Are all teams flat-track bullies now?

Alex Roar Rookie

By Alex, Alex is a Roar Rookie New author!

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    Home grounds have always provided an advantage in the AFL. Unique dimensions, crowd imbalance and the travel (or lack of) required to get to a ground create a significant advantage for home teams and an extra challenge for away teams.

    The home-ground advantage is now more evident than ever. In such an even competition it is an advantage that swings games and often impacts results.

    This was amplified in the 2017 finals series. After 23 rounds and four weeks of finals, can anyone definitively prove or even confidently say that one team was clearly better than all others? None of the top four teams on the ladder after Round 23 – Adelaide, Geelong, Richmond and GWS, the eventual preliminary finalists – had defeated a fellow top four team on the road at any point in the regular season, and this would continue in finals.

    The team that got closest for the entire year was Geelong, taking two premiership points in a draw against the Giants in Sydney in Round 15. Apart from that encounter, every game, including finals, between any two of the preliminary finalists resulted in a win for the home team, assuming we are being realistic and counting the second qualifying final and the grand final as Richmond home games.

    Additionally, of the nine finals played, eight were won by the team with the home ground advantage. What is most remarkable about this is that of these eight games, the narrowest margin was 36 points. Six finals – two-thirds of the series – were all decided by eight goals or more in favour of the home team. The only team to win a final away from its home ground in 2017 was West Coast, and it took the Eagles until after the siren in extra time to do so.

    Although we should expect the home team to win the majority of games, particularly during the finals as the home team usually finished higher on the ladder, the extent to which home teams dominated in the last and most important four weeks of the year was extreme.

    In every final, with the exception of West Coast’s thrilling win over Port Adelaide, the home team appeared particularly on the ball while the away team mostly looked flat and uninspiring.

    (Image: AAP Image/Julian Smith)

    In the first week of finals Richmond turned around a disappointing loss to a depleted Cats side in Geelong just four weeks earlier to defeat them comfortably at the MCG. In the third week the Cats recorded their second loss to the Crows at Adelaide Oval for the year despite dismantling them at Kardinia Park in Round 11.

    Similarly the Giants registered their second loss to the Tigers at the MCG for the year, although they had beaten them on their home turf in Sydney. The most emphatic swing, though, was seen in the Tigers’ 48-point win over Adelaide in the grand final at the MCG, contrasting with the Crows’ whopping 76-point victory over Richmond at the Adelaide Oval in Round 6.

    Geelong defied expectations twice, going in as favourites for what turned out to be a 51-point loss in what was effectively a Richmond home game before turning that around the next week against the Swans, who travelled interstate for a 59-point drubbing at the hands of the underdog Cats.

    So often the venue made all the difference.

    It is fair to suggest that any of the top four teams – Adelaide, Geelong, Richmond and GWS – would have held the premiership cup aloft if they had played all three finals at home. This could even be extended to the Swans, who won 14 of their last 16 games of the home-and-away season to finish sixth on the ladder. That the venue will likely determine the result of a final and ultimately the premiership is a testament to how even the top end of the competition really is.

    A quick glance at the last handful of seasons will tell you that the five most recent grand finals were won by Melbourne-based clubs against interstate teams. On four of these five occasions the interstate team had finished higher on the ladder than the Melbourne-based club. With the exception of the Bulldogs in 2016, all of the winning Victorian teams in this time were MCG tenants and had significantly more experience there than their interstate opposition.

    With home grounds evidently more influential than ever, it is time, if it wasn’t already, to seriously consider allowing the grand final to move away from the MCG if the higher-ranked team plays its home games elsewhere, and it’s certainly time to grant proper home finals to Geelong so that all clubs can compete in finals on a level playing field.

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    The Crowd Says (255)

    • October 23rd 2017 @ 4:37am
      Kurt said | October 23rd 2017 @ 4:37am | ! Report

      Total no. of Grand Finals played between Victorian-based teams and non-Victorian based teams since inception of AFL: 16
      Total won by Victorian teams: 8
      Total won by non-Victorian teams: 8

      That is all.

      • Roar Pro

        October 23rd 2017 @ 4:53am
        anon said | October 23rd 2017 @ 4:53am | ! Report

        1992 and 1994 were won by a West Coast team that consisted of a virtual WA State of Origin team.

        Brisbane was one of the best teams of all time.

        2001 preliminary beat top 4 Tigers at the Gabba by 11 goals.

        2002 QF at Gabba beat top 4 Crows by 71 points.

        2002 PF at Gabba beat minor premiers by 9 goals.

        Even 2004 at the Gabba in the QF they beat the top 4 Saints by 80 points.

        Then of course had to play their home prelim in Melbourne against Geelong and only won by 9 points (because it’s hard for an interstate team to win in Melbourne).

        They were an incredible team. So incredible that they could win three Grand Finals in a row as the away team.

        Since the Lions won only one interstate team has beaten a Victorian team on Grand Final day. And you could argue that Hawthorn were the better team that day just didn’t kick well enough.

        That’s one win in 14 years in an era of equalisation. The Eagles and Crows of the 90’s had access to the pool of players from their respective states, the Lions benefited from receiving additional players in the merger (not to diminish their achievements). The best is still the best.

        In the equalisation era it’s just too hard for an interstate team to beat a Victorian team in Melbourne on Grand Final day. Everything is equalised, everything controlled by the AFL to make the competition as close as possible, but then hand out the mother of all advantages to Victorian teams on Grand Final day.

        It will take us another 150 years to get a really meaningful sample size, but I suspect in 150 year time we’ll find that the Victorian teams will have heavily benefited from hosting every single Grand Final and interstate teams heavily disadvantaged from NEVER being able to host a single Grand Final.

        • October 23rd 2017 @ 8:15am
          truetigerfan said | October 23rd 2017 @ 8:15am | ! Report

          “the Lions benefited from receiving additional players in the merger’ . . . Get your facts right, it was not a merge. It was a dismantling of Fitzroy Football Club! Nothing like a merge!

        • October 23rd 2017 @ 8:32am
          Reservoir Animal said | October 23rd 2017 @ 8:32am | ! Report

          “They were an incredible team. So incredible that they could win three Grand Finals in a row as the away team.”

          But would they have reached those Grand Finals were it not for the Gabbatoir, a massive fortnightly advantage that MCG teams can only dream of having?

          • Roar Guru

            October 23rd 2017 @ 11:13am
            TomC said | October 23rd 2017 @ 11:13am | ! Report

            RA, of course they would have done.

            The ‘Gabbatoir’ was coined because the Lions were hard to beat there because, well, they were just really hard to beat. There’s a reason that expression has fallen out of use over the past decade.

            In any case, it’s hardly an advantage when every other week the Lions had the situation reversed, something Melbourne based teams don’t have to deal with.

            Neither did MCG based teams of the time have to deal with finals being played in their opponents’ home state, which happened to multiple non-Victorian teams, including the Lions, over that period.

            And while I’m up here on my high horse, the result of the 1999 premiership would likely have been quite different were it not that the only game scheduled between North Melbourne and Brisbane happened to be at the MCG, which the Lions lost by two points, ultimately edging them into third place and a much tougher run through the finals.

            • October 23rd 2017 @ 12:31pm
              Reservoir Animal said | October 23rd 2017 @ 12:31pm | ! Report

              TomC- your argument about the 1999 fixture is pointless unless you go through the entire fixture for every club’s advantages and disadvantages. Maybe you should also point out that Brisbane only had to play Essendon once that year, while North copped them twice.

              My other point is that Victorian teams have no such thing as a Gabbatoir, through no fault of their own. Apart from Geelong and Melbourne, they all got kicked off their ground of choice because the AFL insisted that crowd size was more important than home ground advantage. It would be hypocritical for the AFL to insist this but then to say it’s OK to move Grand Finals to smaller venues in the interests of giving the right team a home ground advantage.

              • Roar Guru

                October 23rd 2017 @ 2:45pm
                TomC said | October 23rd 2017 @ 2:45pm | ! Report

                RA, the point was that clubs like the Brisbane Lions also have to deal with the fact that it’s hard to win games away from home, and this can have a significant impact. I’m not sure why it would be necessary to go through the entire fixture for each clubs advantages and disadvantages.

