AFL finals series must have fans: Hinkley

Oliver Caffrey
(Australian Associated Press)


Port Adelaide coach Ken Hinkley believes it would be “selfish” if clubs pushed to host AFL finals behind closed doors rather than in front of crowds.

The AFL is preparing to move the grand final away from the MCG for the second straight year due to Melbourne’s prolonged COVID-19 crisis.

Perth looms as the favoured option to host this year’s decider after the showpiece match was played under lights at the Gabba in 2020.

Melbourne chief executive Gary Pert indicated last week the club would want to host a qualifying final at their MCG fortress even if spectators were barred from attending.

But with Melbourne’s lockdown extended until at least September 2, there is now no chance of even limited crowds at Victorian venues for the start of the finals series.

The Power are in contention to host finals at the Adelaide Oval but thinks all clubs should play where crowds are possible.

There was a shift in thinking across the league after 51,692 fans created a pulsating atmosphere for the Fremantle-West Coast derby at Optus Stadium on Sunday.

“For the good of the game, the crowd is important, particularly for the finals,” Hinkley told AFL 360.

“If we have that opportunity we’d be foolish, somewhat selfish, if we didn’t go towards the crowds.”

It comes after the AFL on Monday officially scrapped the pre-finals bye.

The controversial bye was first implemented in 2016 with an eye towards preventing teams from resting players en masse in the build-up to the finals.


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