The West

Perth heat in AFL s too-hard basket
Fremantle's game with Essendon began with the temperature in the low 30s. Pic: Getty Images

In the wake of another hot day at Patersons Stadium on Sunday, AFL football operations manager Mark Evans has conceded the league struggles to fixture games in Perth at the start of the season.

He indicated the AFL was unlikely to stop scheduling early-season afternoon matches in Perth.

Fremantle's win over Essendon followed the scorching conditions when West Coast crushed the Western Bulldogs in round one. The Eagles' March 23 game started at 4.40pm, but Sunday's match was a 2.40pm start.

Evans said the league had anticipated a cool breeze arriving midway through Sunday.

"It's very hard early on in the year with games in Perth," Evans said.

"Normally in the afternoon you'd expect the Fremantle Doctor to start blowing and cooling the place down, or at least having it a bit more comfortable.

"But we recognise it was 33 or 34 (degrees) at the start of the game. It dropped by a few degrees by the time the game ended.

"But it was a tougher environment to play in.

"Clubs are usually very good at managing the heat load for the players and the way they use them on and off the bench and providing them cooling facilities.

"But it's a difficult part of the fixture at this time of year."

Fremantle used their full allocation of 120 interchanges and Essendon had 117 rotations.

The Bombers had a tough day because star Brendon Goddard was injured early in the match and struggled to run before being substituted out during the second term.

It was a frustrating weekend for fixturing issues. Saturday's match between Greater Western Sydney and the Western Bulldogs in Canberra was played at a venue affected by a soft surface.

Evans said StarTrack Oval was safe to play on, but not the right standard. "I think there's a difference between safe to play and ideal to play," he said.

The AFL yesterday unveiled the trial guernseys which will be worn this round when the players' names will appear on their backs, above the number.

The West Australian

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