AFL given crowd boost in time for Anzac Day clash at MCG
Up to 85,000 people will be allowed into the MCG for two blockbuster AFL games this weekend, with the Victorian government lifting crowd numbers at three Melbourne venues.
Capacity has been capped at 75% in Victoria for the past month, but that will increase to 85%. Health authorities declined requests for restrictions at sporting venues to be scrapped altogether.
But the increase of 10,000 comes in time for Saturday night’s mammoth clash between undefeated Melbourne and reigning premiers Richmond, as well as the traditional Anzac Day match involving Collingwood and Essendon.
John Cain Arena and AAMI Park will also move to 85% capacity, but it will remain at 75% for Marvel Stadium and Geelong’s GMHBA Stadium.
The AFL is hoping to see an improvement in attendances, with crowd figures down in Victoria as the public adjusts to post-Covid measures.
Even when the crowd cap was lifted from 50 to 75% after just one round, the biggest turnout at the MCG this year so far was 51,723 for Carlton and Collingwood in round two.
With Perth crowds now unrestricted, last Friday night’s clash between West Coast and the Magpies attracted an AFL season-high of 54,159 fans.
In South Australia, the state government has declared a full house will be allowed at the Adelaide Oval from 8 May, which could bring about a crowd of more than 50,000 fans for the round-eight showdown between the Adelaide Crows and Port Adelaide.
Meanwhile, the AFL has locked in times for rounds nine and 10 of the rolling fixture.
Under-fire St Kilda will host Geelong to open round nine, while the Brisbane Lions and Richmond will square off at the Gabba the following Friday night in a rematch of last year’s thrilling qualifying final.