Will West Coast Eagles fans brave wet weather for North Melbourne game to prevent record-low Optus Stadium crowd?

Samantha RogersThe West Australian
VideoAFL: The Sydney Swans have dominated the West Coast Eagles in a completely one-sided matchup in Round 16.

West Coast would have seen sunshine poking through the clouds when the AFL fixture saw them taking on North Melbourne on a Monday night, but mother nature had other plans.

The Eagles will face the bottom-of-the-ladder Kangaroos after back-to-back losses against the Sydney Swans and the Western Bulldogs, the latter of which was played in front of no crowd at Optus Stadium.

In order to recoup some of the financial loss suffered in that game, the AFL pencilled in the clash to coincide with the easing of restrictions in WA and the return of a full capacity crowd allowed in Perth.

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But with up to 50mm of rain expected to fall across the city today, it will quite literally rain on West Coast’s parade.

West Coast CEO Trevor Nisbett said it was “crucial” for the club’s finances to get fans through the gates but conceded the weather would keep some punters at home.

“Hopefully they will with these conditions but they’ll need to, obviously, have their raincoats and be rugged up,” he told TAB Radio.

“It’s a really important thing to have our people there, it would be in any case but certainly from a financial point of view, it is crucial.”

Optus Stadium CEO Mike McKenna said they were expecting a crowd of high 30,000s to low 40,000s for the 5.40pm fixture.

If that expected figure is reflected by tonight’s crowd, it could be the lowest attendance recorded for a West Coast home game at Optus Stadium without restrictions.

The current record low at Optus Stadium is 41,883.
Camera IconThe current record low at Optus Stadium is 41,883. Credit: Paul Kane/via AFL Photos

The current lowest attendance stands at 41883, recorded in this year’s clash with Essendon in round 11.

McKenna said that the weather would play a major factor in how many people came through the turnstiles, but was much more optimistic about how Optus Stadium’s turf would handle the rain.

He revealed it was designed so the water drains straight through the surface and doesn’t sit on top, meaning the players won’t be swimming for the ball under the downpour.

“That’s one of the great things about the design of the stadium,” he told 6PR.

“The ball will be wet but the ground will be dry.”

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