West Coast Eagles beat Collingwood by 27 points in front of biggest AFL crowd since COVID-19 pandemic



Under fire Collingwood were left to count the cost on multiple fronts after a second-quarter masterclass from Jack Darling helped guide West Coast to a 27-point AFL victory at Perth Stadium.

Darling was unstoppable during the second quarter, booting three goals from strong marks and another major after catching speedy defender Isaac Quaynor holding the ball.

It helped propel West Coast to a 12-point lead by half-time, and they put Collingwood to the sword in the third quarter to run away with the 16.7 (103) to 11.10 (76) win in front of 54,159 fans — the biggest at an AFL game since the 2019 grand final, before the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Darling finished with 5.1 from 15 disposals, while Oscar Allen was also critical with five goals and four contested marks in arguably his best game at AFL level.

Midfielder Dom Sheed iced the game late in the third quarter with three goals in the space of two minutes.

The Magpies led by 15 points after an impressive opening term on Friday night, but the loss of star duo Jordan De Goey and Jeremy Howe to injury proved costly.

De Goey was subbed out of the game after copping an accidental hip to the face from Eagles midfielder Tim Kelly in the first quarter.

Blood streamed out of De Goey’s nose as he was assisted off the ground, with the extent of the facial injuries yet to be revealed.

Howe appears set for a sizeable stint on the sidelines after injuring his right hamstring in a marking contest during the second term.

The 30-year-old immediately grabbed on the upper part of his right hamstring after landing, and he could barely bend his leg as he was helped off the ground.

Buckley rolled the dice by sending defender Darcy Moore into attack, and the All-Australian finished with three goals and eight marks from nine disposals.

Moore had four disposals and a goal in the opening term, but his next possession didn’t come until the 10-minute mark of the fourth quarter when he booted his second goal.

The injuries to De Goey and Howe come at a bad time for the Magpies, who are now 1-4 and are also without star midfielder Taylor Adams for at least another nine weeks.

West Coast suffered their own major blow during the week when Liam Ryan was cut down by a stress reaction in his shin that could sideline him for up to eight weeks.

Defender Tom Cole suffered a horrific clash of heads with teammate Josh Rotham late in Friday’s match and will be assessed for concussion.

Collingwood bucked the odds to beat West Coast by one point in last year’s elimination final in Perth, and their spirited opening quarter would have given their fans optimism of a repeat result.

Ruckman Brodie Grundy drifted forward to boot two goals from two strong marks, while Moore added one himself to give the Magpies the momentum.

But the game turned dramatically from that point on courtesy of Darling’s second-quarter rampage.

And with Allen also plucking a series of strong grabs, Collingwood’s defence wilted.

The margin blew out to 41 points at the final change, with a three-goal fightback from Collingwood early in the last quarter proving too little, too late.

Ladder

AAP

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Neighbours star Meyne Wyatt addresses crowd at Sydney rally demanding justice for Aboriginal people


Former Neighbours star Meyne Wyatt has addressed large crowds at a protest demanding justice for Aboriginal people who have died in custody.

The national day of action comes days before April 15 – which marks 30 years since a Royal Commission handed down more than 330 recommendations into Aboriginal deaths in custody.

“Recommendation after recommendation being ignored completely,” Mr Wyatt chanted at large crowds outside Sydney’s Town Hall on Saturday afternoon.

“You sick of hearing about racism? I’m sick of f**king talking about it,” he yelled.

It comes as actors in the long-running soap Neighbours came forward with allegations of racism on the set of the iconic Australian show.

Aboriginal actor Shareena Clanton was the first actor to make detailed allegations of racism on the series earlier this week.

Production company Fremantle issued a statement in response to the claims.

Thousands of people across Australia attended protests demanding justice for Aboriginal people who have died in custody today.
Camera IconThousands of people across Australia attended protests demanding justice for Aboriginal people who have died in custody today. Credit: David Geraghty/News Corp Australia

“Neighbours strives to be a platform for diversity and inclusion on-screen and off-screen. Our quest is always to continue to grow and develop in this area and we acknowledge that this is an evolving process,” a spokesperson said.

Thousands gathered at meeting points in Alice Springs, Perth, Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne on Saturday afternoon.

About 1000 people listened to speeches at Parliament House on Spring Street in Melbourne, where federal Indigenous Greens Party senator Lydia Thorpe addressed the crowd.

“You say justice, we say murder,” she chanted to crowds before they then marched through the streets towards Flinders Street Station.

An Aboriginal flag flown at half mast in memory of Prince Phillip at Parliament House in Melbourne was condemned by some people in the large crowd and on social media.

