCG is the home ground for Swans and simply a great place to watch footy.
      ANZ was not made for footy - and is not as pleasant for the spectators. The crowds that gather there would be easily accommodated at the SCG - and playing at ANZ is not a 'home' game for the Swans.
      I was at the SCG last Saturday for the game against Port - I doubt that kind of atmosphere would be possible at the ANZ stadium.

      Commenter
      Howe Synnott
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      June 19, 2014, 7:20AM
      • Have to agree that ANZ stadium is not a good option for the Swans and the suggestion that ANZ might build a roof is pie in the sky and a transparent attempt to attract the Swans for another long term deal. The roof will never happen.
        What the Swans need is a bit more respect and a much better deal from the SCG Trust - and in this regard considering options from ANZ and possibly even Canberra is one way to get the SCG Trust to play ball with a better financial agreement. As far as I'm concerned all the Swans home games and finals should be played at the SCG - if we play well enough during the season to get home finals they should be played where we actually get an advantage - and thats the SCG.

        Commenter
        Shane
        Location
        Sydney
        Date and time
        June 19, 2014, 9:56AM
        • The Swans shouldn't sign up to any long term non SCG stadium deals regardless of where they are thinking of for the occasional game (be it ANZ, Spotless or Canberra). The teams' fortunes are fluid and the non-regular attenders (ie the people that make up the crowd numbers beyond the 30,000 member/stalwarts) are a fickle bunch. So hopefully they don't get too carried away because of a couple big recent crowds at the SCG, as they did in 2003 because of two big crowds against Collingwood and Brisbane at ANZ, signing a very long-term and ultimately unpopular deal with ANZ on the back of two games.
          40,000 people in ANZ and the place still looks & feels empty whereas the same crowd at the SCG provides a fantastic atmosphere. Plus the team has a much better win rate at the
          SCG, the Swans traditional home. It's odd how that seems to count for so little when these
          outside stadium deals are being discussed. Like with all other teams, the best way to increase crowds is to win games.

          Commenter
          Simon L
          Location
          Sydney
          Date and time
          June 19, 2014, 11:02AM
          • I would think that pretty much EVERY Swans fan that doesn't live in the Hills district would prefer the SCG. As Don, says, the SCG is a great place to watch footy; the atmosphere with a decent crowd is always electric; and unlike ANZ there are never any random steel tent posts on the field during a game, and the players can actually play normally without slipping over all the time. If we had to have some games not at the SCG, Spotless Stadium is a far better option. Leave ANZ for rugby league; it's an awful, soulless place unless it's got more than 40,000 in it.

            Commenter
            SJ
            Location
            Sydney
            Date and time
            June 19, 2014, 12:40PM

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            GCF vs ESS 16:35MS
            NTH vs ADE 19:25ES
            SYD vs COL 19:25ANZ
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            WBU vs FRE 13:10ES
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            BRI vs NTH 16:35G
            STK vs WBU 19:25ES
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            SYD vs GWS 16:35SCG
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            WBU vs BRI 19:25ES
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            FRE vs CAR 16:10Domain Stadium
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            NTH vs PTA 16:35ES
            WBU vs GCF 19:25CAZ
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            STK vs MEL 15:20ES
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            COL vs NTH 19:50ES
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            WCE vs MEL 16:35Domain Stadium
            WBU vs STK 19:25ES
            GEE vs ADE 19:25SS
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            PTA vs GWS 16:40Adelaide Oval
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            COL vs WCE 16:35MCG
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            ADE vs ESS 16:40Adelaide Oval
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            WBU vs NTH 19:25ES
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            GEE vs ESS 15:20ES
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            Fri, 12 AugTimes shown AEST
            WBU vs COL 19:50ES
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            STK vs SYD 19:25ES
            PTA vs MEL 19:40Adelaide Oval
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            RIC vs GEE 15:20MCG
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            Fri, 19 AugTimes shown AEST
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            GWS vs FRE 16:35Spotless Stadium
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            PTA vs ADE 19:40Adelaide Oval
            Sun, 21 AugTimes shown AEST
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            BRI vs GEE 15:20G
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            Round 23
            Sat, 27 AugTimes shown AEST
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            STK vs BRI 12:00ES
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            GCF vs PTA 12:00MS
            SYD vs RIC 12:00SCG
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