The Magpies say their fans are keen to see players like Matt Scharenberg in curtain-raiser games when they return from injury
CURTAIN-raisers before AFL games could be back on the agenda next season in a bid to improve match-day experience for fans.
Collingwood has asked for its VFL team to play some games leading up to its AFL matches at the MCG, while Carlton has made a similar request for its affiliate the Northern Blues to play at Etihad Stadium.
Some non-Victorian clubs have also mooted the idea, according to a Fairfax Media report.
AFL football operations manager Mark Evans said the League was willing to explore the return of curtain-raisers, but admitted there were a range of issues to consider.
"It's something we are happy to have a look at, but it will be dependent on a range of factors, such as the state of the turf and the view of the venue operators," Evans said.
The clubs' request to play curtain-raisers is reportedly part of their response to the League's request for ideas to improve match-day experience.
A two-day summit involving all 18 clubs to discuss such initiatives has been scheduled for later this month.
Geelong and Footscray played a VFL curtain-raiser prior to the Cats' senior clash against the Western Bulldogs at Simonds Stadium in round 16 last season – the first such game at the ground in two years.
Richmond also hosted VFL games at Punt Road last season prior to bouncedown for the Tigers' AFL side at the MCG.
Collingwood CEO Gary Pert said Magpies' fans top request to improve match-day entertainment was to bring back curtain-raisers and he said positive talks were underway.
"We are in discussions with the AFL, VFL and MCG about the curtain-raisers, and they have all been really good about it," Pert said.
"We all understand this pre-game experience and how important that is, and we have done research with our supporters and the No.1 thing they have said to us is they want to watch VFL games before the senior games.
"They want to see the star players coming back from injury or the young players emerging, and they will get there early to watch it.
"It wouldn't be like the old days where the reserves finish and almost slap hands with the seniors as one team comes off and the other runs on, but it might finish 40 minutes or so beforehand."
"But if there is a break in between, we have a huge number of fans saying we would be there early anyway, and we have a range of other things we are looking at for pre-match entertainment in that period."