One Twitter user quipped: “The Aboriginal flag being flown at half mast for Prince Philip while Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and allies rally to end Black deaths in custody is all you need to know about this country.”

The nationwide protests on Saturday followed the deaths of five Aboriginal people in custody since March this year.

Australians also took the streets then where Wurundjeri leaders led protests and mourned for Aboriginal lives lost in police custody.

The traditional custodians of the land also expressed solidarity with the US Black Lives Matter movement and the family of George Floyd, who suffocated on a Minneapolis street under the knee of a police officer.



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Has the MCG set a crowd record for the post-COVID world?


Last night 51,723 footy fans went to MCG to see Collingwood take on Carlton.

It’s one of the biggest crowds seen at any event in the post-COVID world — but is it a world record?

Stick with us, we’re going to dive into the wide world of stadiums to see if this claim stacks up.

It is a record… in the southern hemisphere

The first post-pandemic crowd record was set when Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium held a crowd of 49,155 for the State of Origin finale in November.

That record was beaten slightly at the AFL season opener on March 18, which drew a crowd of 49,218 to the MCG.

The huge crowd at the Richmond-Carlton match led to some claims that a world record had been set.

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But the record was quickly set straight, with sports fans pointing out the largest post-COVID crowd record was actually set in India.

The first two Twenty20 cricket matches between India and England at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad drew 67,200 and 66,352 people respectively, Indian media reported.

However, on this side of the equator, 49,218 was indeed the biggest crowd seen since COVID hit.

That record was beaten again at the MCG last night.

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Could anywhere else hold a bigger crowd?

Technically, yes.

With a capacity of 100,024 people, the MCG is one of the largest stadiums in the world, but there are bigger ones out there.

The first India v England Twenty20 set a record on March 12.(

Reuters: Danish Siddiqui

)

The largest sport stadium in the world, on paper, is the Rungrado 1st of May Stadium in North Korea.

The stadium has an official capacity of 150,000, but its estimated capacity of 114,000 — based on an unofficial count done in 2016 — places it in second place behind the Narendra Modi Stadium.

After an expansion completed in February 2020, the Narendra Modi Stadium can hold 132,000, according to Reuters.

There are also eight stadiums in the United States that can hold more people than the MCG, including the Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor (107,601), the Beaver Stadium in Pennsylvania (106,572) and the Ohio Stadium and in Columbus (102,780).

So these could break the post-COVID crowd record, right?

It’s possible, but it probably won’t happen any time soon.

The final three Twenty20 test matches between England and India didn’t have crowds due to coronavirus restrictions.

It’s difficult to find information about what goes on in North Korea’s sporting world, but it does not appear to have held a record-breaking event since COVID hit.

It also seems unlikely that any stadiums in the United States will be hitting 75 per cent capacity or more in the near future.

The MCG was limited to 50 per cent capacity until it was boosted to 75 per cent this week.

So when could the MCG break the world record?

So far, MCG ticket sales are fairly in line with pre-COVID numbers.

There’s a chance some games in coming weeks could draw more than 67,200 people.

A number of Richmond players celebrate together. Behind them, yellow and black flags and banners are waving
49,218 fans turned up at the season opener.(

AAP: Daniel Pockett

)

But the match most likely to break records is the Anzac Day match, which is usually one of the biggest games of the season.

In 2019, 92,241 people went to the Essendon-Collingwood showdown on April 25.

A sold-out game under the current COVID restrictions would see 75,018 sports fans in the stands.

The Anzac Day Eve match is generally not as big, but based on its 2019 crowd of 72,704, it could also become a post-COVID record holder.

For 24 hours at least.

Speaking of big crowds — what’s the largest at the MCG?

Fun fact: some of the largest crowds ever seen at the MCG weren’t there for sport.

More than 130,000 people flocked to the MCG to see American evangelist Billy Graham in 1959.

A black and white image of the massive crowds that came to see Billy Graham at the MCG in 1959.
Billy Graham drew the biggest MCG crowd on record.(

ABC News

)

Billy Graham at the MCG
About 130,000 went to see Billy Graham, but some estimates go as high as 143,750.(

News Video

)

And an estimated 120,000 turned up for the final ceremony of the Eucharistic Congress in 1973.

When it comes to football, the largest crowds seen in a single day were 121,696 at the 1970 VFL Carlton v Collingwood grand final, 118,192 at the 1971 St Kilda v Hawthorn grand final, and 100,022 at the 2018 West Coast Eagles v Collingwood showdown.

