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Tigers get no joy from bid to shift game

Date

Caroline Wilson

Brendon Gale.

Brendon Gale. Photo: Sebastian Costanzo

RICHMOND'S bid for a venue shift later this month, which would upstage Geelong's premiership flag celebrations, has received a lukewarm response from both the Cats and the AFL.

The Tigers late yesterday officially requested their round-four Sunday afternoon Simonds Stadium clash against the reigning premier be moved to the vacant Etihad Stadium given 25,000 fans could potentially be locked out of the smaller regional ground.

But Geelong has scorned the attempted game switch, pointing to the long-planned unfurling of its 2011 premiership flag that day and its contractual obligation to play a minimum seven games at the Kardinia Park stadium, which is being rebuilt and can fit only about 26,500 fans. Etihad's capacity is close to double that.

Tigers chief executive Brendon Gale confirmed he had unofficially approached AFL fixture bosses Gillon McLachlan and Simon Lethlean last week arguing that the Tigers' fans deserved a bigger ground for such a big game. Richmond's membership is close to 47,000.

Gale held talks with Geelong CEO Brian Cook yesterday only to be told the Cats had no intention of moving the game given their contract with local and state governments to stage seven games at Simonds and the plans that had already gone into the club's first local game for 2012 and the flag unfurling.

Gale told The Age yesterday he had pushed ahead with the bid to - at the least - sow a seed in the minds of those designing the fixture that the Tigers' strong supporter base should not be squeezed into the Geelong ground.

Of the Victorian clubs, only Richmond, Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs will make the trip to Geelong this season and the Tigers yesterday questioned why clubs such as Carlton and Essendon - which have fewer members - were not fixtured to play at Simonds.

''This is something we'll be pushing for,'' Gale said last night. ''You just wonder whether we should be fixtured down there in future and it's certainly worth making a case for this year.''

McLachlan said he had some sympathy for Richmond, but pointed to the reality that the Cats were bound to host at least seven games at home. ''You have Geelong hosting Collingwood, Hawthorn, St Kilda and Essendon away from Simonds and Richmond are saying, 'Why us?' I'd say at this stage though it's just too difficult.''

Gale said: ''I've got a responsibility on behalf of our members to push to get them into venues where as few as possible miss out. One of the guiding principles of the AFL fixture is to maximise attendances and we've got a situation here where 20,000 to 25,000 of our members are going to miss experiencing the game live.

''Etihad Stadium is vacant on the day in question and we're talking about a ground with double the current capacity of Simonds. For all those reasons we've requested the shift.''

The AFL has never shown an inclination to move games to accommodate bigger crowds claiming that stadium contractual obligations must override crowd concerns and occasional lockouts. The last time a match was switched was more than a decade ago when Etihad Stadium's surface was deemed unplayable and a game was moved to the MCG.

15 comments so far

  • Why was the request only made yesterday when the fixture has been out for months? We do have winning form down at Skilled though :)
    Richmond (clap clap clap) Richmond (clap clap clap) (repeat)

    Commenter
    Manure
    Location
    Richmond
    Date and time
    April 03, 2012, 8:33AM
    • What a joke. Why are we playing in these small boutique stadiums in the regular season? These type of grounds should be used in NAB cup fixtures and for games against Port and Freo, not for hosting Melbourne clubs with 50,000 members. Surely logic will prevail and the game can move 40 minutes down the road so that 45,000+ people can attend

      Commenter
      Tiger Mick
      Location
      Punt rd
      Date and time
      April 03, 2012, 9:02AM
      • How about the media pointing out that it will be easier for an "Away" supporter to get into Subiaco than Geelong while the construction is occurring?

        Just find out how many tickets at Kardinia Park are actually available for the visiting supporters this year.

        Commenter
        DC
        Location
        Melbourne
        Date and time
        April 03, 2012, 9:05AM
        • Hey Gale, it's Geelong's home match. It's Geelong's members that are Geelong's concern, not Richmond's.

