The Northern Territory news Fri 30 Aug 2013
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www.ntnews.com.au Friday, August 30, 2013. NT NEWS. 23 P U B : NTNE-WS-DA-TE:30-AGE:23 CO-LO-R: C-M Y-K Geelong not fit for finals say Dockers Geelongs Harry Taylor, left, and Fremantles Michael Walters do battle at Simonds Stadium in Round 14. The two teams could play a final there next week Picture: GETTY IMAGES FREMANTLE yesterday blasted the possibility of having to travel to Geelong to play a qualifying final. The Dockers say the capacity and facilities of the MCG and Etihad Stadium were superior to those at Simonds Stadium, and more deserving of hosting the game. Geelong is a chance to host its first AFL final in more than 115 years, as the AFL looks to schedule around a packed MCG in the first week of September. Simonds Stadium is on the radar to host the Cats qualifying final if they finish second and are drawn to play Fremantle next weekend. With Richmond and Collingwood locked in to host elimination finals, and Haw thorn and Geelong likely to finish top two, the AFL faces having to schedule four finals in Victoria next weekend. AFL fixturing boss Simon Lethlean yesterday said a Simonds Stadium final was a possibility. The Cats would certainly be asking that question. Theyve got every right to ask for that, now that its a venue with lights and its a venue with a capacity above 30,000 people, he told RSN radio. In the end its more to do with the other three games that would be at the MCG and the timings around those . . . and also about Freos travel patterns and when they should be playing, whether it should be night or day. A Geelong Football Club spokesman said the Cats would help the AFL in any way to facilitate a final at Simonds Stadium. Its clear to us that the AFL are considering all the options, which they should, its a credit that they are considering all the options, and trying to find out logistically if it can happen, he said. Fremantle is against playing at Simonds Stadium. It is inconceivable that a venue such as Simonds Stadium with a capacity of 33,500 . . . would be considered for a game that is likely to attract 40,000 to 50,000 people, including several thousand people from Perth who would travel to Melbourne to see the game, Dockers president Steve Harris said. Hawks in flap over Franklin LANCE Franklin says hes feeling pressure from Hawthorn to decide his future as the star forward continues to insist he wont make a decision until the end of the AFL season. The in-demand Hawk, eligible for free agency at the end of this year, has put contract talks on hold as Greater Western Sydney hover with an offer believed to be in the vicinity of $10-12 million. Franklin maintained yesterday his preferred option was to stay at Hawthorn at this stage. But he knows his unwillingness to make that commitment a firm one, wasnt sitting comfortably with Hawthorn. Theres been a little bit of pressure and expectation from the football club, in terms of signing, Franklin said in Sydney yesterday. But Ive always had that mindset of wanting to do it at the end of the season. The Hawks star was in Sydney for the naming of the International Rules squad. Swans to shine without stars SYDNEYS perennial saviour Adam Goodes appears unlikely to rescue the reigning premiers in September, but the dual Brownlow medallist believes the AFL club has the depth to contend with the best. Goodes yesterday expressed optimism he would return in the finals, but the fact is the 33-year-old hasnt played since June 13 and is still unable to run freely. Swans coach John Longmire said last week things need to go well pretty quickly for Goodes to play again this season, meaning its unlikely he will be fit in time for the finals. Incredibly, almost half of the Swans 2012 premiership team wont be taking the field against Hawthorn tonight at ANZ Stadium. It doesnt bode well for the finals, but Goodes believes the current Sydney team can knock off premiership favourites Hawthorn, Geelong and Fremantle. If Hawthorn win, they will host Sydney in week one of the finals.
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