AFL News: Pies’ radical plan to move home game to the Gold Coast, Dogs optimistic on Naughton’s knee injury

Collingwood is reportedly discussing with the AFL the possibility of moving a home game to the Gold Coast in 2025.

One of the AFL’s richest and most powerful clubs, the Magpies currently host nine home games at the MCG, with the AFL mandating they play their other two home games at Marvel Stadium.

According to Nine’s Tom Morris, the Pies are planning to shift one of those two Marvel Stadium matches against a Victorian team, likely St Kilda, North Melbourne or the Western Bulldogs, to People First Stadium on the Gold Coast, as part of a two-week ‘mini-hub’ across the June/July school holiday period in which they would also play the Suns in an away game.

Other Victorian clubs have regularly sold home games interstate in recent years, with North Melbourne playing several matches at Blundstone Arena in Hobart, while Richmond and the Western Bulldogs have both played home games at Cairns’ Cazalys Stadium.

However, it would be a first for the Magpies.

“Unlike examples like Melbourne, who’ve moved interstate for financial reasons, my understanding is this is seen as a way to grow the supporter base across the country,” Morris reported on 9 News Melbourne.

“Under this plan they would spend two weeks on the Gold Coast, play against the Suns and host another Victorian team.

“The Pies have told me tonight conversations are very preliminary and they would look after Victorian members if this happened – how they’d do that, I’m not too sure.”

‘Need to pull their heads in’: Cornes blasts umpires over crucial 50m penalty in Dogs’ loss

Kane Cornes has slammed the performance of the umpires during the Western Bulldogs’ loss to Sydney on Thursday night, taking aim in particular at a controversial late 50m penalty that gifted the Swans the game-sealing goal.

Bulldog Laitham Vandermeer was penalised after arriving milliseconds late to attempt to spoil Hayden McLean’s mark on the edge of 50, with the ball jarring free from his hands.

The penalty turned a long-range shot into a certain goal, with McLean taken to the goal line and extending the Swans’ lead to 14 points with just minutes remaining, effectively sealing the win.

Former Hawk Campbell Brown claimed the call was ‘the worst umpiring decision of the year’, while speaking on SEN Breakfast, Cornes was equally scathing of the overly harsh penalty.

He also took umbrage with Swans gun Chad Warner conceding a 50m penalty of his own to Vandermeer in the second quarter for umpiring dissent after pointing to the big screen to dispute a high contact free kick.

“What are we doing?” Cornes asked.

“The 50-metre penalty is such a harsh penalty that it should be reserved for the most undisciplined acts on the field or for a deliberate breaking of the rules. The one that we saw late last night for Hayden McLean, that is not a 50-metre penalty.

“Don’t insert yourselves into the game and pay a 50-metre penalty for that.

“The free kick against Chad Warner where he points at the scoreboard… players are instructed if you point at the scoreboard, it’s a 50-metre penalty, but it shouldn’t be. He’s having a laugh, it’s a shocking free kick that’s been paid, it wasn’t demonstrative at all.

“How we can allow that to be a 50-metre penalty is a joke. Umpire with some common sense, surely.

“No one is sitting here saying if you didn’t pay any of those three 50-metre penalties that you’d made the wrong call. It should not be having an influence on the result, like it did last night. It’s a real frustration for me.

“The umpires need to pull their heads in a little bit.”

Dogs optimistic Naughton has avoided ACL injury

The Western Bulldogs may have dodged an ACL bullet after key forward Aaron Naughton was hurt in their AFL loss to Sydney.

While Naughton will miss at least a few weeks, the Bulldogs hope scans on Friday will show he hasn’t suffered a season-ending anterior cruciate ligament rupture in his right knee.

The Bulldogs were brave against the top side on Thursday night at Marvel Stadium, rallying from five goals down early in the last quarter to only lose 102-88.

That was despite losing Anthony Scott and Ed Richards to concussion, as well as Naughton’s knee injury.

Scott and Richards will definitely miss next Friday night’s game against Collingwood under the 12-day concussion protocol.

Coach Luke Beveridge was cautiously optimistic about Naughton.

“The indications are that hopefully it’s not as extreme as an (ACL), but you never can tell … fingers crossed,” he said.

Scott’s first AFL game this season lasted just three minutes before he was forced off because of a head clash.

Richards was the Bulldogs’ best player in the first half and his concussion early in the third term was a big blow.

Like teammate Tom Liberatore, who could return in the next couple of weeks from his latest concussion, Scott and Richards have a history of head knocks.

Beveridge praised his team for their fight against the ladder-leading Swans, while lamenting their inability to nail more chances.

The Bulldogs kicked an inaccurate 12.16 to Sydney’s 16.6 after spraying 8.22 in last week’s win over GWS.

“There was great integrity in what the boys did, obviously against the top side. It’s just a shame we had a bit of bad luck.

“You never lose and feel like a winner, but in my books, our players are winners tonight.

“System and game style looked pretty good. We just made some monumental blues and missed some monumental chances to give ourselves any real chance to win.

“So what do you take out of that? We’ll be encouraged by that, but we need to do something with it as well.”

Beveridge did not bite when asked about the critical and contentious 50m penalty paid against Latham Vandermeer.

It gifted the goal to Hayden McLean late in the last term that sealed the Sydney win.

“What can you say? I will always make sure I don’t comment on the umpiring,” a frustrated Beveridge said post-match.

“Whether it’s there or not, I don’t really know. Ultimately the decision was made and we have to live with it.”

Beveridge praised young players Rhylee West, Riley Garcia and Ryley Sanders, who were dynamic in the midfield when the Bulldogs needed a final-term lift.

The Bulldogs coach referred to Melbourne independent broadcasting to describe the trio.

“It was like a Triple R radio station in there …(plus) the experienced one in Adam Treloar, holding his end up.

“They did an enormous job.”

(AAP)



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