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Perth home games for Vic clubs is “tokenism”, but a third WA club could help solve inequality


Veteran West Australian journalist Mark Duffield is adamant there should be a third AFL club in his home state.

It comes following the addition of a 19th team in Tasmania, and constant speculation surrounding a 20th side, perhaps in the Northern Territory or Canberra.

The discussion was put on the agenda after SEN’s Sam Edmund reported that West Coast and Fremantle want two Victorian teams to play home games at Perth’s Optus Stadium each season to alleviate some of the travel pressure


Duffield was asked if he believes the introduction of this concept would solve the inequality issue for both the Eagles and Dockers.

He suggested it was a token effort by the AFL who should seriously consider introducing a third team to Western Australia’s ever-increasing 2.6 million population.

“I think it’s a tiny step in the right direction,” Duffield answered on SEN’s Sportsday.

“But really, I tend to think it’s tokenism.

“My belief on this is not a belief that a lot of people share. It is that there should be a third AFL team in WA.

“If you look at the population numbers, if you look at population growth, if you look at the passion for the sport in WA, it is the state where you can put it.

“We’re at 1.3 million people per AFL team in WA. The number in South Australia is more like 850,000, the number in Victoria is around 650,000.

“We are growing faster than those states. We have a 60,000-seat stadium and if we don’t put a third team here then tens of thousands of people will not be able to go to the footy by about 2035.

“That’s my feeling on it. I think that if you let teams come here and play a mini footy festival in the middle of winter, that’s something, but really it only saves them one trip a year.”

Duffield, who hosts SEN WA Mornings, also took a shot at the AFL for the way the season is scheduled.

He took the league to task on the quick turnarounds, on top of the incessant travel, that the Eagles and Dockers have to constantly undertake.

“This is where I think the AFL comes up woefully short, is just showing some common sense in scheduling,” he added.

“West Coast come out of the Gold Coast and it’s a 10-hour trip home for them, and they play Essendon off a six-day break coming off the Gold Coast.

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“Fremantle comes out of the Richmond game and play Sydney off a five-day break off trans-Nullarbor travel which is completely different to any other plane flight in the AFL.

“Then Fremantle comes off the St Kilda game, gets stuck in Melbourne because they played in the late game, so effectively have a five-day break coming into Collingwood.

“If the AFL Players’ Association actually gets involved in something like this and says, ‘These are our players and these turnarounds are too short given the travel involved, how about we juggle the schedule so there’s a bit more common sense involved’, that would go a long way to helping the WA clubs.

“Would a game sold by a Melbourne club to bring them over here and play in Perth help? Yeah, any fewer trips certainly does help WA teams.

“But some common sense would help too.”

This weekend West Coast hosts St Kilda at Optus Stadium in the club’s sixth game at the venue this season while Fremantle plays Melbourne in the Alice Springs.

West Coast Eagles Fremantle

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