<
>

AFL semi-finals look set for small crowds

play
Ward: Giants' Griffen or Johnson to replace Cameron (1:08)

GWS Giants' Callan Ward believes Jeremy Cameron's season-ending hamstring injury opens the door for some of the Giants' more experienced campaigners. (1:08)

The AFL needs Geelong fans to head up the highway en masse for their MCG semi-final against Sydney.

After a boom opening round of finals crowds, the league is staring at a bust for this weekend's two semi-finals.

And the Cats fans are the big variable.

Geelong host Sydney at the MCG on Friday night and GWS will play West Coast on Saturday evening at Spotless Stadium.

Geelong supporters were notable in their absence for Friday night's blockbuster qualifying final against Richmond.

The MCG clash attracted a crowd of 95,000 and Tigers coach Damien Hardwick noted after their win that it felt like two thirds of the fans were cheering for Richmond.

The real percentage could well have been even higher.

Once again, the Cats will "host" their final at the MCG, rather than the redeveloped Simonds Stadium and its capacity of about 36,000.

There was no way last Friday's game would be played anywhere but the MCG, especially given it was the only final in Victoria.

But Geelong have more of a case for a Simond Stadium game this time.

Only 30,833 fans attended their round-21 loss to the Swans in Geelong.

When the Swans beat Geelong in last year's MCG preliminary final, it attracted a crowd of 71,772.

That was the lowest MCG preliminary final attendance since Hawthorn hosted Adelaide four years earlier.

Last weekend, the AFL could boast that the SCG crowd of 46,323 for Sydney's elimination final win over Essendon dwarfed the NRL finals attendances.

On the same night, only 15,408 attended the Manly-Penrith clash next door at Allianz Stadium.

It should be rugby league's turn to crow this Saturday.

A total of 15,751 fans turned up for the Giants' round-22 win over the Eagles at Spotless Stadium.

Outside of their match against Sydney, that was the biggest home crowd for GWS this season.