Geelong coach Chris Scott says AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan is being disingenuous in claiming it's fair for the Cats to host finals at the MCG just because they play a couple of nominal home games there every season.
The Cats are short-priced favourites to finish the home-and-away campaign as minor premiers, guaranteeing them two home finals.
But McLachlan has flagged the likelihood of those matches taking place at the MCG rather than the 36,000-capacity GMHBA Stadium, regardless of the opposition.
"I think they play home games at the MCG," McLachlan told SEN Radio on Tuesday.
"And I don't think, per se, that's an integrity or a fairness issue.
"It's what we've always had as a best-fit policy and we want to maximise ability for their members to get to the games."
Scott took umbrage at McLachlan's attempt to portray the MCG as the Cats' second home ground, saying the club's clear and oft-stated preference was to play all of their regular-season home matches in Geelong.
"This is not really even a Geelong position; this just should be an industry-wide fact," Scott told reporters on Thursday.
"There are 11 home games and there are 11 away games.
"Every club should choose where they play their 11 home games."
While acknowledging that the AFL had to factor in big-picture issues such as the lucrative broadcasting deal and a commitment to maximise attendances, Scott said the "right thing" would extend to all clubs also hosting finals - other than the grand final - at the venue of their choice.
"Sometimes the right thing in isolation doesn't end up being the right thing because all the other issues trump it," he said.
"I completely understand all the difficulties around this.
"But let's not try to soften what may well be the wrong thing by throwing in furphies like 'well, as long as the home final is in the same state that's OK' or 'they play a couple of home games there because we force them to so that's OK'.
"I don't think that's a fair fight when you bring those things into it."
Geelong's second MCG home game this season is against Hawthorn on Sunday.
The only time the Cats have hosted a post-season match at GMHBA Stadium was a qualifying final in 2013, when Fremantle claimed an upset 15-point victory.
Scott did preface his comments on Thursday by noting that, like anyone employed by a club, he was inherently biased.
As such, it was unsurprising that his Collingwood counterpart Nathan Buckley took a different view to the finals fixturing conundrum.
"The MCG is seen as the home of the finals, the home of AFL footy still at this point despite the fact that the interstate clubs make up a fair bit of the competition," the coach of the second-placed Magpies said on Thursday.
"I'd suggest that we've lost our home-ground advantage in regards to the MCG as there are a lot of clubs that play a lot of footy there.
"We ended up playing in what we see as a quite neutral venue and a neutral venue's probably a good place to have your finals."
Australian Associated Press