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Fremantle Dockers face small crowd, cash hit from taking on Gold Coast game

Fremantle are bracing for a financial hit over their decision to buy Gold Coast’s home game and stage it at Optus Stadium on Saturday.
The Dockers bought the match off the AFL given Gold Coast’s home ground, Metricon Stadium, has Commonwealth Games commitments and isn’t available for football until June.
Fremantle must also pay to hire Optus Stadium.
It is believed Fremantle have forked out about $1.2 million.
Tickets for the match aren’t included in Fremantle memberships and discounted tickets have been offered to bolster crowd numbers.
The Dockers initially gave members the chance to buy their 2018 reserved seat, while the cheapest adult seats are only $25. Adult tickets include free entry for two children.
Almost 19,000 tickets had been sold for the game yesterday and Fremantle chief executive Steve Rosich anticipated a crowd of about 30,000.
Last month’s NRL double-header attracted 38,824. It is the only Optus Stadium event yet to attract 40,000 people.
Rosich said the club didn’t buy the game expecting to make a profit.
“We’re anticipating not to make any money from this event,” Rosich said.
“That’s not the purpose of this additional game. The purpose of the additional game was to bring an extra game to WA and an extra game for our Fremantle supporters to watch at home.
“We’re not anticipating making a profit at all from the venture. It’s likely to be a small loss on the event, but it wasn’t a money-making opportunity.”
The Dockers and Optus Stadium management will wait until later in the week before determining how to manage the stadium with a smaller crowd.
An Optus Stadium spokesperson said there would be a strong emphasis on providing fans with the best experience.
The match will also be Fremantle’s Starlight Purple Haze game and the club is keen to build on the $1.1 million previously raised for the Starlight Foundation.
Gold Coast finished 17th last season after they won only five games, but are a rejuvenated outfit under first-year coach Stuart Dew.
Fremantle recovered from a 50-point loss to Port Adelaide in round one to beat Essendon by 16 points at Optus Stadium on Saturday night.
Midfielder Bradley Hill said avoiding a flight to Queensland and playing another game in Perth had been welcomed by the players.
“It’s a bonus. We get to stay home and get to train,” he said.

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