Playing the Brisbane Lions at the Gabba is the toughest assignment in Aussie Rules Footy. Every footy fan knows that home teams have an advantage, and this is very much the case in Brisbane. The Gabba is a graveyard for visiting AFL teams, a place to be avoided at all costs. Unless you are the Melbourne Demons.
Yesterday the Dee’s travelled to the Gabba to play Brisbane in their ‘home’ game. And it was little surprise that the Lions 'took the chocolates' at the end of the game. Played at Melbourne’s true home ground, the MCG, there is a real chance that the result might have been different.
Brisbane ‘bought’ the game from Melbourne for about $250 000 when the Demons were desperate for a dollar. And under the deal, the Lions own the Melbourne home game until next year, and probably beyond. That means that the Lions will continue to have twelve home game advantages a year. That’s one, and in some cases two, more than most Victorian clubs.
And what’s worse is that the AFL lets them do it! So much for a level playing field. Why is it that the rich interstate teams (in particular Brisbane and Sydney) can buy themselves a better draw? Not only do they get an extra game at home, but also more often than not they buy themselves a win.
I know Melbourne agreed to the deal, and was happy to take the cash, but I just don’t understand why it is allowed. Say a homeground advantage is worth roughly four goals, what would happen if one AFL club offered another team $300 000 for a four goal head start? There would be outrage, that's what. All hell would break loose. It would be called match fixing.
The reality is that yesterday the goal posts were moved for Melbourne, some 1700km north, and not
surprising we got thumped. I just hope we don’t miss the finals because of one single loss.