Wangaratta has a long term aim of hosting an AFL match for premiership points after successfully staging another pre-season match at the Norm Minns Oval on Sunday in which Collingwood downed reigning premier Richmond by 40 points.
The two AFL heavyweights, who are destined to push deep into September again this season, pulled an official crowd of 7164 people.
The crowd figure is second only to the pre-season opener between St Kilda and Hawthorn when 8167 people squeezed into the Saints former home ground, Moorabbin.
A later start in a Sunday timeslot could have been a contributing factor in the crowd being down on the last pre-season game played in Wangaratta when 7681 people watched Richmond thrash Essendon.
The match also was robbed of some star power due to the State-of-Origin match on Friday night when players of the calibre of Dustin Martin, Trent Cotchin, Jack Riewoldt, Scott Pendlebury, Brodie Grundy, Darcy Moore and Steele Sidebottom played.
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Wangaratta mayor Dean Rees said the match was another resounding success for the city and hoped one day it could join other regional centres including Ballarat and Cairns in hosting a match for premiership points.
"Myself and the ceo (Brendan McGrath) will be advocating with the AFL to continue these matches," he said.
"But if we can work to get something else here, like a match for premiership points, we will give it a go.
"Obviously it is a financial thing and costs money.
"We've got to have the right facility and that might need some regeneration of our grandstand, etc.
"We will also need some support from the federal government and another $5 to $10 million will help us out."
Victorian Senator and former federal sports minister Bridget McKenzie and her state National Party colleague Tim McCurdy were among the VIP guests at the match.
The big Norm Minns Oval crowd also paid tribute to Country Fire Authority volunteers and other emergency personnel before the match.
"I'm sure they were appreciative," Cr Rees said.
"They do some hard work, but a lot of it is thankless and not financial for them.
"They do it because they love their community and to help people."
Wangaratta will also be putting its hand up to host the Ovens and Murray league for the third successive year at the Norm Minns Oval.
O and M officials including chairman David Sinclair and board member Des Lonergan were also guests of Wangaratta Council at the match.
The pre-season match lacked the intensity of a regular season AFL match with the season less than a month away.
But the crowd was still treated to its share of highlights including the Magpies slamming on five unanswered goals to take control of the match at quarter time.
Collingwood's first goal came from the boot of Myrtleford junior Jack Crisp and Bright product Ben Reid also kicked a goal as the Magpies opened a 25-point lead at quarter time.
The Magpies were never headed, but the Tigers threatened late in the third term and had a chance to be even closer than 10 points at the last change.
Collingwood has the most pressing injury concern coming out of the match with Adam Treloar leaving the ground in the final term with a hamstring injury.
Treloar was the leading possession winner on the ground with 34 ahead of Magpie team-mate Chris Mayne with 31.
Crisp had 25 touches before sitting out the final term and former Sydney player Darcy Cameron showed some promise with a run in the ruck.
Other upsides included superstar forward Jordan De Goey booting a game-high three goals and also having short bursts in the midfield.
One of those stints in the middle of the ground included being on the receiving end of a brutal, but fair tackle from Tiger Marlion Pickett early in the second term.
Richmond's Jack Higgins also provided another feel-good story when he lined-up for his first match since undergoing brain surgery last year.
His courage was tested in the second term when he attempted to mark a high ball and earned a free kick as two Magpies opponents closed in.
Liam Baker was a star for the Tigers with 31 possessions.
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