                And no one gets a Gabbatoir. It doesn’t exist. It’s a term coined by the media to acknowledge that it was very hard to win in Brisbane because the Lions were very good. It doesn’t mean the home ground advantage non-Victorian teams enjoy is disproportionately greater.

                Anyone who went to games at the Gabba during the premiership years knows that visiting Victorian teams were well represented in the stands, and that Lions fans weren’t and still aren’t particularly intimidating.

              • October 23rd 2017 @ 3:20pm
                andyl12 said | October 23rd 2017 @ 3:20pm | ! Report

                Hawthorn 2013-2015 were a greater team, since they had to play so many home games that weren’t really home games at all (their opponent knew the ground as well as they did), not to mention the other disadvantages that come with being in a heavily crowded market without any salary cap concessions.

                I doubt that Brisbane side would’ve done so well if they’d had to share the Gabba with 4-5 other teams.

              • October 23rd 2017 @ 7:02pm
                Gyfox said | October 23rd 2017 @ 7:02pm | ! Report

                RA – Victorian teams did not “get kicked off their ground” because of the AFL. Richmond moved to the G 50 years ago because they wanted bigger & better facilities. St K (Moorabbin) & North (Coburg) followed soon after because their grounds were controlled by unsympathetic managers. C/wood finally got sick of their Council opposing them & Essendon couldn’t wait to get to Docklands & leave the domineering Ess Sports Club. Even Carlton eventually relented.

              • Roar Pro

                October 23rd 2017 @ 7:05pm
                anon said | October 23rd 2017 @ 7:05pm | ! Report

                By sharing a ground you get to play “away” games on the same ground that you would otherwise not play.

                If you are the best team in the league, you would want to play 22 games on neutral ground since you are favoured to win EVERY game.

                By playing 12 games at home and 10 interstate, you’re favoured to win 12 home games, but only favoured to 5-6 interstate games.

              • October 24th 2017 @ 7:29am
                Reservoir Animal said | October 24th 2017 @ 7:29am | ! Report

                So Gyfox, we’re in agreement- even if the Melbourne clubs wanted their suburban grounds back, the fact is that it’s out of their control. Not so for Geelong. It’s fair compensation for this if Geelong don’t get to host finals.

              • Roar Guru

                October 24th 2017 @ 8:09am
                Cat said | October 24th 2017 @ 8:09am | ! Report

                If you are the best team in the league, you would want to play 22 games on neutral ground since you are favoured to win EVERY game.

                If it is a neutral ground, no one is favored. That is the very definition of neutral.

          • Roar Pro

            October 23rd 2017 @ 3:28pm
            anon said | October 23rd 2017 @ 3:28pm | ! Report

            Victorian teams have the same advantage over interstate teams when they are forced to travel to Victoria.

            It’s not just the travel for interstate teams but the cumulative toll of travelling interstate at least 10 times per year.

            There have been years where two like Collingwood have travelled four times per year and had 16 games plus finals at the MCG.

        • Roar Guru

          October 23rd 2017 @ 9:12am
          JamesH said | October 23rd 2017 @ 9:12am | ! Report

          You could easily make a similar argument about Geelong in ’07 and Hawthorn in ’13-’15 though. They were also two of the best sides of the modern era. Taking out the best of the interstate sides during that period is always going to skew the results.

          You’re also overlooking the fact that any of Port, Sydney or WC would probably have beaten the best Victorian side in the GF in ’04, ’05 or ’06 respectively. They just happened to be pitted against an interstate side at the time. I remember everyone lamenting the fact that the best sides during that period were all interstate teams.

          • Roar Pro

            October 23rd 2017 @ 3:30pm
            anon said | October 23rd 2017 @ 3:30pm | ! Report

            Geelong was an all-time great side. Hawthorn were just lucky imo.

            They had 13 of 15 finals at their home ground the MCG between 2012-16 with the majority of those games against non-Victorian teams.

            Hawthorn struggled in a couple of prelims against interstate teams (2012, 2014).

            Brisbane routinely beat top 4 visitors by 10 goals at the Gabba.

            • Roar Guru

              October 23rd 2017 @ 4:01pm
              Peppsy said | October 23rd 2017 @ 4:01pm | ! Report

              Hawthorn also won an interstate prelim against the minor premiers, beat the minor premiers by 72 at home, beat top 4 Sydney by 89 away, all 2015, and best top 4 Fremantle by 58 and minor premiers Sydney by 63 in 2014.

              Try to check facts next time before spouting nonsense.

              • Roar Pro

                October 23rd 2017 @ 4:36pm
                anon said | October 23rd 2017 @ 4:36pm | ! Report

                Hawthorn played a Fremantle team that barely fired a shot in the second half of 2015.

                Also, two weeks before that prelim, Hawthorn went to Perth to play West Coast and were uncompetitive.

                West Coast were the higher ranking team in the 2015 Grand Final.

              • October 23rd 2017 @ 5:42pm
                andyl12 said | October 23rd 2017 @ 5:42pm | ! Report

                And yet we beat them in the 2015 GF because they hadn’t learnt how to beat quality away from home. Hawthorn, on the other hand, won twice in Perth that tear despite a Freo crowd that assaulted our players (and fans) and a West Coast crowd that threatened to lynch the umpires if the free kick ratio wasn’t 25-10 their way.

              • October 24th 2017 @ 1:48am
                Don Freo said | October 24th 2017 @ 1:48am | ! Report

                Are you still locked back in another time? Get with 2017.

              • Roar Guru

                October 23rd 2017 @ 8:53pm
                Peppsy said | October 23rd 2017 @ 8:53pm | ! Report

                “Brisbane routinely beat top 4 visitors by 10 goals at the Gabba.”

                I’m saying Hawthorn did the exact same thing you claim made Brisbane great. The quality of the opposition is means next to nothing when the eras compared are so different.

                You’re basically saying Hawthorn weren’t great because you refuse to acknowledge their achievements.

      • October 23rd 2017 @ 8:49am
        Alex said | October 23rd 2017 @ 8:49am | ! Report

        Clearly it hasn’t always been such a difficulty, but the trend now is for interstate sides to struggle against often inferior Victorian teams on the MCG.

        The five most recent Grand Finals between Victorian and non-Victorian teams have all been won by the Victorians. Apart from the Bulldogs last year, they all had a lot more experience at the ground. Clearly it helps. Would Richmond be Premiers if the Grand Final had been in Adelaide? Would the Hawks have won in 2013 or 2015 if they’d played the Grand Final in Perth? I doubt it.

        • October 23rd 2017 @ 8:57am
          andyl12 said | October 23rd 2017 @ 8:57am | ! Report

          Hawks qualified on top in 2013. In 2015 we beat West Coast and Fremantle in Perth within two months of the Grand Final, facts conveniently overlooked by our haters.

          • October 23rd 2017 @ 9:23am
            Alex said | October 23rd 2017 @ 9:23am | ! Report

            Yep, sorry. Shouldn’t imply that the 2013 Grand Final should’ve been in Perth.

            West Coast beat the Hawks at Subiaco comfortably in a 2015 final though. That was the most recent result and, as a final, the most relevant one leading up to the Grand Final. Or, it should have been.

            • October 23rd 2017 @ 10:14am
              andyl12 said | October 23rd 2017 @ 10:14am | ! Report

              If you look at Hawthorn’s travel record in 2015 it is impossible to assert that the Eagles would’ve beaten us in Perth. Convincing wins in all five states that we travelled to, and QLD would’ve joined that list had we played there. Two wins out of three in Perth indicates the QF loss was probably an aberration.

              • October 23rd 2017 @ 2:06pm
                Brian said | October 23rd 2017 @ 2:06pm | ! Report

                Dockers were the minor premiers in 2015 and Hawks beat them at Subiaco in the Preliminary Final.

        • Roar Guru

          October 23rd 2017 @ 9:07am
          Cat said | October 23rd 2017 @ 9:07am | ! Report

          Trend or just natural swings and roundabouts?

          • October 23rd 2017 @ 3:20pm
            Gecko said | October 23rd 2017 @ 3:20pm | ! Report

            Alex I’d agree it looks like a trend, though for sure there’ll be exceptions in the future.

            The solution may not be to move the Grand Final (imagine 15,000 people at a GF in Brisbane) but to make sure each team gets a reasonable share of experience at the MCG during the year.

