Dockers rewarded with three MCG games
Fremantle’s surge up the AFL ladder in 2010 has seen it rewarded with three matches at the home of football next season.
The finals-starved Dockers didn’t play a home and away match at the MCG this year, and faced Geelong in its sudden death semi-final in September.
Mark Harvey’s side, perhaps unfamiliar with the ground, was blown away in the first term and was eventually beaten by 69 points.
But the AFL has revamped next year’s fixture, with one constraint to ensure all clubs must play at least once at the MCG.
Fremantle, on the back of its fifth-placed finish, has earned more than the compulsory one outing and will play regular-season games against Richmond (round seven), Hawthorn (round 11) and Melbourne (round 13).
“Fremantle performed a lot better in 2010 and accordingly have some games there against some tenant clubs,” AFL broadcasting, legal and business affairs manager Simon Lethlean said.
“Fremantle is happy with its draw and we’ve managed to accommodate them with some byes around some major travels for them, too.
“It’s swings and roundabouts on those things, depending which Victorian clubs you play whether it’s here [at Etihad Stadium] or at the MCG it often depends on which tenant clubs they are. I’m sure Freo are happy.”
Lethlean said matches at the MCG were something the Dockers wanted rectified.
“We were always going to get one game for them there,” he said.
“We didn’t push for it to be three by any means, but it’s worked out they’re playing three and I’m sure they’re happy with that.”
Meanwhile, cross-town rival and wooden-spooner West Coast will play its sole match at the MCG against Collingwood in round 10.
While the Eagles will have to make away trips to play top-four sides the Western Bulldogs and St Kilda, they have been spared a trip to Skilled Stadium in 2011.
The Eagles will also play their first-ever Thursday night match at home – the round six clash against Melbourne kicking off the second week of the AFL’s ‘Footy Fiesta’.