The West

The days of Friday night WAFL matches appear to be over after South Fremantle confirmed they were considering a return to traditional Saturday afternoon fixtures for all home games.

Competition from AFL games and Fremantle Oval's mediocre lighting are set to end the Bulldogs' two-decade commitment to night football at the port.

South are likely to shift their remaining Friday night matches against Subiaco and Peel to the following day after crowds at both Fremantle Oval night games this season fell below 2000.

The Perth match in round two drew an official crowd of 1528 - though it appeared bigger than that - while last Friday's game against East Perth had just 1242 spectators.

Both games clashed with televised AFL matches involving premiers Hawthorn.

"We are going to have to look at it," president Haydn Raitt said.

"Friday night football has been very successful but we have to weigh up whether we keep going with it or move back to day games."

Forty Friday night matches have been played at Fremantle Oval in the 18 years since the first in 1997 when South beat derby rivals East Fremantle in front of 5328 spectators.

Crowds averaged 2542 a game during the high point of night football in 2007 but numbers have slumped over the past two years to coincide with AFL matches being televised live into Perth.

Lighting at Fremantle Oval is also poor with players, coaches, spectators and media members complaining frequently that it is difficult to see across the ground.

_The West Australian _reported in 2002 that West Perth's nail-biting one-point win at the ground was marred by the poor lighting.

The lights were installed in 1992 after then general manager Brian Ciccotosto paid $25,000 for 100 lights from the defunct Richmond Raceway.

He promptly sold 50 of them for $30,000 to give the club a significant asset and windfall profit in one deal.

East Perth confirmed they would not fixture night matches at Medibank Stadium, preferring to hold all games on Saturday afternoons.

Medibank Stadium co-tenants Subiaco have three Saturday twilight matches starting at 4.05pm this season after finding their members and supporters prefer them to Friday night games.

South have won 26 of the 40 Friday night games at Fremantle Oval but have lost their past six outings.

The Bulldogs attempted to play their first night game in 1992 but were prevented by an embargo that prohibited games under lights being played anywhere but the WACA Ground.

" … we have to weigh up whether we keep going with it or move back to day games.""South Fremantle president *Haydn Raitt *

The West Australian

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