            • October 23rd 2017 @ 4:38pm
              Alex said | October 23rd 2017 @ 4:38pm | ! Report

              That sounds great but would be very difficult to fixture. There are only four MCG tenants. Even if every non-MCG team plays away against every MCG team (which obviously is impossible) every year, you’d still only get a minimum of four H&A games there each. Essendon, Carlton and Geelong might add a few on, but interstate sides would still lack the experience Richmond, Hawthorn, Collingwood and Melbourne have there. And of course, they will always have to travel.

              The AFL could just focus on teams they think will play finals and give them MCG experience (which they already do to an extent) but it’s difficult to predict who that will be. West Coast won the spoon in 2010 then got to a Preliminary Final in 2011…

            • Roar Guru

              October 23rd 2017 @ 5:39pm
              Cat said | October 23rd 2017 @ 5:39pm | ! Report

              Sure Gecko, interstate sides can move a home game or two to the MCG, I’m sure that will go over well with their supporters

          • Roar Pro

            October 23rd 2017 @ 3:37pm
            anon said | October 23rd 2017 @ 3:37pm | ! Report

            I think it’s been proven not only in Australian sports but sports all over the world that teams have significantly better results when playing at home versus playing away.

            So it’s probably not a stretch to suggest that Victorian teams are significantly advantaged by hosting Grand Finals against interstate teams.

        • October 23rd 2017 @ 9:34am
          truetigerfan said | October 23rd 2017 @ 9:34am | ! Report

          Genuinely good teams should beat ‘inferior’ teams regardless of venue. Your condescending use of the term ‘inferior’ extrapolates to your belief that good interstate teams are ‘superior’ . . . except when we have to play away from our dunghill!

          • Roar Guru

            October 23rd 2017 @ 1:38pm
            Cat said | October 23rd 2017 @ 1:38pm | ! Report

            Then why did the Tigers kick up a sook storm when they had to play At KP for the first time is years and lost to a very depleted Geelong side? Why were the Tigers so adamant that the QF be played at their home ground and not the home ground of the higher seeded team? Sounds like the Tigers know the HGA does make a difference.

            • October 23rd 2017 @ 2:08pm
              truetigerfan said | October 23rd 2017 @ 2:08pm | ! Report

              They didn’t! One was media driven and the other AFL driven! The club did not sook! It was also suggested we sooked about wearing our clash jumpers in the GF . . . rubbish! The RFC accepted each decision in good faith, were never vocal about any of theses issues! If anyone sooked it was Chris Scott who made an issue of where those two games were played. Sooked and then tried to distance himself, and the GFC, from those decisions! He, in fact, incited a lot of the ensuing crap about ‘Home Finals’ then threw his hands in the air. Chris Scott . . . one of the biggest sooks in the AFL!

              • October 24th 2017 @ 12:36pm
                Billy said | October 24th 2017 @ 12:36pm | ! Report

                Quite right Truetigerfan – I think Cat is having trouble with a fur ball!

              • October 24th 2017 @ 6:55pm
                Floyd Calhoun said | October 24th 2017 @ 6:55pm | ! Report

                I think ‘Cat’ is a fur ball!

              • October 24th 2017 @ 6:00pm
                Stephen said | October 24th 2017 @ 6:00pm | ! Report

                Absolutely accurate truetigerfan. Chris Scott is the games greatest whinger and manipulator. He doesn’t coach – he barracks. As for the unsuspecting AFL fan – we have to continue to be brainwashed by the Geelong media – Sam Newman, Rebecca Madden, Craig Hutchinson, Bill Brownless, Cameron Ling (worst offender), Cameron Mooney, Jimmy Bartel, Hamish McLachlin, Dr Peter Larkins, Gerard Whateley (grub), Dwayne Russell (communist), Anthony Hudson, Liam Pickering….And now Steven Hocking is in there to run AFL Operations. It’s about time someone called this lot out for the brainwashers they are.

            • October 24th 2017 @ 5:43pm
              Stephen said | October 24th 2017 @ 5:43pm | ! Report

              If the old Kardinia Park were not located in marginal seats for both State and Federal politicians – I strongly doubt it would have been granted tens of millions of tax payers dollars to develop the arena. But it is politically sensitive and the club has lobbied well. So we all have to pay – like it or not.

              As for playing home finals at Simmonds Stadium – in my view, it should not be up for debate. No 35,000 seat capacity venues should even enter the AFL Finals debate. No different to the old Princess Park.

              • Roar Guru

                October 24th 2017 @ 5:59pm
                Cat said | October 24th 2017 @ 5:59pm | ! Report

                How amazing an asset owned by the gov’t is paid for by the gov’t. Did you complain when the gov’t paid to upgrade the MCG? Will you complain when the gov’t helps fund the $300m redevelopment of AFL owned Etihad?

                Yet Spotless has hosted finals and Metricon will if GC ever play finals and host.

          • October 24th 2017 @ 8:41pm
            Fairsuckofthesav said | October 24th 2017 @ 8:41pm | ! Report

            Except Crows absolutely smashed your Tigers at AO. On your logic Tigers were not a ‘good team’ during that part of the season. And that is where your argument falls apart.

            • October 24th 2017 @ 9:45pm
              BigAl said | October 24th 2017 @ 9:45pm | ! Report

              The problem is BLOWOUTS !!!!! – and how to stop them ????

              It’s a problem that no one really wants to talk about – yet is ruining the game as a watchable contest ! Tigers BLOWN AWAY by Crows at AO – Crows BLOWN AWAY by Tigers at MCG… ???

              • Roar Guru

                October 24th 2017 @ 9:55pm
                Cat said | October 24th 2017 @ 9:55pm | ! Report

                What do you want 1-0 borefests?

              • October 24th 2017 @ 10:13pm
                BigAl said | October 24th 2017 @ 10:13pm | ! Report

                Nope ! don’t want that. Wouldn’t mind an adult response though…

              • October 24th 2017 @ 10:52pm
                Stephen said | October 24th 2017 @ 10:52pm | ! Report

                Point taken BigAl. The 2017 finals series had 1 close game out of 9. Which is not uncommon given percentage doesn’t exist. What staggers me – are the amount of momentum shifts within games – finals or home/away. It would be most interesting to know – of the 198 home and away games played this season – how many included a run of 5 goals or more by either team?

                I don’t understand why club psychologists don’t focus on how to stop an opposition run-on. And how to maintain your own teams run-on?

    • October 23rd 2017 @ 6:32am
      Reservoir Animal said | October 23rd 2017 @ 6:32am | ! Report

      If you’re going to move the Grand Final then you’d better build some 100K stadia in other states and build them fast- club members already find it hard to get tickets and they’d have zero chance if you cut stadium size by more than one third.

      Oh yeah and if you’re going to play finals at Geelong then you’d better let Hawthorn and North play some in Tassie. Assuming either side ever wins hosting rights again.

      • Roar Guru

        October 23rd 2017 @ 7:15am
        Cat said | October 23rd 2017 @ 7:15am | ! Report

        Just curious why North and Hawthorn would host in their alternate home, not their primary home?

        • October 23rd 2017 @ 7:52am
          Reservoir Animal said | October 23rd 2017 @ 7:52am | ! Report

          Because:

          *If the argument is that the higher team gets to choose the venue, then perhaps that’s what North or Hawthorn would choose; and
          *Because North and Hawthorn (and numerous other Victorian teams) might argue it’s only fair given that they’re not granted a suburban fortress as a primary home ground like Geelong are.

          There is also the question of where GWS would play their home finals, or whether Etihad tenants would be granted an MCG final if they faced an opponent who they knew couldn’t handle the ground (such as West Coast).

          • Roar Guru

            October 23rd 2017 @ 9:06am
            Cat said | October 23rd 2017 @ 9:06am | ! Report

            Who mentioned choosing? Home team should play at their home ground, period. Hawks home ground is the MCG, they sell games to Tassie. NM home ground is Etihad, they sell home games to Tassie.

            • October 23rd 2017 @ 10:10am
              Reservoir Animal said | October 23rd 2017 @ 10:10am | ! Report

              If we enforce your logic then you’ll find other Victorian clubs arguing very loudly for a return to the days of suburban grounds. Richmond and a desire to move back to Punt Rd (with the AFL to fund the upgrades to its capacity) would be the loudest call, followed by Carlton and Optus Oval. It wouldn’t be pretty.

