A BUMPER crowd is tipped to flow into Cazalys Stadium today to watch the AFL premiership-winning Western Bulldogs tackle the Gold Coast Suns.
About 8000 tickets have been sold and an expected strong walk-up showing has organisers bracing for one of the strongest crowds in years.
Redlynch-based Bulldogs’ tragic Gavin Ham said watching the top grade in the Far North was a great experience.
“We don’t get to see it that much up here. When you’ve got your own team coming to town, it is the best thing,” the 48-year-old said.
“Here it is more like a really good country footy game because you’ve got the hill and the rowdy crowd. You are running into everyone.”
The 2016 Cairns AFL fixture attracted 8509 people through the gates, down from the previous years’ crowds of 9449 and 9749.
The strongest AFL crowd at the stadium was 10,961 in 2012 when the Richmond Tigers played the Gold Coast Suns.
Western Bulldogs ruckman Jordan Roughead said the club “love being up in Cairns”.
“We are in the fourth year and we have had some good results in the past so hopefully we can do the same on Saturday,” he said. “It is great to see lots of local fans here and a number have made the trip up from Victoria too.”
AFL Cairns event manager Melissa Dunstan said ticket sales were on par with last year’s fixture.
The organisers have received reports of tickets being sold by a third party, which is not condoned.
Cairns Regional Council division 7 councillor Max O’Halloran, who played 13 times for the red, white and blue in the ’70s, said it was an honour to host the Footscray club. He was part of a horde of Bulldogs supporters who went to Cazalys yesterday to get photos with the team’s 2016 AFL Premiership cup.
“You feel so proud to be there and the ground looked the way it did,” he said.
“A lot of those boys actually playing come from grassroots themselves. To get back to those sort of things in far-flung communities must give them goosebumps.
“To think they have won a premiership and they can still give back to grassroots footy.
“It is good economically for us. That is what the whole idea was, to generate some night stays and it looks as though it is well supported.”
Western Bulldogs v
Gold Coast Suns
Today, starts at 4.35pm
Gates open at 2pm.
Curtain raiser: North Queensland v South Queensland rep match.
Tickets still available at www.ticketdirect.com.au
General admission prices:
Adult $26 Child $9
Family Package $60
Free buses run between the Lake St Bus terminal and Cazalys Stadium. No parking on site. Organisers urge spectators to park in the CBD.