But even if Geelong finished first at the end of the home-and-away season, the AFL are highly likely to force the Cats to play their home final at the MCG or even Marvel, with the league’s position that you can’t lock supporters out.
Geelong CEO Brian Cook told The Age the club’s stance hadn’t changed and they were preparing to go back to AFL House to argue their point.
“We’ve been approaching the AFL about this for four or five years and we will again,” Cook said.
“We don’t think it’s fair.
“We think if we earn the right to host a final it should be down here. Full stop.”
Cook confirmed he believed the AFL’s position will be to have the Cats host a final at the MCG unless they were to play an interstate side.
There are five non-Victorian clubs inside the top eight, with reigning premiers West Coast sitting 10th.
The only final in which Geelong have been allowed to play at Kardinia Park was in 2013, when they hosted Fremantle in a qualifying final in front of 32, 458 and lost by 15 points.
A rare fixturing situation, in which the other three finals that weekend were played at the MCG, gave the AFL the option to allow Geelong a home final.
“Our aim is to play as many home games down here as possible,” Cook told The Age.
“Now that may be idealistic but it’s our position and if you earn the right to play a home final then you should play it at home.”
The Cats have played three games – against Melbourne, Greater Western and West Coast – at GMHBA Stadium this year, averaging crowds of 28,000.
The AFL and Geelong have a history of butting heads when it comes to home-ground advantage, and it’s not isolated only to September.
Midway through 2017, the AFL held a meeting where it discussed the possibility of moving Geelong’s round 21 clash with Richmond from Kardinia Park – then known as Simonds Stadium – to the MCG.
The meeting took place when league officials began to realise the Cats and Tigers could finish in the top four and holding the match at a small venue could lock out tens of thousands.
The Cats dug their heels in and the AFL’s hands were tied, but the situation will be very different when discussing finals.
The AFL takes all the revenue at the gate for finals and usually makes in the vicinity of $20 million from ticket sales alone across the finals.
Allowing Geelong to host a final at a venue with a capacity in the mid 30,000s represents a significant financial risk, particularly when they have the MCG and Marvel at its disposal.
The AFL did not want to comment on Tuesday.
Sam McClure won the Clinton Grybas rising star award at the AFL media association awards in 2015.