              • Roar Guru

                October 23rd 2017 @ 1:33pm
                Cat said | October 23rd 2017 @ 1:33pm | ! Report

                Why should the AFL fund it exclusively? Geelong has had to spends millions to get theirs done. No other team in the AFL has ever spent $1 on their ground.

              • October 23rd 2017 @ 1:35pm
                Joe said | October 23rd 2017 @ 1:35pm | ! Report

                Upgrading stadiums isn’t a simple task. Other AFL clubs could “argue” all they want, it won’t just fall into their lap. The AFL can’t fund stadium upgrades by themselves.

                I would recommend you look up some of the details of how Geelong FC has been keeping Kardinia Park up to AFL standards for decades. Also, I’d recommend you compare the capacity of Kardinia to the two AFL Tasmanian stadiums. There’s a bit of a difference.

              • October 23rd 2017 @ 3:17pm
                Reservoir Animal said | October 23rd 2017 @ 3:17pm | ! Report

                “No other team in the AFL has ever spent $1 on their ground.”

                In the case of the Victorian teams it’s because they’ve been told not to bother. Carlton were willing to spend squillions to make Optus Oval into Melbourne’s second venue, but the AFL effectively overruled them.

                For spending money on their ground, Geelong get incentives from the AFL that other Victorian clubs can only dream of getting.

              • Roar Guru

                October 23rd 2017 @ 3:28pm
                Cat said | October 23rd 2017 @ 3:28pm | ! Report

                For spending money on their ground, Geelong get incentives from the AFL that other Victorian clubs can only dream of getting.

                Name one.

              • October 23rd 2017 @ 3:46pm
                Reservoir Animal said | October 23rd 2017 @ 3:46pm | ! Report

                Having a home ground they don’t have to share with anyone and where they get to play 7+ games each year. Name one Melbourne team who gets that.

              • Roar Guru

                October 23rd 2017 @ 4:04pm
                Cat said | October 23rd 2017 @ 4:04pm | ! Report

                Geelong is its own city. Why should Geelong play in Melbourne? Just because the Melbourne teams couldn’t afford their suburban grounds why should Geelong be lumped in with them? Stop treating Geelong like it is a Melbourne suburb, it isn’t.

              • October 23rd 2017 @ 5:03pm
                Reservoir Animal said | October 23rd 2017 @ 5:03pm | ! Report

                So if Melbourne ever grows far enough to encompass Geelong, you’ll be OK with your club giving up its home ground and moving to the MCG?

                Thought not.

              • Roar Guru

                October 23rd 2017 @ 5:42pm
                Cat said | October 23rd 2017 @ 5:42pm | ! Report

                Every time you lose an argument you come up with even more ridiculous straw men

              • October 23rd 2017 @ 9:00pm
                Reservoir Animal said | October 23rd 2017 @ 9:00pm | ! Report

                Not true.

                I’m aware that Geelong is not part of Melbourne. I’m also aware of the following:

                *That as a country town with a such a small population, Geelong should count itself lucky to have a team hosting games in the national competition. A trade-off for this luck is that some games must be played elsewhere.
                *That even if the Melbourne clubs could afford to upgrade their suburban grounds (and some of them can, or could have in the past, especially Carlton), the AFL wouldn’t have allowed it. The AFL forced all the Melbourne teams off their grounds so it’s only fair they give them something in return.

              • Roar Guru

                October 24th 2017 @ 8:17am
                Cat said | October 24th 2017 @ 8:17am | ! Report

                I’m aware that Geelong is not part of Melbourne. I’m also aware of the following:

                *That as a country town with a such a small population, Geelong should count itself lucky to have a team hosting games in the national competition. A trade-off for this luck is that some games must be played elsewhere.
                *That even if the Melbourne clubs could afford to upgrade their suburban grounds (and some of them can, or could have in the past, especially Carlton), the AFL wouldn’t have allowed it. The AFL forced all the Melbourne teams off their grounds so it’s only fair they give them something in return.

                *That is your opinion and simply not true. If Geelong was so tiny it wouldn’t be well ahead of several Melbourne clubs membership tallies.
                *They weren’t ‘kicked off’. As Gyfox pointed out above, they made choices.

              • October 24th 2017 @ 9:47am
                Reservoir Animal said | October 24th 2017 @ 9:47am | ! Report

                You know what the population of Geelong is. Let’s see if you have the guts to post it here.

              • Roar Guru

                October 24th 2017 @ 11:02am
                Cat said | October 24th 2017 @ 11:02am | ! Report

                I know full well what the population of Geelong is. The official population of City of Greater Geelong as of the 30th June 2016, is 238,603.

                I also happen to know it has supported the Geelong Football club for 158 years despite being ‘tiny’. Which is longer than all but one club.

                Geelong has done it without any extra financial assistance unlike most of the Melbourne clubs who have been on the AFL teet for decades despite being in big bad Melbourne

                Keep setting up those straw men, I’ll keep knocking them down.

              • October 24th 2017 @ 11:59pm
                Col in paradise said | October 24th 2017 @ 11:59pm | ! Report

                Canberra is bigger !!!

              • October 25th 2017 @ 12:05am
                Matto said | October 25th 2017 @ 12:05am | ! Report

                But full of numpties

              • October 24th 2017 @ 11:32am
                Reservoir Animal said | October 24th 2017 @ 11:32am | ! Report

                There is one Melbourne council with a population greater than that and which is probably a similar distance from town that Geelong is.

                So, if a Melbourne-based club wanted to build a KP-sized stadium in that council, move their home games there and start playing finals there, you’d be OK with it? Or is your ‘158-year factor’ enough reason for that club to be treated differently?

              • Roar Guru

                October 24th 2017 @ 12:03pm
                Cat said | October 24th 2017 @ 12:03pm | ! Report

                If that team can contribute the $20m or so it will take to lobby the governments for the money and have plans drawn up and then get it built I’d be happy for them to have their own ground.

                Nice job changing city to council too. Sliding metrics /eyeroll

                I doubt any team will find a council willing to spend the millions you are talking about, but good luck. Also less than half the Melbourne based clubs could afford it. WB, STK, MELB, NM and CARL wouldn’t be able to.

              • October 24th 2017 @ 12:33pm
                Reservoir Animal said | October 24th 2017 @ 12:33pm | ! Report

                Um, last time I checked, the City of Greater Geelong was a council.

              • Roar Guru

                October 24th 2017 @ 12:51pm
                Cat said | October 24th 2017 @ 12:51pm | ! Report

                For the CITY of Geelong.

      • October 23rd 2017 @ 9:00am
        Alex said | October 23rd 2017 @ 9:00am | ! Report

        Exactly. Only 35,000 tickets are allocated to competing club members in the first place. You can fit that amount at the Adelaide Oval, the new stadium in Perth, the SCG, the Gabba and Docklands. And you can add Kardinia Park to the list after the next stage of the redevelopment.

        The only problem is that the AFL would have to cut down on the number of corporates who go, and we know they won’t do that. So what is needed, sadly, for the Grand Final to move elsewhere, is a stadium with a capacity of 80,000. That is roughly how many people currently get into the Grand Final minus the MCC.

        • Roar Guru

          October 23rd 2017 @ 9:04am
          Cat said | October 23rd 2017 @ 9:04am | ! Report

          Stadium members, team allocation, broadcast partners, stakeholders, sponsors etc will still get their ticket allotment first. You are absolutely kidding yourself if you think anything else. The AFL is contractually obligated to provide most of those.

          • October 23rd 2017 @ 9:15am
            Alex said | October 23rd 2017 @ 9:15am | ! Report

            And that is why it won’t happen. It’s a nice thought though.

        • October 23rd 2017 @ 11:02am
          creamofsumyunggai said | October 23rd 2017 @ 11:02am | ! Report

          “only problem”?

          You do realise there is another MAJOR problem in your argument and that is the cost of building those huge grand stands at the MCG. That 100,000 seat stadium we all love was funded on the premise that the grand final would be played there every year (or until 2035 or something).

          Everyone knows this is the rule and all the teams in the AFL agree; for the new clubs, agreeing to this was part of being let into the comp in the first place.

