Sports

How the NRL’s Las Vegas push has given a huge free kick to the AFL

“As a club, the Lions are very supportive of the opening round concept and are looking forward to returning to a sold out Gabbatoir to commence the 2024 season,” Lions chief Greg Swann said.

Expansion clubs GWS and Gold Coast are supremely confident they will sell out their season-openers despite a clash with the NRL.

A Giants spokesperson said the club was expecting tickets to sell out a week from their mouthwatering preliminary final rematch against reigning premiers Collingwood at Giants Stadium.

That game immediately follows the NRL clash between western Sydney clubs Parramatta and the Bulldogs 20 minutes down the road at CommBank Stadium.

The Giants expect to comfortably eclipse their record home crowd outside a derby or final of 15,751 against West Coast, and could push their best home attendance at Giants Stadium of 21,924 against the Swans in 2017.

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The league’s youngest club had their plans of building on a historic 2019 grand final appearance ruined by the pandemic but now have the perfect opportunity harness the momentum from last year’s charge to the final four.

The reduced matches in the opening round has also delivered Gold Coast a rare opportunity to have all eyes of the football world on them.

A Suns spokesperson said the club was confident of selling out when they take on new coach Damien Hardwick’s former team Richmond at Heritage Bank Stadium.

The Hardwick factor and the elevated on-field expectations should see the Suns go close to bettering the 19,425 who watched Gary Ablett inspire his team to an upset victory in round one 2014.

The AFL’s fixture boss Josh Bowler said at the announcement of the 2024 draw the league would see how opening round fared before considering a repeat for 2025.

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“This was an opportunity we had access to venues we wouldn’t have ordinarily had access to, so we’re just going to see how it goes and if the fans show up and watch at home, there’s no reason why we wouldn’t look at it in future,” Bowler said last November.

The AFL and NRL both declined to comment on Saturday. The AFL will provide an official update on ticket sales next week.

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  • Source of information and images “brisbanetimes”

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