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Essendon launches bid to move venues for season-opening clash against Hawthorn


Essendon has formally lodged a request to move their season-opening clash from Marvel Stadium to the MCG, Sportsday’s Sam McClure has revealed.

On the back of the AFL announcing last week that both venues will be at 50 per cent capacity for the start of the season due to COVID protocols, the Bombers have launched a bid to shift venues considering Marvel Stadium will only be able to accommodate 28,961 fans to start the 2021 season.

“The AFL is currently considering a request by Essendon to move its round one clash against Hawthorn from Marvel Stadium to the MCG,” McClure said on Sportsday.

“This is going to happen a bit, because clubs want to maximise their members (getting) to games. The last three games between the sides has attracted an average of 66,000 fans, but we know it’s a different world with COVID.

“This is more about the members, you want greater access.

"This isn’t a financial decision.”

Matthew Lloyd endorsed Essendon’s request to have the game shifted to a bigger venue, saying it made even more sense considering the Bombers play three games outside of Victoria in the first five weeks of the season.

“I think they should be flexible to those things,” he said.

“The only thing is Marvel Stadium and how much money they’ve lost in recent times – it’s also owned by the AFL.

“The Bombers have three interstate games in the first five rounds; you can understand why they’d want to move that game to have more fans watch them.”

The request is the first of what is expected to be several fixtures proposals presented to the league as clubs to continue to navigate the COVID environment ahead of the new season.

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