          There has always been lopsided aspects to the AFL, be it COLA or the rigged draw to let the big clubs play each other twice, making MCG clubs play home games at Etihad against the small teams, to the draft concessions all the new clubs got (some more than others), and on and on. You need to deal with this.

          Yeah the MCG tennants gets to play the granny at the MCG. Wow, it’s only been that way since WWII. You wanna break the contract with the MCC? go for it.

          • October 23rd 2017 @ 3:56pm
            Harsh Truth Harry said | October 23rd 2017 @ 3:56pm | ! Report

            Exactly creamofsumyunggai!!!!!! All this bleating in here counts for nothing….you think you’re all going to change their mind? No! Whine all you want but this is the deal, deal with it….and yes lets hope the Bombers meet a heavily favoured interstate side in the 2018 GF…it will make our win so much sweeter knowing you lot will whinge for the next decade about it.

      • October 23rd 2017 @ 9:14am
        Alex said | October 23rd 2017 @ 9:14am | ! Report

        With regard to your comment on Geelong home finals, that is a very odd comparison.

        Kardinia Park is Geelong’s primary home ground. Hawthorn’s is the MCG and North Melbourne’s is Docklands.

        It would be unreasonable for either the Hawks or Kangaroos to request a home final in Tasmania as they each have a home ground that, firstly, they play more home games at, secondly, is actually in the city the club is based in, thirdly, is in the same state the club is based in, and finally, has a much larger capacity anyway.

        Kardinia Park, on the other hand, is in Geelong and hosts the vast majority of Geelong home games. Surely it is not so outrageous for the Cats to request a Geelong home final in Geelong.

        • Roar Guru

          October 23rd 2017 @ 9:28am
          Cat said | October 23rd 2017 @ 9:28am | ! Report

          There is also the fact that Geelong requests 11 games at Kardinia Park but the AFL refuses to allow it. While other teams get to sell their home games to other grounds for large profits, Geelong loses large amounts of money for every game they are forced to play in Melbourne and receive no compensation for it.

          • October 23rd 2017 @ 9:38am
            truetigerfan said | October 23rd 2017 @ 9:38am | ! Report

            So too,Richmond! Forced to play home games at Etihad! Every team can bitch about the draw but not all supporters accept that as truth. Old cliche I know, play one week at a time and stop ya’ moaning!

          • Roar Pro

            October 23rd 2017 @ 9:53am
            Darren M said | October 23rd 2017 @ 9:53am | ! Report

            Geelong could always try selling their home games to other grounds for large profit…

            • Roar Guru

              October 23rd 2017 @ 9:56am
              Cat said | October 23rd 2017 @ 9:56am | ! Report

              Why? The biggest profit is playing games in Geelong. Approx. $750k+ from a 30k crowd. Where is going to be better than that?

              • Roar Pro

                October 23rd 2017 @ 10:09am
                Darren M said | October 23rd 2017 @ 10:09am | ! Report

                So Geelong get big profits from playing in Kardinia Park, while other teams are forced to sell games to neutral grounds and give up home ground advantage because they don’t own their own ground and have to agree to terms with the landlords?

                Sounds like good compensation for Geelong then.

              • Roar Guru

                October 23rd 2017 @ 10:11am
                Cat said | October 23rd 2017 @ 10:11am | ! Report

                Geelong is a tenant too. They do not own Kardinia Park.

                Out of the 18 teams in the AFL currently how many have had to spend money from their own bank accounts to get the stadium(s) they play home games in upgraded?

                One. Geelong. Both Perth teams are getting a brand new stadium that they haven’t contributed a dollar to. Both South Australians teams got Adelaide Oval renovated without spending a dollar of their own money. Swans same at the SCG. Metricon and Spotless were done with nothing coming from the Suns or Giants receptively. None of the Etihad tenants pulled money out to build Etihad. None of the MCG tenant teams paid for the Great Southern Stand upgrade.

                However, Geelong has spent close to $20m of its own hard earned to facilitate the upgrades at the ground they aren’t even allowed to play 11 games a year at.

              • Roar Pro

                October 23rd 2017 @ 10:22am
                Darren M said | October 23rd 2017 @ 10:22am | ! Report

                But they might as well. The Kardinia Park Stadium Trust was set up to oversee the stadium because the Geelong Football Club were there. It’s board is full of Geelong supporters.

                If Geelong were to up and leave, there would be no reason for the trust to continue. They are tenant in legal separation and name only.

              • Roar Guru

                October 23rd 2017 @ 4:10pm
                Peppsy said | October 23rd 2017 @ 4:10pm | ! Report

                Cat, its my understanding that Kardinia is also Geelong’s training ground, and on that basis, how many clubs had to use their own money to upgrade training grounds? All of them.

              • Roar Guru

                October 23rd 2017 @ 4:30pm
                Cat said | October 23rd 2017 @ 4:30pm | ! Report

                Sometimes it is, but Geelong also went partners with Deakin university for an oval with the exact MCG dimensions. They did this to be able to practice the dimensions and for when KP is unavailable to train on (which is frequent and will become less available as the KP trust starts leasing it out for other events)

                http://www.geelongcats.com.au/news/2016-05-18/new-training-base-a-big-boost-for-cats

      • October 23rd 2017 @ 9:45am
        Rex said | October 23rd 2017 @ 9:45am | ! Report

        100k stadiums arent the be all and end all – the AFL makes its money from TV.
        The highest ranked side should host – more unashamed bias from the VFL having the GF at the G for so long.

        • Roar Guru

          October 23rd 2017 @ 9:54am
          Cat said | October 23rd 2017 @ 9:54am | ! Report

          Another person that fails to address the lack of seating for actual fans of the teams playing if it isn’t at the MCG.

          • Roar Pro

            October 23rd 2017 @ 10:14am
            Darren M said | October 23rd 2017 @ 10:14am | ! Report

            However, its folly to suggest that there are only 35,000 ‘fans’ at the game and the rest of the crowd is impartial corporate bigwigs.

            Most of the corporate seats get to fans of both sides, even if it’s at inflated costs. The NM Breakfast sell tickets, how many of these would fans of the competing clubs get? Same for competition giveaways and other sponsor, corporate boxes, AFL and MCC member tickets.

            My cousin is a Richmond supporter, she didn’t get one of the 17,000 supporter tickets. But because she wanted to be at that game, she got her hands on a corporate ticket. She would not be the only one.

            • October 23rd 2017 @ 12:44pm
              Reservoir Animal said | October 23rd 2017 @ 12:44pm | ! Report

              If the Grand Final seating allocation means 65,000 ‘non-fans’ then that rules out all other venues straight away.

              Only at the MCG does a club member have any hope of getting a ticket.

              • Roar Pro

                October 23rd 2017 @ 1:19pm
                Darren M said | October 23rd 2017 @ 1:19pm | ! Report

                Exactly, and all those non-supporter allocations are given because those sponsors, broadcasters, stakeholders, stadium managers and clubs pay money to make the thing even happen in the first place. They are going to want a considerable discount for not getting access to x number of grand final tickets.

            • Roar Rookie

              October 24th 2017 @ 11:36pm
              FreoFan said | October 24th 2017 @ 11:36pm | ! Report

              I got my ticket to the 2013 GF via the NM Breakfast. The food was atrocious that morning unfortunately…

        • October 23rd 2017 @ 10:13am
          Reservoir Animal said | October 23rd 2017 @ 10:13am | ! Report

          If it’s only about TV viewers then we may as well play the game at my local park.

          Crowd size matters. Regardless of what small-town hicks might tell you.

        • October 23rd 2017 @ 8:49pm
          Tony chester said | October 23rd 2017 @ 8:49pm | ! Report

          Top ranked team in the NFL doesn’t host??? It’s played at a neutral ground??? Unless the top ranked team makes the Super Bowl the same year there stadium is hosting. Maybe neutral ground is the right choice?

      • October 23rd 2017 @ 9:51am
        Pedro The Fisherman said | October 23rd 2017 @ 9:51am | ! Report

        GF should always be at the MCG. The issue is that it is the home ground for some clubs and that gives them an advantage. Get those clubs out of the MCG and play 1 match a week there (and mix it up so as all clubs get a reasonably fair go).

