AFL fans advised to arrive earlier

AFL fans are warned to arrive earlier for big matches at the MCG to allow for added security measures.

While the MCG has abandoned cricket’s ring of steel, the ground will continue to have beefed-up security.

All bags will be searched, as will any vehicles entering the underground car park.

Security staff will also be able to use electronic wands to check fans for metal objects.

MCG chief executive Stephen Gough said fans needed to allow more time, especially for blockbuster matches.

“If you take a game like Geelong and Hawthorn on Easter Monday, if 50,000 people arrive in the last half hour – whether we’re doing this (extra security) or not – there will always be a section of delay getting in,” Gough said.

“It’s a hard one to answer, because if you’re arriving five minutes before the bounce, you’re probably leaving yourself in dangerous territory.

“I’d always say, particularly for the big games … give yourself a good 10-15 minutes earlier than normal to make sure you do get in.”

The MCG and AFL looked at using the temporary cyclone fence that was trialled around the outside of the ground for major cricket fences during this summer.

But Gough said the AFL would attract bigger crowds than cricket matches.

“Their arrival patterns are vastly different – large crowds descending on the place in very short time before game time,” he said.

“We had some concerns about the robustness of the fence.

“We have some issues about if there was an emergency, have we got enough emergency gates to deal with the fence for crowds in excess of that 70 – the 80,000, even 90,000?”

Victorian police Assistant Commissioner Stephen Leane said they were comfortable with what had come out of the security review.

There will be more police and security staff outside the ground.

Leane said there was currently no direct terrorist threat against any AFL venue.

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan also backed the revised security measures.

“We have great confidence in where we’ve landed … we’re ready to go,” he said.

“It’s the right outcome for our supporters, with all priorities taken into account.”

McLachlan also said the AFL had reviewed security in the wake of last season.

There were several ugly incidents at last year’s Fremantle-Hawthorn preliminary final at Subiaco.

He said the AFL would now have an official liaising with security in the venue control centre at every game.

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