Saints propose `Battle of the Bay' against Cats

Tuesday, April 22

ST KILDA has created a ``Battle of the Bay'' campaign to generate interest in its clash with Geelong on Sunday.

Saints sales and marketing manager Russell Morris developed the concept to celebrate the spirit of Anzac Day, and hoped it would become an established fixture on the AFL calendar. Morris said yesterday clubs were regularly building games around themes, and the blockbuster between Essendon and Collingwood on Anzac Day showed how well it could work.

``While we want to get people to the game, we also want to pay due respect to the Anzac Day spirit, and this is one way we can do that,'' he said.

``We want to honour their commitment and it's about maintaining that historical tradition as more of our war veterans pass on.''

Geelong chief executive Brian Cook said the concept had merit and the club was happy to back the idea.

``It makes a lot of sense when you are trying to find unique ways to promote games,'' he said.

Morris said he hoped to involve club legends Neil Roberts from the Saints and Geelong 1963 premiership coach Bob Davis in the lead-up to the game at Telstra Dome.

``They would have played with guys who fought in the war, so there's a real connection with the day,'' he said.

If the concept was successful, Morris hoped the Cats could host their 2004 encounter at Skilled Stadium with the teams possibly vying for a trophy.

Cook said the club would be looking at its fixture options in June with a number of issues to be discussed at board level.

Former state MP and ardent Geelong fan Ian Cover has suggested moving the Cats' Easter clash from Saturday to Monday next year to draw a larger crowd.

He said people were more likely to attend a game on the Monday after enjoying the Easter break rather than interrupting it on the Saturday.

It would also draw people who were on their way home to Melbourne after the break.

Cook said he would discuss the matter with the board, but was unsure if the move would prove worthwhile.

``I don't know if the Easter long weekend would bring more people to a game on Sunday. It's something we would need to look at,'' he said.

``You might get a few more people along, but it could have drawbacks.''