        • October 23rd 2017 @ 10:03am
          truetigerfan said | October 23rd 2017 @ 10:03am | ! Report

          What a ridiculous comment! Logistics? Please explain or haven’t you actually thought it through? Build more stadiums? There was a reason for ground rationalisation!

          • October 23rd 2017 @ 4:00pm
            Pedro The Fisherman said | October 23rd 2017 @ 4:00pm | ! Report

            Pretty sure there is already a proposal to build a new stadium in Melbourne. Build it and use that.
            A case can be made for Melbourne to play on the MCG as a home ground but nobody else.

            • Roar Guru

              October 23rd 2017 @ 4:02pm
              Cat said | October 23rd 2017 @ 4:02pm | ! Report

              There isn’t going to be any new stadium.

            • October 23rd 2017 @ 4:07pm
              truetigerfan said | October 23rd 2017 @ 4:07pm | ! Report

              Rubbish, Pedro! No new Stadium coming! Wouldn’t cater for your proposal anyway!

            • Roar Pro

              October 24th 2017 @ 12:20pm
              Darren M said | October 24th 2017 @ 12:20pm | ! Report

              There has been ‘proposals’ (ie talk, rumours, gossip, pie in the sky suggestions) but nothing actually concrete.

              Funnily enough, any proposal was always for a smaller boutique style ground. I can hardly see 60,000 Collingwood fans turning up to this boutique ground to watch the Anzac Day match!

          • October 24th 2017 @ 12:47pm
            Billy said | October 24th 2017 @ 12:47pm | ! Report

            If we do start spending billions building more stadiums – could we get the sizes rationalised? Kardinia Park is 10 metres longer than the MCG playing surface and a staggering 26 metres narrower. Now is that a home ground advantage?

            • Roar Guru

              October 24th 2017 @ 12:55pm
              Cat said | October 24th 2017 @ 12:55pm | ! Report

              Most grounds are the dimensions they are for very specific reasons. There simply is no room for KP to be wider. The MCG is so ‘fat’ so it can fit 100k seats in. A ground that size with 50k seats would require huge sections to have no seats at all. The atmosphere would be poor.

              • Roar Guru

                October 24th 2017 @ 12:58pm
                Paul D said | October 24th 2017 @ 12:58pm | ! Report

                On a similar note it’s impossible to expand the Gabba any further – the stands already extend into the airspace over Stanley and Vulture streets, and there was a big kerfuffle about that when it first happened.

                Short of resuming roadspace (won’t happen) it will remain the size it is.

              • October 24th 2017 @ 2:02pm
                Aransan said | October 24th 2017 @ 2:02pm | ! Report

                Historically Australian Rules was designed to be played on a cricket ground and unfortunately there is no standard size for a cricket ground.

              • Roar Guru

                October 24th 2017 @ 2:16pm
                Cat said | October 24th 2017 @ 2:16pm | ! Report

                Well aware of the traditional nature of it, was commenting on more why it continues to this day and is not easily, or even possible in many cases, changed.

              • October 24th 2017 @ 2:44pm
                Aransan said | October 24th 2017 @ 2:44pm | ! Report

                Cat, my point is that many contributors are unaware of the history — I was just adding to your post.

              • Roar Guru

                October 24th 2017 @ 2:54pm
                Cat said | October 24th 2017 @ 2:54pm | ! Report

                Fair enough Aransan, I guess I took it wrong, sorry.

              • October 24th 2017 @ 3:52pm
                Aransan said | October 24th 2017 @ 3:52pm | ! Report

                No problem Cat.

        • Roar Pro

          October 23rd 2017 @ 10:15am
          Darren M said | October 23rd 2017 @ 10:15am | ! Report

          Melbourne has played at the MCG longer than the Grand Final has been there.
          You’re not kicking Melbourne out of their home ground.

          • October 24th 2017 @ 3:51pm
            Matto said | October 24th 2017 @ 3:51pm | ! Report

            Not a problem. Melbourne don’t make grand finals anyway.

    • October 23rd 2017 @ 7:32am
      David C said | October 23rd 2017 @ 7:32am | ! Report

      Doggies did ok away from home in last years finals run.

      • October 23rd 2017 @ 8:33am
        Alex said | October 23rd 2017 @ 8:33am | ! Report

        Yes, they are definitely an exception.

    • October 23rd 2017 @ 8:01am
      Liam said | October 23rd 2017 @ 8:01am | ! Report

      I’m curious, then.

      If you are interested in fairness, why not address the inequities of the draw? Some sides get home games against top 4 candidates, allowing them to challenge sides they couldn’t get near away; that’s the difference between St Kilda this year and West Coast, after all. You stated in your article that Richmond got thumped away against Adelaide, and all the top 4 sides this season had similar results; doesn’t that simply attest to the veracity of home ground advantage always, and that sides that play home games where a consistent advantage is in effect – sides like Adelaide, West Coast, Sydney, Port etc – will have draws that benefit them over the sides that play their home games against fellow tenants – Carlton, Richmond, Western Bulldogs, Collingwood etc- during the season proper.

      If you’re interested in fairness, perhaps you should consider dismantling all home ground advantages, so the best team on the day wins always. The sides you find having an unfair advantage on grand final day are also the sides that have to negotiate playing away against sides with far stronger home ground advantages, and have less of one against their fellow tenants; the path is therefore harder for them to make top 4, and balances the claims you make somewhat.

      • October 23rd 2017 @ 8:30am
        Reservoir Animal said | October 23rd 2017 @ 8:30am | ! Report

        It is true that many interstate sides who reach grand finals- including those who qualify on top- might have struggled to get there if they didn’t have so many home games against a side who’s flown thousands of kms to play in front of a one-sided crowd.

        Victorian clubs (apart from Geelong) have a distinct disadvantage resulting from their lack of ‘home’ games and in many cases have worked harder just to reach a GF, regardless of what the ladder might say.

        • Roar Guru

          October 23rd 2017 @ 9:08am
          Cat said | October 23rd 2017 @ 9:08am | ! Report

          Melbourne clubs also have a distinct advantage of not having to travel at all for many ‘away’ games.

          • Roar Guru

            October 23rd 2017 @ 9:17am
            JamesH said | October 23rd 2017 @ 9:17am | ! Report

            True, but they also have the disadvantage of not getting the home ground benefit for many of their home games, too. It’s swings and roundabouts.

            • Roar Guru

              October 23rd 2017 @ 9:29am
              Cat said | October 23rd 2017 @ 9:29am | ! Report

              Absolutely, but some people only want to look at one side of it and ignore the other.

              • October 23rd 2017 @ 10:11am
                Reservoir Animal said | October 23rd 2017 @ 10:11am | ! Report

                The travel for Geelong to get to Melbourne (especially given many of their players live in Melbs) is too miniscule to be a disadvantage. Players who can’t handle an 80km bus ride shouldn’t be playing professional football.

              • Roar Guru

                October 23rd 2017 @ 10:20am
                Cat said | October 23rd 2017 @ 10:20am | ! Report

                Who said anything about Geelong? Reading comprehension fail.

              • October 23rd 2017 @ 10:46am
                Liam said | October 23rd 2017 @ 10:46am | ! Report

                Exactly.

        • October 23rd 2017 @ 3:46pm
          Andreas said | October 23rd 2017 @ 3:46pm | ! Report

          As opposed to the disadvantage of having to fly 1000’s of kilometres to play away games in front of fiercely partisan crowds every second weekend?

          • October 23rd 2017 @ 3:52pm
            Reservoir Animal said | October 23rd 2017 @ 3:52pm | ! Report

            That’s not such a disadvantage when your fortressed home ground means 10 wins per year are already banked in. Gives coaches plenty of time to work on conditioning their players for travel.

            • October 23rd 2017 @ 5:10pm
              Alex said | October 23rd 2017 @ 5:10pm | ! Report

              For every win that is “banked in” at home, there’s probably a loss that can be banked in away.

              As for Melbourne teams… yes, all the games between Melbourne-based clubs at neutral venues causes more unpredictability for how many games said teams will win, but the best of them can really take advantage of it by winning a high percentage of the neutral games as well as their home games. Perhaps it is best described as an advantage for the top Melbourne teams and a disadvantage for the weaker ones?

              • Roar Guru

                October 23rd 2017 @ 5:44pm
                Cat said | October 23rd 2017 @ 5:44pm | ! Report

                Or maybe the better team just wins more games wherever it’s played?

