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AFL 2011 NAB Cup Rd 02 - Geelong v Western Bulldogs

Some big crowds are expected for round one

Fans will need to be patient and arrive earlier than usual

FANS attending this weekend's games at the MCG and Etihad Stadium are advised to arrive early, with bag checks and wanding to take place at every gate.

As was the case last season, there will be tight security measures in place for patrons wanting to take bags into the grounds.

The MCC is estimating crowds of more than 70,000 expected for Thursday night's Carlton-Richmond clash, 65,000 for Friday night's Collingwood-Western Bulldogs game and 80,000 for Saturday night's Essendon-Hawthorn blockbuster.

"We want to ensure everyone is inside the stadium before the first bounce, but these entry processes take time," said MCC CEO Stephen Gough.

"With such large crowds expected, fans will need to be patient and arrive earlier than usual, or risk missing out on the action."

Express lanes will be available for spectators without bags, with the MCC encouraging people to avoid bringing them unless necessary "in order to streamline their entry".

Etihad Stadium is predicting a crowd of 35-40,000 for Saturday's St Kilda-Melbourne twilight match, and around 30,000 for Sunday's North Melbourne versus West Coast clash.

Bag checks will again take place at gates around the ground, and fans are urged to pre-purchase their tickets to help with faster entry.