AFL Aussie rules football is on track for its best season ever as it closes in on the 6.5 million attendance record.

On Tuesday, the league confirmed this year’s current attendance numbers were looking likely to smash the 2011 record figure of 6,525,071.

An additional 200,000 fans are likely to attend this year compared with 2016, an AFL spokesman said referring to current trends, according to the Australian newspaper.

Essendon, which plays at the 53,000-capacity Etihad Stadium in Melbourne, has this year been the biggest draw for the league. The previous two years Collingwood and Richmond were the two clubs pulling in the most fans, but are sitting behind Essendon, which is currently in 10th spot in the table.

Essendon, which has attracted 863,226 people to their 18 games, are on track to bring in more than one million fans this year, at an average of almost 48,000. That’s a 31 per cent rise on 2016.

Last year’s leaders, Collingwood, brought in 972,219 supporters, an average of 44,192 per game.

Essendon chief executive Xavier Campbell told The Australian: “The passion and resilience of this supporter group can never be underestimated. They continue to show that they are the best in the business, they care so much about this team and club, and it’s a privilege for all of us to play for them and have them behind us.”

Meanwhile, the NRL Australian rugby league competition has seen a 2.5 per cent drop in attendance from last season, with an average crowd of 15,117.

Image: Steve Collis