Cats star would make ultimate home final sacrifice

1 month ago 9
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Geelong superstar Patrick Dangerfield believes crowds are so crucial to the "soul" of a game that he'd prefer to play a qualifying final at an interstate venue with fans over an empty Kardinia Park.

That's despite Geelong's persistent pleas to the AFL in recent years to have their home finals staged at Kardinia Park instead of the MCG.

While the AFL is yet to confirm its stance on home-ground advantage for this year's finals series, the possibility of the Cats playing a qualifying final at Kardinia Park is still alive.

As Geelong prepare to meet Melbourne at Kardinia Park on Saturday, in a clash set to determine this year's minor premiers, Dangerfield says he'd prefer to play a qualifying final in front of fans in Queensland, South Australia or Tasmania, as opposed to running out in front of no one at home.

"I strongly believe if you earn the right to host a game on your home deck you should have that opportunity," Dangerfield said on SEN.

"But there is no soul to a game in front of no one.

"The feeling of running out in front of no crowd and trying to be up for the moment – this might sound ridiculous and maybe it's different in finals, but it's hard to get yourself up for a game where there's just no atmosphere.

Geelong superstar Patrick Dangerfield. (Getty)

"The atmosphere comes from the people watching, the passion that they show. And when they're not there, when our fans aren't there, it disappears. And it's hard to stay engaged in the game.

"It may sound ridiculous, but it's true.

"It doesn't invoke any emotion during the game.

"Your teammate kicks a great goal and there's silence and you just walk back to the middle; you restart and away you go.

"It just doesn't have that incredible ecstasy and elation that you feel from playing in front of fans that ride every bump with you.

"I think we'd be doing a disservice if we went down that path (of playing in front of no crowd)."

Dangerfield, however, agreed with an argument put forward by North Melbourne great David King.

The two-time premiership Kangaroo says clubs win home-ground advantages in finals through the hard work they put in during the regular season.

Geelong ace Patrick Dangerfield. (Getty)

"I agree with 'Kingy'; that's why you play rounds 1-22, to give yourself the best opportunity," Dangerfield.

"What do your supporters want? They want you to win a grand final. How you do that? Don't care. Win a grand final."

Although biased by his own admission, former Adelaide Crow Dangerfield said he'd prefer to play a qualifying final with fans at Adelaide Oval, rather than anywhere in Queensland or Tasmania.

"It's an incredible place to play footy," Dangerfield said of Adelaide Oval.

"I do feel there's a special place in football's heart that is Adelaide Oval."

Fans watch on during Port Adelaide's clash with Carlton at Adelaide Oval last Saturday. (Getty)

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