Main content

MCG boss disappointed to miss out on round one game

Now that's a BIG screen! Check out the brand new MCG scoreboard
Steven Morris of the Tigers and Nick Duigan of the Blues in action during the 2013 1st Elimination Final match between the Richmond Tigers and the Carlton Blues at the MCG, Melbourne on September 08, 2013. (Photo: Sean Garnsworthy/AFL Media)
The rematch of Carlton and Richmond's stunning elimination final looks set to have to wait until round two, 2014

THE CEO of the Melbourne Cricket Ground is encouraging cricket and football administrators to sort out their differences over use of the famous stadium.

For the first time in recent memory, the MCG won't host a game in the opening round of the AFL season.

The League has scrapped the old NAB Cup format in favour of a shorter schedule, and the start of the home and away season has been brought forward to accommodate two byes.  

It means the MCG is still locked away for cricket fixtures, in case Victoria reaches the Sheffield Shield final.

"Let's hope so, because I think if we can get a solution for both it'd be ideal, [and get the] best use of the stadium we can," MCC chief executive Stephen Gough said on Tuesday. 

Gough admitted there is some disappointment that the ground won't have a round one fixture, but said it's something the two codes had to sort out between themselves.

"The AFL and cricket have got their separate agreements with the use of the ground," Gough said. 

"We'll miss round one, but hopefully we'll open up with some big games here."

It's expected the traditional Richmond-Carlton fixture will be played in round two, as the season's first MCG match.

The last time the MCG failed to host an opening round contest was in 2006, due to Melbourne hosting the Commonwealth Games.

The AFL will release the full 2014 fixture next week.

The MCG is in the process of upgrading its two main scoreboards in a $5 million project.

The new mega-screens are around two and a half times the size of the old ones, and will be the biggest in Australia.

"It's like a jigsaw puzzle, it's gone up very quickly and remarkably without any trouble," Gough said.

"The technology's moved - we regard ourselves as the premier venue in the country and it's time that we upgraded and I think the fans will notice a massive difference," he said.

Twitter: @MattThompsonAFL