A-League final decider set to draw big crowd

February 21, 2008
By Philip Henderson

Football Federation Australia's decision to shift the A-League grand final to Sydney appears set to be vindicated with a crowd of nearly 40,000 expected on Sunday.

More than 30,000 tickets have been sold for the derby clash between Central Coast and Newcastle, with supporters from both clubs expected to travel in large numbers to the Sydney Football Stadium.

While a sellout at the 45,000-capacity SFS would seem unlikely, a figure between 35,000 and 40,000 would be significant for a match in Sydney featuring two regional rivals.

It would also go a long way to justifying the FFA's decision to deny both the Jets and the Mariners the chance to host the decider because their stadia were deemed too small.

Bluetongue Stadium - the home ground of the Central Coast who as winners of the major semi-final earned the right to host the grand final - has a capacity of just over 20,000, while EnergyAustralia Stadium in Newcastle can hold 26,000.

Newcastle said they will have more than 55 supporter buses making the trip down the F3, with the Mariners' fan numbers expected to be just as strong.

With a one-day cricket international between Australia and India also at the SCG that night, the Moore Park precinct is set to host some 80,000 people on Sunday.

Of more concern, though, could be the pitch, with three rugby league trials to be played on the recently re-laid SFS surface on Saturday night.