AFL Gather Round 2024: Teams unhappy with Port Adelaide and Adelaide’s scheduling advantage, reaction, news, updates

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AFL clubs are said to be unhappy with an unfair advantage Port Adelaide and Adelaide receive from Gather Round, allegedly claiming it creates an “imbalance” in the scheduling.

Speaking on Fox Footy’s Midweek Tackle, Herald Sun journalist Sam Landsberger addressed the accusations.

“Some clubs I’ve spoken to today, they’re upset that Gather Round creates yet another imbalance in what is an already heavily compromised fixture,” Landsberger said.

“They don’t think it’s fair that Adelaide and Port Adelaide, they get an extra home because their state government tipped in $80 million over three years to host this extravaganza.”

The only place to watch every game of Gather Round is on Fox Footy via Foxtel or Kayo Sports available on Hubbl

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Any criticism from Victorian clubs – with the exception of Geelong – on a Gather Round disadvantage is quite ironic, given the regular advantage they have over other teams in the league when playing ‘away’ games against fellow Melbourne-based opposition.

Carlton, Collingwood and Essendon will play 17 of their 23 matches this season in Melbourne, which towers over the 13 home games that Adelaide and Port Adelaide will play in 2024; two of which are against themselves in Showdowns.

Melbourne, Richmond and St Kilda all play 15 matches in Australia’s sporting capital this season, with the Tigers and Saints also playing a match an hour down the road in Geelong.

The Western Bulldogs have 14 matches across Melbourne, plus two home matches in Ballarat and an away game in Geelong.

Hawthorn and North Melbourne may look the hardest done on paper with 12 matches in Melbourne, however both clubs willingly play ‘home’ games in Tasmania each year.

The Kangaroos will play five matches across Tasmania along with a trip to Geelong, while the Hawks will play just the four ‘home’ matches in the Apple Isle.

The only reasonable disadvantage would be to clubs outside of Victoria and South Australia, who do play one less home game than the Crows and Power.

After Landsberger finished breaking down the initial views of clubs, he went on to say that the seasons of Carlton and the Western Bulldogs – who played the South Australian sides in Gather Round last year – were heavily impacted by the claimed disadvantage.

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“Last year, both local sides won and there were ramifications – Carlton, the wheels fell off when they lost to Adelaide in the first Gather Round game last year,” Landsberger declared.

“And the Western Bulldogs, they lost to Port Adelaide; missed finals by a game so that game could’ve cost them their season.”

The Herald Sun journalist then touched on a radical proposal put forward from some clubs, which involves the Crows and Power playing each other once more than any other clubs would clash during the season.

“There is a left-field solution that’s being put forward – they want the AFL to seriously consider staging a third Showdown in next year’s edition of Gather Round,” Landsberger said.

“That would ensure that all nine games are played on neutral grounds, instead of having seven games on neutral grounds and two in hostile conditions.”

Co-panellists Scotty Gullan and Jay Clark quickly interjected with their concerns over the proposal.

“Three? Seriously, that can’t happen – can it?” questioned Gullan.

“Surely they (the clubs who play the local teams) just have to suck it up a little bit – we saw Melbourne last weekend roll Port Adelaide, and you hear Simon Goodwin saying ‘This can galvanise our club,” Clark added.

“Surely in a 23-game fixture, it’s not going to be perfect, it’s not going to be symmetrical unless you have an 18-round fixture where you play everyone once.”

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Landsberger added that the clubs who play either South Australian side in Gather Round are already compensated, posing more questions over the wants of the unnamed AFL clubs.

“Clubs last year before the first Gather Round, they were told that if you are one of the clubs that cops the ‘short straw’, you’ll basically get one fewer interstate game for that season.

“Take it to the bank, they won’t be playing Adelaide or Port Adelaide in 2025 or 2026 in Gather Round,” Landsberger clarified.

“Well, what aren’t they happy about?!” Clark exclaimed.

Gather Round kicks off on Thursday night with the winless Adelaide Crows up against an in-form Melbourne Demons at the Adelaide Oval.

Originally published as ‘They don’t think it’s fair’: Rival clubs cry foul of Gather Rd advantage

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