      • October 23rd 2017 @ 5:01pm
        Alex said | October 23rd 2017 @ 5:01pm | ! Report

        Had to keep the piece short but I am happy to address the regular season fixture here.

        Yes, MCG and Docklands tenants who share their home ground do have less true home games in the regular season.

        However, they also have less proper away games.

        West Coast, Fremantle, Adelaide and Port Adelaide get one “away” game at their home ground each year. Geelong, Sydney, GWS, Brisbane and Gold Coast get none. Melbourne-based clubs tend to have a plethora of “home” and “away” games at neutral venues against fellow Melbourne teams. I think it balances out okay. If not, wealthy Victorian clubs like Hawthorn are free to use all the money they spend on training facilities on contributing to a new stadium instead, or redeveloping an old suburban ground. If they wanted the “advantage” interstate teams supposedly have, I suspect they would be doing just that.

        • October 23rd 2017 @ 6:28pm
          Liam said | October 23rd 2017 @ 6:28pm | ! Report

          Something I find interesting about this kind of argument is that it only holds water between eras; if there’s a dominant team running around, they’re good enough to win anywhere, and are invincible at home.

          But that is neither here nor there. As far as the issue at hand goes, you are again ignoring the fact that it is easier to be top four when you have a significant home ground advantage. Adelaide only has a single fellow tenant to compete on an even keel beside, as does Fremantle, where the victorian sides have multiple fellow tenants to turn a home match into a neutral venue, against more than half the competition. This is not an insignificant fact.

          I certainly can’t argue against what you’re saying in this article, because to a certain extent you are correct; at least, you are over the last two years. It is shortsighted, though, to look at the Grand Final as unfair whilst still permitting the interstate home ground advantage to determine to layout of the top eight, and then the sides that enter the Grand Final. It is certainly not swings and roundabouts, too; you are forgetting your history when you ignorantly claim that ” wealthy Victorian clubs like Hawthorn are free to use all the money they spend on training facilities on contributing to a new stadium instead, or redeveloping an old suburban ground…”

          The AFL forced the Victorian clubs out of their suburban bases, offering them financial incentives to abandon them to play at the MCG and at Waverley, then Etihad when Waverley was decommissioned. Carlton was the final club to keep their suburban base, and the AFL leveraged their debt – due to their upgrading a pavilion and the fines from their salary cap breaches – via their president, Ian Collins to make them a tenant at Etihad. The AFL did this to maximise their own revenue, as it made it easier to run it all at the best quality at the best venues, as well as allowing them to package media coverage, sell corporate boxes, etc.

          That may change – with the AFL assisting Carlton in redeveloping Princes Park, for example – but this situation, in which the victorian tenants of the MCG have an advantage over interstate sides, is entirely of the AFL’s making, as is the vicissitudes of the draw which allow a side like West Coast, as poor as they are away from home, to perpetually contend, purely from the strength of their home ground advantage.

          I don’t have a solution, other than perhaps interstate sides playing home games at the MCG during the season proper, with the home clubs and the AFL splitting the fees for paid members to make the trip (package tickets and lodgings, perhaps) because the Grand Final isn’t moving any time soon.

        • October 23rd 2017 @ 8:10pm
          Liam said | October 23rd 2017 @ 8:10pm | ! Report

          Put very simply.

          If your side is strong – but not an epoch defining team – you are better off being from Adelaide, Sydney, Brisbane, or Perth than being from Melbourne, as you are able to leverage your greater home ground advantage over the rest of the competition into more wins against sides at your level or lower and greater percentage from home ground heavy wins. If you have a similar side in Melbourne, your fate is tied almost entirely to the draw; if you’re Collingwood – or another side that pulls significant crowds – then you will swing from being given draws to maximise that pull to your advantage – playing top 4 candidates at home and away, giving you a chance in 50% of them – or you only play them away, to maximise the value for the AFL interstate.

          If you are not a big crowd pulling team, then your fate is purely down to whether or not you’re on the right side of head office; if you get teams around your level away, you’re 10th or lower; if you get them at home, you’re 5th to 3rd. If they’re diabolical, you’re bottom 6.

          You are more likely to win more matches and have better percentage, more likely to come top 4, and thus more likely to make a Grand Final, if you have an exploitable home ground advantage during the season proper. If you do not, yet you make the grand final in your home state, you have a greater chance to win.

          Them’s the breaks.

    • October 23rd 2017 @ 8:22am
      truetigerfan said | October 23rd 2017 @ 8:22am | ! Report

      No, Alex! Non- Victorian clubs are greatly advantaged throughout the season proper as pointed out by Liam! Teams like Richmond don’t even get 11 genuine home games, they’re forced to play at Etihad Stadium, usually against poor drawing interstate sides! You want home finals? Earn the advantage with your heavily slanted home ground advantage throughout the year! Leave the GF alone!

      • October 23rd 2017 @ 2:11pm
        Perry Bridge said | October 23rd 2017 @ 2:11pm | ! Report

        #truetigerfan

        It’s not so much ‘greatly advantaged’ – in that WCE might be more likely to go say 10-1 on the H side of the ledger, but, are far less likely to generate anything like that on the A side of the ledger.

        So – a dominant season by an MCG tenant is more likely to be reflected in both H&A columns. The travel factor alone accounts for this – esp from WA.

        The irony of Hawthorn is that they have rarely dominated a Prelim final.

        2011 they just missed to Collingwood by 3 pts. 2012 just got up over Adel by 5 pts (had been 1 and 2 at season end). In 2013 +5 over Geel, 2014 +3 over Port, 2015 their best prelim final was on the road over Freo.

        Ironically the last 3 seasons have seen 3 prelim finals won by the side on the road. In 2015 Haw as just mentioned. In 2016 Swans over Geel and Doggies over Giants.

        Then you have to go back to 2006 for the last prioer – West Coast on the road over Adelaide in 2006. In ’05 Swans over Etihad tenant StK at the ‘G and in 03 and 04 the Lions of Syd and Geel respectively.

        The GF only tells so much – Fremantle need only have kicked straighter to really test Hawthorn. The Crows this year likewise. Was that travel fatigue?

    • Roar Pro

      October 23rd 2017 @ 8:22am
      Darren M said | October 23rd 2017 @ 8:22am | ! Report

      Interestingly, you consider Geelong v Richmond at the to be ‘effectively a Richmond home game’ in week 1, but then the MCG is clearly considered to be Geelong’s home ground advantage in the semi final.

      If the MCG is not considered to be Geelong’s home ground in the qualifying final, then shouldn’t it be considered at least a neutral venue in the semi final?

      And I agree with Liam’s comments above, that teams that play 11 home games in ‘their’ home ground get 11 advantages (10 from 12 if you count derbies/showdowns) while MCG and Etihad tenants have much less home ground advantage when playing cross-town rivals. Of course due to quirks of the draw, often an MCG tenant will play a home at Etihad game against an Etihad tenant effectively playing as an away game.

      • Roar Guru

        October 23rd 2017 @ 9:12am
        Cat said | October 23rd 2017 @ 9:12am | ! Report

        The biggest part of ‘Home Ground Advantage’ is the crowd support.

        In Rich v. Geelong it was an 85/15% split Richmonds advantage
        In Geelong v. Sydney it was a 70/30% split Geelong advanatge

        From that point of view it is clear who the nominal home team was in each game.

        PS: in the GF it was 50/50 split – no advantage.

        • Roar Guru

          October 23rd 2017 @ 9:27am
          XI said | October 23rd 2017 @ 9:27am | ! Report

          You are having a laugh if you thought the crowd was 50/50 at the GF. It was easily 65/35 if not more towards the Tigers.

        • Roar Pro

          October 23rd 2017 @ 9:27am
          Darren M said | October 23rd 2017 @ 9:27am | ! Report

          It is to an extent. However I would also argue that experience playing at the ground, the conditions, the weather, the size and shape of the field, how the wind moves around the stand also play a part in the advantage.

          For the record, all Victorian teams have almost always played home finals at the MCG or Waverley. Even in the old suburban days, Collingwood didn’t play finals at Vic Park, North didn’t play finals at Arden St, St Kilda didn’t play finals at Moorabbin.

