The Eagles seem to have a sizeable expat community in Melbourne but if you think about travelling WA fans...How many West Coast fans will be present at the G on Friday. 20K?
17,500 Eagle members plus corporates effectively brings the airline business to a standstill in grand final week...
The Semi Final and Preliminary Final weekends, not so much...
The 2016 and 2018 are the yeats I presume you are referring too?It's an unfortunate byproduct of the finals system we have.
The host teams for the semi finals are the ones who lost the previous week and whose premiership hopes suffered huge blows. It's not conducive to attracting big crowds. Furthermore, any travelling fans would probably have to travel the following week as well if they make it through. and it's obviously more attractive to travel to the Prelim than this week. This will be an issue for WC fans this week, I'm sure.
Of course, if the teams who won the Elimination Finals are lucky enough to get a semi final which is also in their home state it negates both the above factors. The last two times this happened we ended up with 90k and 88k for those semi finals. The unfortunate thing is that semi finals between two teams from the same state doesn't happen very often. We've only had 9 out of a possible 40 under this system.
The Dogs and Dees had huge sentimental support in both of those finals series too, that cannot be underestimated in finals attendances