However, that final one is the largest crowd held in the MCG’s current configuration.

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Announcement on AFL crowd capacity in Melbourne to be made on Tuesday


An announcement on increased crowd capacities at Melbourne AFL matches will be made on Tuesday, according to Sportsday’s Sam McClure.

Crowds of up to 50 per cent capacity were allowed to attend matches in Melbourne during the opening round of the season, with the first two games of the year attracting a combined 95,269 fans at the MCG.

After a successful opening weekend, speculation has mounted about how many more fans will be let in for the coming rounds.

McClure believes government and health officials are trying to explore whether it’s possible to increase capacity in Melbourne ahead of Thursday night’s blockbuster between Carlton and Collingwood.

“There will be an announcement tomorrow on crowd increases,” he said on Sportsday.

“The health authorities and government are willing to do what they can to try and bring the crowd increases from this week – we could go from 50 per cent to up to 75 per cent.

“My information is we’ll have a crowd increase from 50 per cent at the latest by round 3.”

Essendon great Matthew Lloyd welcomed the upcoming increase in crowds and was hoping fans weren’t locked on from the opening clash of Round 2.

“Carlton versus Collingwood is on Thursday night and there should be 75,000 (people there),” he said.

“It’s just locking out 25,000 people (if it doesn’t happen).”





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League in talks to increase footy crowd numbers ahead of round two


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Games between Carlton and Collingwood have drawn an average crowd of more than 62,000 people since 2015, not counting last season’s encounter which was played at the Gabba due to COVID-19 restrictions.

But if current crowd caps are kept in place for Thursday, the maximum allowed in the ground will be 50,000.

Geelong, too, would be hoping crowd increases would come into effect for this weekend, given they play their first home game of the season at GMHBA Stadium against Brisbane on Friday night.

Home games for the Cats are almost always sold out, with a recently renovated Kardinia Park now able to house 36,000. That would be reduced to just 18,000 unless crowd limits are eased before the weekend.

“Our job is to adhere to the protocols and the plans in place on the basis that we are here to play the long game and when those big games come up in subsequent rounds we can get to those bigger crowds,” Auld said.

Crowds returned to football on the weekend, with more than 250,000 fans attending the opening round after largely being locked out during the early stages of last season. Round one saw an average total TV audience of 4.53 million.

Friday night football TV audiences were up 16 per cent in Melbourne compared to the 2019 season average, while Saturday night’s Essendon v Hawthorn match was up seven per cent compared to an average Saturday night game in 2019.

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Fox Sports continue with crowd noise effects despite post-lockdown return of fans


Dogs, Tigers to pool resources?

The Canterbury Bulldogs and Wests Tigers have begun discussions about sharing a new stadium in Liverpool, with the NRL lodging plans with the NSW government for a 17,500-seat venue in south-west Sydney.

Bulldogs chairman John Khoury has spoken to ARLC chairman Peter V’landys about selling the block of land they own at Liverpool, but there are concerns about the size of the site.

The new stadium in Victoria being built for A-League club Western United that the new stadium in Liverpool is being modelled on.

The stadium design is modelled on A-League club Western United’s new venue, which will have a capacity of about 15,000 when completed.

Liverpool City Council has no appetite to offer up nearby land, which currently houses the Whitlam Leisure Centre, recently putting an offer to the Bulldogs to acquire the land they own.

The council offered up a vacant block close to the new Badgerys Creek Airport, but the NRL and Bulldogs do not want to venture away from infrastructure currently in place in Liverpool.

In light of the state government’s decision to ditch plans to refurbish ANZ Stadium, the NRL has submitted a proposal for three or four “mini Bankwest Stadiums” around Sydney.

The NRL’s priority is to build a new venue at Liverpool, but it is still waiting for government to assess the business case.

The Tigers have indicated to the Bulldogs that they would be happy to share a new stadium in Liverpool, however have also been made aware of plans from Campbelltown Council to upgrade the suburban venue.

Ponga gets close to Wallabies

There has been a little bit of chatter around Kalyn Ponga’s future of late, with suggestions the Wallabies are circling after learning that his contract allowed him to walk out on Newcastle at the end of 2022 in time for the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

The Herald spoke to a number of well-placed rugby union sources and discovered the murmurs stem from Ponga’s appearance at a Wallabies training session in Cessnock at the end of last year, followed by an appearance at the Test against Argentina in Newcastle.

Kalyn Ponga has missed the start to the season due to a shoulder injury.

Kalyn Ponga has missed the start to the season due to a shoulder injury.Credit:Getty

We’ve since been assured Ponga was on official Knights duty when he lobbed in Cessnock, joining teammate Mitchell Pearce and coach Adam O’Brien as the two organisations traded ideas.

