Geelong coach Chris Scott is still hopeful a reduced capacity crowd will be allowed at GMHBA Stadium for the blockbuster AFL clash with the Western Bulldogs.
The league on Monday announced the third-versus-second showdown will go ahead as planned on Friday night despite a Victorian government decision that no fans will be permitted to attend.
The government’s ruling on crowds at all matches in Victoria this week saw the AFL shift the North Melbourne-Brisbane and Hawthorn-Essendon matches from Melbourne to Tasmania, where fans are allowed.
The Cats were given the option of taking their Bulldogs encounter interstate, but knocked it back.
Scott said he was hopeful the state government will reverse its crowd call on the GMHBA Stadium match.
“I don’t want to make a political statement here, but the regional areas are a long way away from the nearest COVID case in metropolitan Melbourne,” Scott told Fox Footy.
“It would be very disappointing if we can’t get some sort of advance on the current thinking at the moment with no crowds.
“I think it’s logical that we should at least get some people from the regional areas into the ground on Friday night.
“But if we have to play with no crowds again, it won’t be the worst thing we’ve dealt with over the last 18 months.
“We’ll still put on a good show for the people watching it on TV.”
Geelong’s decision to keep their game at GMHBA Stadium comes after they had to abide by strict protocols laid out for them by the South Australian government last week.
The Cats were kept away from the public and spent hours waiting around at Adelaide Oval pre-match, but overcame the hurdles to register a stirring win over fellow flag contenders Port Adelaide.
“(We’re) not underselling what an arduous task it was,” Scott said.
“We’ll all look back on this period of the COVID environment and reminisce on the strange times, but even in the strange times it was a significant challenge.
“We’re really proud of the way our players in particular just got on with the job.
“They were trying times. I hope that not too many teams need to go through that process again.”
Scott confirmed Geelong players and staff are currently not allowed to travel to Melbourne under an agreed protocol with the Queensland state government through the AFL.
It will see the Cats allowed to fly to Queensland for their clash with the Brisbane in round 15.