Grand plan for de­cider

Fremantle Gazette - - SPORT - Adam Poulsen

HOST­ING the 2020 WAFL grand fi­nal at Fre­man­tle Oval will pro­vide “a huge shot in the arm for the city”, the head of South Fre­man­tle Foot­ball Club says.

Club chief ex­ec­u­tive Cameron Britt said the WA Foot­ball Com­mis­sion’s de­ci­sion last week was a “sig­nif­i­cant out­come for Fre­man­tle” that would ben­e­fit the en­tire city.

“Fre­man­tle has had a pretty tor­rid time through­out COVID, with re­stric­tions and busi­nesses feel­ing the pinch in terms of vis­i­ta­tion and rev­enue,” he said.

“The Fre­man­tle com­mu­nity has such a rich foot­ball pedi­gree and legacy, and this oval has ac­cess to the mar­kets, eater­ies, small bars and park­land.

“I think a mas­sive tick for Fre­man­tle Oval was the fact that we’re look­ing at not just the game but a whole-ofevent fo­cus, at­tract­ing young peo­ple and fam­i­lies into Fre­man­tle.”

The Bull­dogs worked with the City of Fre­man­tle and the Fre­man­tle Cham­ber of Com­merce on a joint bid to host the game, with con­tenders Joon­dalup and Leed­erville los­ing out.

It will be the first time the venue has hosted a WAFL Grand Fi­nal in more than 100 years, with such events tra­di­tion­ally held at Su­bi­aco Oval and later Op­tus Sta­dium.

And though he ad­mit­ted Op­tus Sta­dium was “ar­guably the best sport­ing venue in the coun­try”, Mr Britt said Fre­man­tle Oval was a bet­ter choice.

“There is a sig­nif­i­cant ex­pense to play there, to hire it, plus other lim­i­ta­tions in­clud­ing that we could only play two games there on the day,” he said. “We have colts, re­serves and league that we need to get through, so that was throw­ing up a pretty sig­nif­i­cant bar­rier.”

Given phase four COVID-19 re­stric­tions will still be in place on game Oc­to­ber 4, Mr Britt ex­pected the num­ber of spec­ta­tors would be capped at 10,000.

But for any­one un­able to snag a ticket, the game will be broad­cast on a big screen at Es­planade Park fol­low­ing a fan march down Fre­man­tle’s Cap­puc­cino Strip.

“It was re­ally im­por­tant that we could pro­vide an op­por­tu­nity for those who aren’t able to phys­i­cally come to the game to be a part of the over­all ex­pe­ri­ence,” Mr Britt said.

“If you can’t score a ticket, you can still come have some food, watch the game, and then ev­ery­one will spill out post game into Fre­man­tle.”

Pic­ture: Trevor Col­lens

A much big­ger crowd is ex­pected when Fre­man­tle Oval hosts the WAFL grand fi­nal on Oc­to­ber 4.

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