It wouldn’t have been the first time Rugby Australia have made a play for Ponga following revelations former Wallabies coach Michael Cheika contacted the Knights fullback in 2018. The Herald was told Rugby Australia now have “no interest” in Ponga.

Not discounting the fact Ponga’s ambition to play rugby union is fuelled by his desire to wear an All Blacks jumper, Rugby Australia would struggle financially to come close to Ponga’s $1.1 million a year deal at the Knights – which would make him the second-highest paid Wallabies player behind skipper Michael Hooper.

Addin Fonua-Blake was sent off for abusing referee Grant Atkins last year.

Addin Fonua-Blake was sent off for abusing referee Grant Atkins last year.Credit:NRL.com

No hard feelings

Warriors prop Addin Fonua-Blake and referee Grant Atkins have history. No one will forget Fonua-Blake’s brain fade at Brookvale last year when he called one of the game’s leading officials “a f—ing retard”.

The pair were on the same field on Friday night when the Warriors took on Newcastle on the Central Coast, but they have since buried the hatchet. Turns out Fonua-Blake apologised last August when Atkins was booked on the Sea Eagles charter flight back from the Sunshine Coast after a game against the Melbourne Storm.

Unhappy Holmes

Cowboys coach Todd Payten has a huge decision to make with Valentine Holmes. There are whispers he is unhappy about being left on the wing and rival clubs are keeping an eye on the situation. Don’t be surprised to see a change this weekend.

Capewell cops Dogs abuse

It was brought to the attention to quite a few at Panthers that back-rower Kurt Capewell was the victim of some abuse from Canterbury fans in relation to his involvement in a sex tape eight years ago. No official complaints have been made.

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Xerri eyes ban boost

It’s expected Bronson Xerri’s forthcoming suspension will be backdated to the date of the test, not the day his positive result was announced by ASADA. The Cronulla centre, who is likely to be hit with a four-year suspension, was tested in November 2019 but was only banned from the sport in May last year.

His lawyers have proposed his suspension be backdated six months earlier, which would make him far more appealing to a club if he can start training in the preseason leading into the 2024 season and not half way through it. NRL Anti-Doping Tribunal chairman Ian Callinan, QC, who approved the backdating of Brent Naden’s suspension, is expected to hand down a decision as early as this week.

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Gai Waterhouse-Adrian Bott trained Entente wins Albury Gold Cup in front of a non sellout crowd | The Border Mail


news, local-news,

The crowds flocked back to the Albury Gold Cup on Friday, but the COVID-19 hangover was still lingering around with the smallest turnout since the inception of the half-day holiday more than 20 years ago. The marquee day consistently attracted crowds of more than 12,000 people up until the twin blows of the 2019 raceday washout and staging the cup with no crowd last year due to coronavirus. Attendance was capped at 9800, but the final attendance, which watched history created with leading Sydney trainer Gai Waterhouse winning her first Gold Cup with Entente, fell more than 1000 short of the allowable crowd despite a raceday rush for tickets. “It has been a tough couple of years for the race club and the community,” Albury Racing Club president Mark Cronin said. “But to see people back socialising, renewing old acquaintances, having a great time is just great. “It was an eerie feeling watching the cup being run last year and not seeing a soul on the course. “It was incredibly disappointing, particularly when the rug was pulled from underneath us only a few days before.” Quizzed on the non sellout, Mr Cronin said: “It says we’ve got to re-establish our brand. “People have had two years of an interrupted cup and it just might take two or three years to get it back to where we were. “You’ve got to go online and book your tickets. It is a change to the way you organise yourself to get to the races. “But I’m sure we will back with our crowds of 13, 14, 15 thousand in the not too distant future.” Waterhouse had won the Wagga Cup before, but never the Albury feature with Entente trained in partnership with Adrian Bott. Stable racing manager Neil Paine was also excited to see crowds back at the track.. “Gai and Adrian love supporting country racing,” he said. “To have the crowd yelling again for the last 100 metres was so exciting.” At the committee luncheon where member for Farrer MP Sussan Ley and member for Albury Justin Clancy were among the special guests, a special presentation was made to connections of last year’s Gold Cup winner Spunlago. Even though the actual 2020 cup didn’t make it to the event, former ARC secretary-manager and part-owner Peter Stubbs accepted the honour denied connections on the day last year due to COVID-19 Spunlago is trained by Stubb’s brother Ron on the Albury track and finished 10th in the race on Friday “It was an absolutely fantastic gesture by the club,” Mr Stubbs, who lives in Canberra, said. “It was disappointing you are not actually here, but you never lose the excitement of having won it. “I watch the video regularly and it has created a camaraderie among the owners.” The club’s two-year agreement for the half-day holiday with the NSW government is up for renewal. Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:

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Push to boost crowd numbers


The state opposition is pushing the government to allow 3000 spectators at regional sporting events.

