Greater Western Sydney drew just over 6000 people to their big clash with the Western Bulldogs, in a figure that would be “alarming” for the AFL according to Nick Riewoldt.
The St Kilda great says he is “concerned” just 6208 people turned out to watch the highest-scoring contest of the season.
The game, a GWS home clash at Giants Stadium in Sydney, was the only AFL match held on Saturday night.
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“It is concerning for the AFL – a big rivalry game,” he said on Fox Footy’s On the Couch.
“If the Giants have a rival, it’s the Western Bulldogs.
“The crowd on the weekend was really disappointing.
“Just a tick over 6000 for what is a big club. They’re playing great footy at the moment the Giants under “Spike” McVeigh. They’re moving the footy, it was a shootout.
“One of the aesthetically best games of the year to watch.”
GWS are yet to draw a crowd of more than 9000 to a home game at Giants Stadium in 2022, averaging just 6008 fans per match this season.
“I was called on this today on radio,” Garry Lyon explained.
“If that was North Melbourne, we would be sitting here saying: ‘this is a club under pressure’.
“9000 was when we went off our head at North Melbourne.”
The Kangaroos drew 5114 fans to a home game in Tasmania against Port Adelaide in Round 9.
The Giants’ biggest home crowd came in Round 1 against crosstown rivals Sydney. They drew more than 25,000 fans – but that was played at Stadium Australia.
Since then, they drew 4,014 fans against Gold Coast, 5,057 fans against West Coast and 8,754 against Carlton, all at Giants Stadium.
The last time GWS drew a crowd of more than 10,000 to a home game at Giants Stadium was back in 2019 for the elimination final against the Western Bulldogs. On that occasion, more than 19,000 fans attended the game.
They were consistently drawing five-figure home crowds between the 2016 and 2019 seasons, peaking at over 21,000 for games against the Swans.
Crowd figures overall are down this year, though that is heavily impacted by the limits on attendance early in the season in Western Australia, with digital ticketing raised as a concern by fans as well.
“It’s concerning,” Riewoldt said.
“What’s the answer?” Lyon questioned.
“Investment in the game. They’ve got no alternative,” Riewoldt replied.
“Just keep the throttle down and keep trying to drive the game up.
“But that’s why it’s an alarming one because the Bulldogs and (Giants) have developed a really good rivalry in recent years.”
The low crowd figure comes after the AFL announced kids (aged between six and 15) could go to matches for free between rounds 14 and 17.