West Coast will wear its white clash jumper against Richmond despite being the home team. Photo: Sebastian CostanzoWest Coast has urged its fans to voice their discontent to the AFL, claiming the league has forced the club to wear its predominantly white alternate jumper in Friday night’s clash against Richmond at Patersons Stadium, despite being the home team.
The AFL told Fairfax Media on Thursday the Eagles had chosen to don their third-choice strip after being asked whether they would prefer to wear their predominantly royal blue away jumper or the white strip.
The club denies that version of events.
“No, we didn’t have a choice,” said West Coast communications manager Gary Stocks. “We aren’t happy with the current situation.”
Richmond will wear its traditional guernsey – black with a yellow sash – in the clash.
The unusual step of asking the home team to wear an alternate guernsey took place after last year’s night game between the sides. In that match, the Eagles wore their home strip consisting of navy, white and yellow panels with stylised eagle on the front, while the Tigers wore their traditional jumper.
The similarity between the jumpers led to confusion for many watching the game, and the AFL wanted to avoid a repeat this year.
The AFL website’s own match report said after the clash in 2013: “Unless you could recognise a particular player in this match, it was nearly impossible to work out whether it was an Eagle or a Tiger who had gathered the ball and emerged from a pack.”
Richmond’s alternate jumper is unsuitable for matches against the Eagles because of its similarities.
West Coast fan Nathan responded angrily to the news his side would be wearing white. “This is appalling and a disgrace by the club’s administration for kowtowing to it!” he said on Twitter.
Another Eagles supporter tweeted: “That’s outrageous! Teams like Richmond should be FORCED to have a proper clash guernsey!”
An AFL spokesman said: “If we believe that there’s a clash between the primary guernseys of the clubs, and in this case there is one, normally the home club would have the right to its guernsey. In this case, Richmond’s alternate guernsey is still a clash, in our view.”
Stocks urged West Coast supporters to make their voices heard.
“Clearly unhappy fans. We know that and agree! Abusive messages won’t get it done. The club did not make the call on this! #workingonit,” he tweeted.
“I reiterate we hear you and we will fix it. Need people power to vent to AFL. #goeagles”
A Richmond spokesperson said the club was merely adhering to the AFL’s instructions – via a memo at the start of the week – after being informed its players should wear their home guernsey.
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