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THE Western Bulldogs hope their historic Ballarat fixture this season persuades the state government to almost double Eureka Stadiumís capacity.

In Round 22 the Dogs host Port Adelaide in what looms as a September-shaping clash with both clubs targeting the top four.
But thousands of the clubís approximated 43,000 members could be locked out due to an expected capacity of 11,000 when the stadiumís $15 million upgrade is completed in June.

The renovation will shrink the playing surface to mirror Etihad Stadium and add a 5000-seat grandstand.
Bulldogs chief executive Gary Kent wants Eureka Stadium to grow to about 20,000, similar to Tasmaniaís Hobart and Launceston venues.
The Dogs are exploring the possibility of hosting two Ballarat matches for premiership points next season plus an AFL Womenís fixture.



Kent said the club made a strategic decision to ďwin over the town of BallaratĒ given the region is home to 100,000 people and remains an untapped market.
But Kent said the extra Ballarat game in 2018 might not come at the expense of the Dogsí annual Cairns fixture against Gold Coast.

That would drop the Dogs to only eight home matches at Etihad Stadium.

Hawthorn plays four home games in Launceston each season but struggles to fill the venue.
ďWeíve got to make this a real success and convince the state government to go to the next stage, so itís closer to the capacity at Launceston and Hobart in future years,Ē Kent told the Herald Sun.

ďWe need to make (Round 22) a great success and show what demand there is in Ballarat for a venue of that size.Ē

Kent said the allocation of tickets wasnít finalised, but urged Dogs fans to secure seats quickly.


ďItís only 11,000 capacity and out of that weíre allocating tourism packages, because part of the whole arrangement with us, the state government and the city of Ballarat is to promote the city.

ďWeíve got over 43,000 members, so they wonít all be coming.
ďPeople are used to not buying their tickets and seats until quite close to the game. Thatís one of the things weíre trying to get the message out to people to take up these offers.

ďWhen general tickets go on sale thereís going to be a pretty big rush.Ē


The Dogs are selling $140 three-game Ballarat memberships and $75 add-ons to residents in the region.

Power business and marketing manager Matthew Richardson said their fans were already making inquiries.
ďOur members and supporters like when we play in Victoria and we get a good number travelling to games,Ē Richardson said.


Bob Murphy will lead the Dogs in Ballarat. Picture: AAP Images

ďWe also have several thousand Victorian members who have access with their memberships. The Ďawayí club always gets an allocation for their members and we are sure this game will be no different.Ē

AFL fixturing boss Travis Auld said it was too early to predict demand for the Round 22 clash.

ďAt the moment (Eureka Stadium) is considered to be a good size, certainly to launch games into Ballarat,Ē Auld said.
ďThe facility is going to be outstanding as a regional ground. Itíll have everything you need to host a home-and-away game.
ďOver time weíll have to assess whether thereís opportunity to further expand the ground.Ē