AFL defends pre-season final venue

By Roger Vaughan,


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    The AFL would love Brisbane to host the pre-season final, but is adamant Etihad Stadium is the right venue for Friday night’s match.

    Brisbane are furious the league decided to play the game against Carlton in Melbourne and not at Gold Coast’s Metricon Stadium home.

    AFL chief executive Andrew Demetriou also became testy on Wednesday when pressed at a media conference on why the league had scheduled the game in Melbourne.

    The Gabba, the Lions’ home ground, is unavailable because of cricket commitments.

    “It shows we understand Queensland a hell of a lot better than you do,” Demetriou told a journalist.

    “Gold Coast and Brisbane are an hour apart, they’re a different population.

    “If you assume people are going to travel down the highway, you’re mistaken.”

    Brisbane are the only unbeaten team after three rounds of the pre-season cup, meaning they should be the home team.

    “It’s absolutely appropriate that Brisbane play this game at the Gabba – that’s where the grand final should be played,” Demetriou said.

    “But unfortunately, we are constrained and we respect that arrangements are in place that relate to cricket.

    “The Gabba would have been a great venue, it would have been great for Queensland.”

    The AFL strongly doubts a Gold Coast final would attract more than 5000-7000 fans, well short of what the attendance will be at Etihad Stadium.

    “It would have been a great injustice to the game,” Demetriou said of a small Gold Coast crowd.

    © AAP 2018

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