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Footy codes clash over dates
The West Australian

The State Government is again on a collision course with the AFL over an international rugby fixture at Patersons Stadium in September.

It involves a clash that could hamper the finals campaign of West Coast or Fremantle for a second successive year.

Despite strongly worded requests to Premier Colin Barnett from AFL chairman Mike Fitzpatrick and chief executive Andrew Demetriou last year not to repeat the clash, the Wallabies and Argentina are booked to play at the ground on September 14 - the weekend of the AFL semi-finals.

With the Eagles and Dockers favoured to play finals, they may face a similar problem to last year when West Coast lost a day of recovery before their 13-point loss to Collingwood at the MCG.

The Eagles' qualifying final the week before had to be played on Sunday instead of Saturday, when the Wallabies played South Africa.

The AFL is seething over the new clash but a spokesman said yesterday the issue was yet to be scheduled for official discussion.

In a briefing in October, AFL deputy chief executive Gillon McLachlan told _The West Australian _there had been "pretty clear dialogue" with the WA Government.

"It's clear we wouldn't expect to have the situation that occurred this year happen again," he said.

AFL officials wanted the rugby Test to be at nib Stadium or on Sunday September 15 with both the Wallabies and Argentina having byes before their next matches.

The fact the Eagles or Dockers would be denied training at Patersons Stadium in the 48 hours before the Wallabies Test has provoked more anger. It means their final training before a semifinal would be away from their home ground.

The AFL and rugby also have a clash with the season-opening western derby at Patersons Stadium on March 23 being on the same night Western Force play their first match of the season at nib Stadium.

Australian Rugby Union media and government relations manager Karl Schubert would not comment on a potential venue shift.

He said the ARU was in constant dialogue with Eventscorp over "logistics" and was committed to three Tests in WA in three years.

WAFC chairman Frank Cooper said an "overarching" agreement with the AFL implied priority fixturing for September finals.

But an agreement for financing works at Patersons Stadium meant the Government was also entitled to fixture up to four international games there each year.

A spokesman for Tourism Minister Kim Hames was confident all parties would work together to get the best outcome for both codes.