Have your say on the battle for Sydney's west.
Has Sydney's love affair with AFL come to an end?
On Saturday night, the Swans play North Melbourne in the Elimination Final at ANZ Stadium and alarmingly, by close of business on Thursday only 16,033 tickets had been sold.
The Swans had originally hoped to attract around 50,000 fans to the ground but it would appear as though that number will have to be reassessed. At capacity, ANZ Stadium can seat 81,500 football fans.
Swans coach Paul Roos told Fairfax newspapers that the Elimination Final was a great opportunity to promote the game ahead of the AFL’s push into Western Sydney in 2012 but thought in this case, the AFL had missed the boat.
"If I was running the AFL and you wanted a second team in Sydney, you'd probably be doing as much as you could to make sure as many people turned up, and whether that's giving out free tickets out in Blacktown or whatever, I would have thought you would do everything you possibly could to have 60,000 people there. Now, whether that's giving away 20,000 tickets, so be it," he said.
The battle for the hearts and minds of Sydney's west has developed into arm wrestle between the old guard of rugby league and AFL, where participation rates for the latter have steadily increased for 15 years.
On Saturday night, two of the NRL’s final round games will be played within a 40km radius of ANZ Stadium, with the Parramatta Eels playing the New Zealand Warriors at Parramatta Stadium and the Penrith Panthers up against the Manly Sea Eagles at CUA Stadium at Penrith.
If the AFL wanted a true illustration of where western Sydney's loyalties lie, they may be disappointed.
The Panthers traditionally have a strong walk-up rate on game day but have so far sold around 1,200 tickets which according the media manager Andrew Farrell was unusual. Farrell told WWOS that if the rain stays away, the Penrith club was expecting a crowd of 12,000 – 14,000 people.
The Eels were unable to respond in time for this article.
The AFL claims that its marketing budget for this weekend has been spent entirely on advertising the Sydney match with the other games being played in the AFL dominated states, Victoria and South Australia.
WWOS spoke to the AFL's spokesman Patrick Keane and he was unsure as to why ticket sales for Saturday night were so slow.
"Maybe Swans fans are a bit pessimistic on how they'll go this season?" He mused.
One thing Keane was sure of however, was that the two rugby league matches had no bearing on the low numbers that had already secured tickets.
"It's Sydney's last game in New South Wales for the year… The AFL has averaged crowds of 35,000 in NSW this year so far so rugby league is not the problem," Keane said.
Both the AFL and the Swans will be hoping that there is a late rush at the ticket offices.
Will this be the Swans last game of the season?
Why do you think sales are slow for Swans tickets?
What would you rather go and watch?