Pundits may question the surface at ANZ Stadium, but the ground has turned into a modern day AFL finals fortress for the Sydney Swans.
One glance at Sydney’s imposing AFL finals record at ANZ Stadium is enough to understand why the Swans don’t seem too fussed about playing their big September games there rather than at the SCG.
Going into Friday’s preliminary final against North Melbourne, Sydney boast a 7-1 finals record at the main 2000 Olympics venue.
They lost their first finals game there against Brisbane in 2003, but have vanquished all subsequent September visitors to the western Sydney ground.
Some pundits continue to push for the SCG to host finals, especially when ANZ Stadium’s surface has come under fire, as it did in the recent game against Richmond.
If Swans players have any complaints about the ground, they haven’t aired them publicly and have been models of diplomacy when quizzed about which venue they prefer.
“It (ANZ Stadium) has got no issues for us,” Swans co-captain Jarrad McVeigh said.
“We’ve got a really good record out there.
“The surface was fantastic (for the qualifying final) against Fremantle after a lot of rain in Sydney and we can’t wait to get out there.
“We’re used to it, we’ve played there 10 or so years. There’s no ‘we want to play here or there’.”
McVeigh is having another productive season for Sydney, averaging 24 disposals a game, though the classy midfielder isn’t particularly impressed.
“It hasn’t been too bad, probably not up to the standard I would have liked,” McVeigh said.
McVeigh played against his elder brother Mark during the latter’s time at Essendon and fellow Swan Kurt Tippett could line up directly on his younger sibling, North Melbourne defender Joel Tippett.
“He (Kurt) would be pretty happy maybe to get one over his little brother, it would be hard for his parents,” McVeigh said.
While Kurt Tippett has been outshone in the goal-kicking stakes by teammate Lance Franklin, McVeigh denied the former Crow forward-ruckman has anything to prove in the finals.
“I think we all want to play well, so there’s no added pressure on him,” McVeigh said.