This Easter is tipped to be one of the busiest on record for tourism on the Bellarine Peninsula and many holidaymakers are expected to see a game of local football in the town they are holidaying in.

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Volvo Joins Anti-Combustion Engine Crowd, Will Be All-Electric By 2030


If Volvo was a TV show, we’d start with a tense voice saying “Previously on…” and note that Volvo has been pushing towards electrification for a while now. Specifically, Volvo Cars has previously said that 50 percent of its sales would be fully electric by 2025. This history shouldn’t take anything away from today’s announcement, but it’s worth putting the news into context.

Which brings us to this new “season” of this show, otherwise known as today’s announcement: Volvo will be eliminating combustion engines by 2030, including all hybrid models, and shifting entirely to all-electric powertrain over the next decade. In a video announcing the shift, Volvo looked back at its history of promoting safety but then took a turn with this line on the screen: “Climate change is the ultimate safety test. That’s why we’re changing to all-electric.”

“There is no long­term future for cars with an internal combustion engine,” said Henrik Green, Volvo’s chief technology officer, in a statement. “We are firmly committed to becoming an electric ­only car maker and the transition should happen by 2030. It will allow us to meet the expectations of our customers and be a part of the solution when it comes to fighting climate change.”

Volvo chief executive Håkan Samuelsson added that this EV-only strategy will allow Volvo to remain successful and profitable. “We are fully focused on becoming a leader in the fast-growing premium electric segment,” he said.

As part of the big announcement, Volvo also took the wraps off of a new all-electric CUV today called the C40 Recharge. Full details are not yet available, but we do know that the C40 Recharge points at the direction future Volvos will go thanks to a new front end with pixel-technology headlights. The C40 Recharge will use the CMA vehicle platform and is the first Volvo model designed specifically to be an electric vehicle and the first to be completely free of leather­. The C40 Recharge’s powertrain will use two electric motors, one on each axle, and a 78kWh battery that will offer a range of around 260 miles. The good news if you just thought “is that all?” is that the range “is expected to improve over time via over-­the-­air software updates,” Volvo said.

Volvo will start building the C40 Recharge this fall in Ghent, Belgium, alongside the company’s first EV, the XC40 Recharge. In line with another big shift for the automaker, it will sell the C40 Recharge online only and is going to offer all of its future EVs soley through simplified online channels called “Care by Volvo,” an expansion of the subscription service with the same name. There will be no haggling – the price is the price – and the EVs will all come with “specially developed Recharge tires,” that are supposed to be safe all year round.

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MCG welcomes 50,000 fans to the stands as Victorian crowd capacities increase


The MCG will welcome the largest crowd capacity at a sporting event in Victoria since the coronavirus pandemic first hit last year when reigning premiers Richmond host Carlton for AFL’s season opener.

A total of 50,000 fans will fill the stands following the Victorian government’s decision to allow a 50 per cent crowd capacity at both the MCG and Docklands Stadium.

Three Community Series pre-season games will also allow fans to attend games from March 4.

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan said the announcement had provided a positive start to the season.

The majority of last season, including the grand final, was held outside Victoria, and McLachlan said it was about time fans had the chance to watch football again in Victoria.

“On behalf of the AFL, I would like to thank the Victorian state government, specifically Premier Daniel Andrews, Minister for Tourism, Sport and Major Events Martin Pakula and Minister for Health Martin Foley for working with us in allowing fans to get back to the footy,” McLachlan said.

“Footy fans in Victoria have been excited about getting back to matches and we have seen that with great numbers across the opening rounds of the AFLW season.

“We haven’t had footy crowds this big in Victoria since the match to support Bushfire Relief in February last year, so today’s announcement provides a big boost for our players and fans in the lead up to the season.

“Our team has been working extensively behind the scenes planning for multiple scenarios and all our venues will be ready to welcome fans back into the stands come next month.”

The AFL is still working to establish attendance numbers at Kardinia Park and Ballarat Stadium.

The Premier said fans being allowed in stadiums was an important step towards normality.

“This is great news as the AFL season is obviously starting quite soon and it will be something approaching normal, which is something Victorians have absolutely earned,” Andrews said.

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