          • Roar Guru

            October 23rd 2017 @ 9:34am
            Cat said | October 23rd 2017 @ 9:34am | ! Report

            Weather? Really? Every ground (well maybe not Etihad) has weather.
            Size and shape can and should be trained for.
            Experience at the ground? People talk about this like it changes every year or that every player is a first year player. The bulk of Adelaide’s list has played dozens of time at the MCG.

            What can’t be trained for is crowd noise and the effect i can have on human umpires during 50/50 calls.

            • Roar Pro

              October 23rd 2017 @ 10:01am
              Darren M said | October 23rd 2017 @ 10:01am | ! Report

              Ok, by weather I mostly mean wind, but also how the sun shines, like at Etihad with the roof open, it reflects off the buildings in the CBD, while at the MCG you’re playing with half the ground in shade. Or when it rains, it comes from the south goals, so it gets soggier down there than at the other end. Or the wind at Bellerive comes howling up from Antarctica.

              You can only train for size and shape of the ground if you have a ground that size and shape to train on.

              If you train on one specific ground all week, and play on the same ground you know its quirks, the limits of the boundary subconsciously, you know how if you kick toward the right point post the wind will swing the ball back toward the goals. Your opponents don’t know the ground as well, hence you get an advantage.

              • Roar Guru

                October 23rd 2017 @ 11:21am
                TomC said | October 23rd 2017 @ 11:21am | ! Report

                I’d love someone to do some analysis on whether home ground advantage has more impact in wet weather. I’ve always suspected that it does, but never been able to show it conclusively.

                Good weather is generally the same, except maybe in particularly hot climates. But wet weather has different characteristics in different places, and the home team are much more likely to experience it than the visitors.

              • October 23rd 2017 @ 2:23pm
                Perry Bridge said | October 23rd 2017 @ 2:23pm | ! Report

                The irony of the weather is that:

                Point 1: The AFL GF is an afternoon game. So very many games are played either at night or under the roof at Etihad. A day game becomes quite foreign to many teams. (I think back to NthMlb in 1998!!).

                Point 2: The AFL GF Is played late Sept (if not v.early Oct) – the weather experienced at the MCG in July is a very, very poor guide (generally) to often the warm (if not hot) and often swirly (spring winds) conditions on GF day. The warmth will often advantage a team from Perth or Brisbane, or Adelaide (I think again of GFs around ’97 and ’98).

                Point 3: No one trains on the ground as a home ground. The weather experience at Windy Hill compared to Glenferrie Oval compared to the Junction oval might have been similar but the home ground advantage was the particular local knowledge from playing week after week (training back in the day was at night and less indicative of the day time arvo weather). And back in the day the reserves also played the curtain raiser – not any longer. So – yes – a Richmond side will have more idea – about kicking a goal from the boundary line at the ‘G – – much of the ‘studied’ knowledge will actually be from the pre-game warm-up!!; as that is where players can select a spot and take the time to have repeated tries. But – all players get that chance pre-game.

        • October 23rd 2017 @ 3:23pm
          truetigerfan said | October 23rd 2017 @ 3:23pm | ! Report

          Why were Geelong supporters so slow to buy tickets for the Richmond game? No internet at Geelong? Lack of transport? Too inconvenient? Richmond certainly weren’t given 85% of tickets to the game! Your supporters were given no less an opportunity to attend that match! Given Chris Scott’s thinly veiled swipe at the AFL for not giving the Cats a home final I would’ve thought Geelong supporters would have shown up in force.

        • October 23rd 2017 @ 3:48pm
          truetigerfan said | October 23rd 2017 @ 3:48pm | ! Report

          Well Cat. Can you explain to me how an 85/15 split to Richmond’s advantage occurred! Weren’t fans of both sides given equal opportunity to purchase tickets? Maybe I’m overlooking something or maybe I’m wrong. Did Cats fans stay away in protest at not getting a ‘home’ final? Please explain.

          • Roar Guru

            October 23rd 2017 @ 4:23pm
            Cat said | October 23rd 2017 @ 4:23pm | ! Report

            Geelong fans never travel to Melbourne in great numbers at the best of times. For a Friday night game it is even worse. By the time you get home from work its time to race off to try to get to the MCG.
            Even during the ‘Kennett Curse’ and great rivalry with Hawthorn, Geelong was still typically outnumbered 3:1 at the ‘g

            • October 23rd 2017 @ 4:55pm
              truetigerfan said | October 23rd 2017 @ 4:55pm | ! Report

              Well that’s pretty pathetic, can’t complain about crowd bias if that’s the case! Plenty of supporters travel more than an hour to the G.

            • October 23rd 2017 @ 10:30pm
              Curtis Del Mar said | October 23rd 2017 @ 10:30pm | ! Report

              Which is part of Geelong’s problem…a closed shop of supporters who rarely travel, who rarely have to contend with opposition supporters and who cant fathom why the home ground advantage that gets them to the finals isn’t granted to them on the flimsiest of pretexts.

              • October 25th 2017 @ 6:08pm
                Stephen said | October 25th 2017 @ 6:08pm | ! Report

                Strong argument Curtis. ‘Ones greatest strength can easily become ones greatest weakness.’

        • October 23rd 2017 @ 4:11pm
          truetigerfan said | October 23rd 2017 @ 4:11pm | ! Report

          Much has been said of the 85/15 split to Ricmond’s advantage, What I want to know is where were the Cats’ fans? They had equal access to tickets!

        • Roar Pro

          October 23rd 2017 @ 4:32pm
          anon said | October 23rd 2017 @ 4:32pm | ! Report

          Let’s pretend that the Grand Final was played in front of an empty stadium.

          In an empty stadium, would Richmond be more advantaged playing at the MCG or Adelaide Oval?

          • October 23rd 2017 @ 5:31pm
            truetigerfan said | October 23rd 2017 @ 5:31pm | ! Report

            Hypotheticals in this instance mean nothing. Wouldn’t happen, will never happen. Make your own point, anon!

        • October 25th 2017 @ 3:12pm
          Harsh Truth Harry said | October 25th 2017 @ 3:12pm | ! Report

          How would you know that exact split Cat? did you survey each person who attended?

      • October 23rd 2017 @ 5:18pm
        Alex said | October 23rd 2017 @ 5:18pm | ! Report

        The MCG was an advantage to Geelong in the Semi Final simply because the Swans had to travel interstate. Obviously they didn’t have a strong home ground advantage that they might’ve had at Kardinia Park, but they didn’t have to get on a plane. They didn’t in the first week either, but neither did their opposition. I would’ve thought that it’s pretty clear that Geelong playing a Melbourne-based MCG tenant at the MCG in Melbourne does not provide the same advantage that they got playing a non-Victorian side in Victoria.

        • Roar Pro

          October 24th 2017 @ 8:53am
          Darren M said | October 24th 2017 @ 8:53am | ! Report

          Ok, so Geelong get an advantage when playing an interstate team because the interstate team had to board a plane.

          However, when Geelong were dominating, won almost all their games at the MCG, in which they played several, and won premierships in 07, 09, and 11, there were few complaints about the MCG not being their actual home ground.

          How many finals have been played at Kardinia Park from 1897-2017?

          • Roar Guru

            October 24th 2017 @ 9:20am
            Cat said | October 24th 2017 @ 9:20am | ! Report

            One at Kardinia Park. Kardinia Park has not been in use since 1897, it opened in 1941.

            Let’s also remember in ’07, ’09 and ’11 KP could only hold ~22k and was not a world class facility yet. Geelong has been requesting more games in Geelong for decades. Yes the requests are getting louder because as I mentioned above, the changes to the ground.

            • Roar Pro

              October 24th 2017 @ 12:28pm
              Darren M said | October 24th 2017 @ 12:28pm | ! Report

              I’d be happy for Geelong play finals there when they have a stadium that can hold 50,000, and provided 90% of those 50,000 are not reserved for exclusive use of Geelong supporters and coterie groups.

              I actually think if it got to the stage Kardinia Park was a 40-50,000 capacity stadium, they should play all their home games in Geelong. Which is what you say the club requests every year.

              I just find it interesting because these issues never came up when Geelong were agreeing to play as few as 4 games there each year, winning premierships on the MCG and signing agreements that Collingwood and Hawthorn would not be required to play there.

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