The AFL has defended their decision to schedule the Richmond versus Hawthorn Qualifying Final.
Fans are outraged at the decision to put two big Victorian clubs on a weeknight, but AFL fixture boss Travis Auld believes it’s no different to the Perth and Adelaide Thursday night finals over the past two years.
“They go to school in Western Australia and South Australia,” Auld told SEN’s Whateley.
“Families and kids getting to the game from outside of CBD or having school the next day, that issue applies anywhere where we play.
“Our expectations are we will get 90,000 plus, we are confident with those teams and the strength of those teams that there will be a really strong crowd.”
Auld also described how the fairness of rest for all eight finals clubs is another factor in placing a game on Thursday night.
“It’s the week off between the home and away and the first week of the finals that’s given us an opportunity to launch finals with a Thursday night, which then has taken a game out of the Sunday,” he said.
“It also makes it easier in terms of day breaks.
“If you look at week two of the finals, we will have an eight day break and a seven day break and two seven day breaks.
“That’s really important to the clubs that are competing.”
SEN’s Whateley with Gerard Whateley can be heard Monday-Thursday 9-12am, and you can subscribe to the podcast here
However, dual premiership player David King isn’t buying that argument from the league, saying teams why finish first should be able to determine their own fixture.
“If you finish top on the ladder, I think you should choose when you want to play,” he said.
“That should be one of the benefits of finishing top of the table.
“They’ve got Dan Butler, who is not a marquee player by any stretch, but he is an important player for Richmond.
“There is no way he can play next Saturday (in the VFL) and then back-up on the Thursday into a final.
“Why are Richmond ruling a player out now because of the fixture?”