AFL Ground Sizes

India1
Old apartments and new skyscrapers

About this time last year I visited one of the most incredible, scary and bizarre places on earth. You may have heard of it, it’s a wonderful land called India. Yes, that’s right, India. Snake charmers, Hinduism, busy, dirty, cow worshipping India. Well that’s a bit stereotypical of me isn’t it? But in all honesty a lot of it is true. The curries were hot. Kids played cricket on every surface available. And every taxi driver I met was Indian.

The thing about India, is that the place is so huge – not geographically – but culturally. Citizens from the south act and speak completely differently than their northern brothers. In a lot of ways, this has seen the country develop at different speeds. Much like a small car with big wheels. Except however, the locals made it seem that this situation was incredibly normal.

Take Mumbai for example. When we flew into the city late at night, the place was a ghost-town. We hitched a ride with our large suitcases in the probably smallest oldest taxi we could’ve possible gotten. We sped through the dirty 5 lane motorpass to our hotel. A giant tower with every mod-con we could’ve asked for. Then we stepped outside, we saw the poverty, and we saw the crowds. Boy, there was a lot of people. Complete contrast to the night previous. We saw ancient temples and modern day technology in the same minute. We saw modern day office workers dodge cows on their way to work. It was truly a mixture of the old and the new.

Cow in Mumbai
Businessmen and cows

 

The AFL’s round 5 was also a mixture of old and new. We saw the traditional ANZAC Day Clash of Collingwood and Essendon. (See my ANZAC Day Clash infographic!) We also saw the tradition of ‘Richmond getting beaten by less than a goal’. We saw the two newest AFL clubs, Gold Coast and GWS battle it out. And we also witnessed the new technology of video review fail.

But probably most importantly, we saw the first ever game of AFL being played for premiership points outside of Australia. A festive crowd of 22,546 rocked up to the Wellington ground, Westpac Stadium, to see Sydney defeat St Kilda by 16 points. They shouldn’t be too disheartened though, the Saint’s played valiantly and their score of 9.9.63 was actually the 2nd-highest final score ever in an AFL game played for premiership points on international soil.

The ground itself was a disappointingly slippery though. Nicknamed ‘The Cake Tin‘ the ground’s poor drainage meant the eager fans were not able to see the clean, high-flying aerobatics adorning the promotional posters for this game.  The media had reported that the ground would suit Sydney’s game, that being similar to the SCG in length and width. Which got me thinking, what exactly were the sizes of the AFL’s grounds, and how do they differ?

Interestingly, there have been 43 grounds which have seen a VFL or AFL game being played for points. The most – of course – is the MCG. Having seen 2556  games in 113 years, it is the widest of all the grounds to host an AFL in 2013. However, I found it interesting to note that Waverly Park (formally VFL Park, which hosted Hawthorn and St Kilda games during the 1990’s) is wider by a solitary 1 metre, and also the longest ground by an extra 5 metres (compared to Subiaco at 175m long)

In my opinion, the argument for ground uniformity is a silly one. Whilst others will whine and complain that an extra few meters can give one team or another an unfair advantage, we need to value the uniqueness of each of the grounds and the teams that play there. That is what makes our game special. The fear of travelling to an away team’s fortress is still rich in the competition. And if we lost the originality of each ground, the character behind the stadiums would disappear, and our game would be a singular mundane experience irrelevant of where the game is being played.

Ground Sizes

There are many different sites reporting different ground dimensions, but I’ve taken the sizes you see in the graph from FreeBookieBets.com.au.

Whilst windy Wellington is possibly the furthest place you can get from busy Mumbai, the representation is not lost. The game is growing. Indeed, with the game becoming more popular with the youth in Mumbai, before too long the AFL might see itself having to dodge many more cows than they would’ve expected.

 

 

Centimeter perfect,

Cobba.

 

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About Jake "Cobba" Stevens

Jake "Cobba" Stevens is currently studying Sports Journalism at La Trobe Uni. One of the youngest 'old bloods' supporters in Melbourne, he can't decide if the crowd was louder at the 2005 or 2012 Grand Final.

Comments

  1. mickey randall says:

    Different sized grounds add interest just as they do for cricket and golf. Interesting comparison though. Nice work!

  2. Nice Work.

  3. Excellent graphic, Cobba. It’s really informative and gives a sense of what shapes are implied by those dimensions (although possibly not totally accurate eg. doesn’t Kardinia Park have famously deep pockets?)

  4. Cobba, I’m sitting on the couch, watching the footy and started to think about ground sizes.
    “I hope someone’s done a list and overlay of the various grounds”, I thought to myself.

    And so, here I am.

    Excellent work mate. And well written too.

    How’s the sports journo thing going?

  5. Need to update the dimensions for the SCG as it’s now 155.5m x 136m
    http://www.sydneycricketground.com.au/venues/field-information/scg-field/

  6. this is a good website

  7. QEO in Bendigo is longer than the G and wider.

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