Fee fi fo fum, not good look at sta­dium

The Queensland Times - - SPORT AFL - SHIRTFRONT TERRY MALLINDER @tmall27

IF the GWS Giants win a fi­nal and no one’s around to see it . . . You know the rest.

The Giants turned it on at Spot­less Sta­dium on Satur­day night, crush­ing the West Coast Ea­gles in their sud­den-death semi-fi­nal by 68 points.

It was un­for­tu­nate for them and the game in gen­eral in Syd­ney that a measly crowd of just 14,865 turned up.

It was the low­est num­ber to at­tend a fi­nal since 1916 when 9690 watched Fitzroy win a semi-fi­nal against Colling­wood by six points at the MCG.

Pretty rea­son­able ex­cuse back then .... World War I and all.

It’s not like the Giants didn’t put on a great show, par­tic­u­larly old man Ste­vie J, who wound back the clock on his re­turn to the side to boot six goals.

But, it just goes to show how much work the AFL still has to do in the coun­try’s biggest city in at­tract­ing fans that aren’t al­ready aligned to the Syd­ney Swans.

As was pointed out, there were plenty of empty seats at the ground, in­clud­ing on the wings, vis­i­ble at cen­tre bounces, and behind the goals at both ends, mak­ing it glar­ingly ob­vi­ous on tele­vi­sion.

The back­drop to Spot­less re­sem­bled a (reg­u­lar sea­son) NRL game, with clearly few Ea­gles fans mak­ing the trip across the coun­try too.

But it was league who was laugh­ing over the week­end, reg­is­ter­ing a rare win in the at­ten­dance stakes.

They beat their AFL coun­ter­parts by more than 9000 peo­ple across the codes’ semi-fi­nals week­end.

It was in stark con­trast to the pre­vi­ous week’s fi­nals when the AFL’s fig­ure was three times that of the NRL’s.

Of course, that vic­tory will be short-lived with Mel­bourne host­ing an NRL pre­lim­i­nary fi­nal against Brisbane, and the Syd­ney Roost­ers wel­com­ing North Queens­land this week­end.

All AFL roads lead to the Ade­laide Oval on Fri­day night when Pa­trick Danger­field con­fronts the Crows. There will eas­ily be 50,000-plus there.

Dan­ger’s first re­turn last year saw 53,141 at­tend the Crows-Cats clash, while the record at­ten­dance of 53,698 was posted dur­ing a Crows-Power show­down ear­lier this sea­son.

The fol­low­ing night, how­ever, will be un­like any­thing seen for some time when Rich­mond hosts the Giants at the MCG.

A grand to­tal of 95,028 watched the Tigers take on Gee­long last week­end, with ob­vi­ously quite a few Cats sup­port­ers in the crowd.

How many GWS fans will there be among the 95,000 this time?

Last year’s qual­i­fy­ing fi­nal be­tween GWS and Syd­ney at ANZ Sta­dium drew a crowd of 60,222.

But it’s the only time the Giants’ have played in front of more than 46,000.

They are in for a rude awak­en­ing this Satur­day arvo.

You can bet the Tiger Army will be mak­ing one hell of a sound.

“The best ad­vice you can give is to kick a few goals early be­cause they won’t be cheer­ing too hard if we’re kick­ing goals,” Giants de­fender Heath Shaw said.

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