The usually steady, dusty dribble of customers through the Eucla roadhouse, the last eastward-bound petrol pump in Western Australia, has been overrun by a stampede of West Coast Eagles supporters.
Too many West Coast fans are rolling through the remote WA settlement to count, according to roadhouse cook Dan Bridle.
“There are a fair few, I’d say 80 per cent would be Eagles supporters – all the cars and caravans are covered in Eagles flags,” Mr Bridle told AAP.
“We’re the only thing in Eucla. We’ve got the service station, a motel and restaurant.”
Scores of West Coast supporters have hit the road this week in a bid to avoid exorbitant flight prices to Melbourne, some still selling for between $2000-$3000 return.
Interstate AFL fans are not alone in the airline price hike, with NRL fans in Queensland faced with $1400 flights to see the Cowboys and Broncos grand final in Sydney.
The expensive Queensland flights prompted an angry tweet from federal MP and NRL fan Bob Katter.
“I’m outraged over flight prices to Sydney for grand final weekend, it’s taking advantage of north Queensland’s patriotism,” Mr Katter said.
WA Premier Colin Barnett made light of Mr Katter’s comments, pointing to the exorbitant prices West Coast fans are paying to see their team play in Melbourne this weekend.
“Good onya, Bob. If you think Queenslanders have got it tough, come to Perth and try booking a flight to the AFL grand final,” Mr Barnett told AAP.
WA Commerce Minister Michael Mischin appealed to the airlines to show goodwill and not take advantage of football fans.
“We operate in a free market economy where the forces of supply and demand generally determine prices and traders are free to set their own prices,” Mr Mischin said.