AFL world left fuming over 'embarrassing' scenes: 'Horrible look'

·Sports Editor
·4-min read
Dustin Martin, pictured here in action during Richmond's win over Port Adelaide.
Just 21,000 fans were in attendance for Richmond's win over Port Adelaide. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

AFL fans and commentators were left scratching their heads on Thursday night after just 21,000 fans rocked up to the MCG to watch Richmond's clash with Port Adelaide.

Liam Baker proved the difference in Richmond's 12-point win, kicking a goal in the last quarter when he was moved into attack and racking up a team-high 26 disposals.

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But one of the major talking points out of the game was the disappointing attendance figure in the first Thursday night game since round four.

There were only 21,757 fans in attendance at the 100,000 seat stadium, making for some dour scenes.

It was Richmond's lowest home crowd at the MCG since 2010, not including the Covid-impacted 2020 and 2021 seasons.

The Tigers have close to 100,000 members, but the majority chose not to venture out amid chilly conditions in Melbourne on Thursday night.

Speaking on SEN radio on Friday, Port Adelaide great Kane Cornes said: “Really poor crowd, Thursday night footy, cold but didn’t look like it was wet.

“It looks horrible. It’s a great TV spectacle, but it’s back to the pandemic. It looks horrible when no one’s there.

“7:20 on a Thursday night, the biggest club in the land and 21,000 went. I don’t think we can gloss over that.”

Port Adelaide players, pictured here before their clash against Richmond at the MCG.
Port Adelaide players look on before their clash against Richmond at the MCG. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

North Melbourne great David King blamed the 'freezing' conditions and said the TV product allows fans to stay home.

"It’s a big difference. You can’t take kids to the footy in that temperature. So you’re losing families," he said.

“Clearly [the AFL] would be disappointed with those numbers.

“21,000 is the lowest for a decade, but I do think it is set up for TV.

“People have seen the other option. Over the last couple of years, people have enjoyed the comfort of being at home, you get great access these days on both Seven and Fox.

“It’s very difficult to take your family in those temperatures.”

Others described the crowd as 'embarrassing' and 'terrible'.

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Melbourne Demons star Christian Petracca sparked controversy last week when he also blamed the weather for lacklustre crowd numbers.

“We need a crowd first to actually get ourselves going, no one comes,” he said.

“It’s Saturday arvo, Saturday night. We played 4.30pm last week against Freo - that’s not a great time for a Saturday night game.

“It’s just too cold at the moment, I don’t think people want to come. I find our age demographic for our fans is still quite older.”

Dylan Grimes, pictured here being chaired off the ground by Richmond teammates after his 200th AFL game.
Dylan Grimes is chaired off the ground by Richmond teammates after his 200th AFL game. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Veteran reporter Catherine Wilson labelled it a "pathetic" excuse.

“That game, there was 15,000 Sydney fans there according to people I know at the game," she said on Footy Classified.

"So Melbourne supporters didn’t even turn up, nor did they turn up for the top-of-the-table clash the week before, 29,000.

“These are terribly disappointing crowds, the premiership rematch in Round 1, the AFL was talking 70-75,000 - it couldn’t even get 60,000.

“Why are the Melbourne supporters not turning up? For Christian Petracca to have to blame the weather, it didn’t worry the Carlton and Collingwood fans the previous week."

with AAP

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