          Commenter
          axe
          Date and time
          April 03, 2012, 9:13AM
          • And I'm sure it's Richmond's members,Gale is concerned about.I'm sure Cooky and your good self would be happy if we scheduled a Tigers home game against the cats at Punt Rd. oval and made 5% of all tickets available to Geelong members? Don't abuse your privilege.

            Commenter
            ditto
            Date and time
            April 03, 2012, 10:56AM
          • ditto,
            1. I don't support Geelong.
            2. The key point which you seem unable to comprehend is that it is Geelong's home match. They get 11 to enter into contractual agreements and generate some coin and revenue from match-day, and also, accommodate their members & sponsors.
            3. I don't concern myself with the unrealistic hypothetical. I deal with the realities of life, business, and football. If Richmond would want to get back at GFC, waste one of their 11 home matches on scheduling a home match at Punt Rd (not that the AFL would ever allow it), lock out 40k of Richmond's own membership at their own home match, and suffer huge consequences to their income and backlash amongst their own fan base, then by all means petition the Richmond front office to move a game to the venue. Gale might then be able to have an actual influence on a membership and club issue of which he has control. Tin-rattling and incurring ridicule isn't unfamiliar to the Tigers anyway.

            Commenter
            axe
            Date and time
            April 03, 2012, 2:59PM
        • He Gale, it's Geelong's home match. Their concern are Geelong Football Club's members, sponsors, and its own contractual obligations. Not Richmond's. Have your club's members paid for this match? Some club officials and supporters must think that this is a perfect world and that everything is equal. I would've thought that those associated with Richmond would've had been well aware that this is far from the case considering their near 3 decades of on-field ineptitude, as well as the need to rattle the tins and reduce debt in this time. Get a dose of reality into yourselves. The executive of the Geelong Football Club's responsibility is to the Geelong Football Club.

          Commenter
          axe
          Date and time
          April 03, 2012, 9:39AM
          • Axe- not disputing for a second that Geelong needs to look after Geelong. What Gale, and a number of Richmond fans, are arguing, is that the AFL should not be scheduling games at Geelong where so many fans of both clubs - many paid up members - can't actually attend the game.

            The fact that Geelong's home ground is a construction site right now with reduced capacity just makes the situation worse.

            Gale's beef is not with Geelong, but with the AFL for the scheduling and fixture and the lack of thought that has gone into it.

            As for your comments about 30 years of Tiger ineptitude, I don't actually see what they've got to do with the issue at hand. Though I would say that for a club with such a poor recent on-field record, having almost 50,000 fans would indicate a level of loyalty and patience that Tiger fans are not given credit for.

            Commenter
            chris
            Location
            melbourne
            Date and time
            April 03, 2012, 2:38PM
        • Brendon Gale is spot on - we have more members than Carlton and Essendon, yet they don't make the trek down to Geelong. I wonder why?

          Whatever team you support, it is reasonable to expect that those clubs with smaller membership bases play against Geelong down at Geelong. Fewer fans get locked out from seeing the game.

          After all, that's why all the interstate teams play down there, and why teams like North Melbourne, Melbourne and the Bulldogs have played games down there in recent years.

          But as per usual, Richmond get shafted with the draw. No wonder its called a fixture rather than a draw - the fix is definitely in for mine.

          Commenter
          chris
          Location
          melbourne
          Date and time
          April 03, 2012, 10:06AM
          • I'd be peeved if I barracked for Richmond. They should move it but then again the AFL should be bit smarter with their scheduling. Then again the AFL doesn't really care about attendances so much anymore with all the money coming from tv rights. It's a joke that 2 teams with almost 50,000 members each would play at a ground with a capacity barely over 25,000. I think there should be a rule that games not be played at stadiums unable to cater for the membership of both clubs. The afl only care about the golden dollar and not impinging on any of their plethora of contracts.

            Commenter
            Jack
            Location
            Flinder St
            Date and time
            April 03, 2012, 10:08AM

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