Revealed: Gabba set to host historic AFL Grand Final

 

The AFL Commission is expected to reward Queensland's $200 million role in saving the season and its promised legacy of ongoing football investment when it decides the Grand Final venue on Tuesday.

The league is strongly favouring an October 24 Grand Final at the Gabba with a start time around 7pm Victorian time, with the Commission to review a recommendation handed down by its AFL executive.

An announcement will be made on Wednesday.

The Gabba would host a historic night Grand Final in front of 30,000 people in a move Geelong coach Chris Scott says would be a watershed moment for football in the state.

The Herald Sun understands interstate clubs Port Adelaide and West Coast will be able to host home finals all the way through to the preliminary final if they earn that right.

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Lions fans Chris and Yvette La Burniy with their children Henry, 8, Eva, 13, and Ruby, 11, would love to see the AFL Grand Final played at the Gabba in Queensland. Picture: Nigel Hallett
Lions fans Chris and Yvette La Burniy with their children Henry, 8, Eva, 13, and Ruby, 11, would love to see the AFL Grand Final played at the Gabba in Queensland. Picture: Nigel Hallett

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan will be part of Tuesday's Commission decision then get on a chartered flight to Queensland that afternoon for an expected official Wednesday announcement.

Geelong president and former AFL Commission member Colin Carter told the Herald Sun last night he believed Queensland deserved to host the Grand final.

Carter, who is entering the Gold Coast hub on Tuesday, wrote the 1985 report for the then-VFL advocating a national competition.

"There is no club position, but my personal opinion is I hope Queensland gets it. They deserve it," he said.

"It would be incredible for our code and they deserve it because they have had most of the competition camped up there this year.

"There is no reason why they shouldn't get it.

"A bit more than half of the Australian population is north of the Murray river and the development of footy in Queensland is terrific and a story most people don't know a lot about.

"This would kick it along another distance."

Geelong Cats President Colin Carter.
Geelong Cats President Colin Carter.

 

AFL Chief Executive Gillon McLachlan.
AFL Chief Executive Gillon McLachlan.

The Victorian State Government will release its contract to play the game at the MCG but is believed to be still pushing for a two-year extension to a deal that runs to 2057.

The Andrews government would also like more pre-season games in regional Victoria, a renewed commitment to host games in Ballarat, and some AFLW games in regional Victoria.

The Queensland government has promised a series of legacy pieces for the AFL that includes funding junior AFL competitions, access to ovals and money for female facilities in future generations.

Queensland's pitch came with its delegates aware they could not compete with the financial might of Western Australia or even a capacity that could be at 60,000 by October 24.

Senior AFL sources said last night that financial pitches from state governments, including Western Australia, had been nowhere near the $36 million reported.

Queensland Premier Anastasia Palaszczuk has been a vocal advocate for getting the Sunshine State to host the 2020 AFL Grand Final. Picture: Peter Wallis
Queensland Premier Anastasia Palaszczuk has been a vocal advocate for getting the Sunshine State to host the 2020 AFL Grand Final. Picture: Peter Wallis

Every senior football official polled by the Herald Sun yesterday suggested the league would be making a huge mistake if it did not reward Queensland for its loyalty and capacity for growth if the finals were held in that state.

Three flights will depart Melbourne on Tuesday bound for the Gold Coast, with star Cat Gary Ablett and his family and dual premiership Tiger Shane Edwards confirmed passengers.

The league will have around 2000 AFL staff, players and families and 15 AFL clubs in Queensland by Tuesday night, all of them approved by the state government despite the COVID risk.

SA premier Steven Marshall confirmed that the league had on the weekend sought more information regarding the state's pitch for Adelaide Oval to host the Grand Final.

"They asked several questions following up from the proposal that we made last week," Marshall said.

"We're hopeful that we get a positive response from the AFL in coming days."

Geelong's Gary Ablett Jnr will head north to join the team’s Queensland hub...
Geelong's Gary Ablett Jnr will head north to join the team’s Queensland hub...

 

... as will Richmond’s Shane Edwards.
... as will Richmond’s Shane Edwards.

Reports had indicated that "VIP" attendees to the match could bypass the state's strict 14-day quarantine requirements to attend, bound to their hotel room and the ground before departing the state again.

But Marshall said the issue was still being considered by SA Health.

"I want to assure the people of South Australia though that we're not talking about having a large number of people coming to Adelaide, being able to wander around the city or wander around the stadium," he said.

AFL RULES ON EAGLES' $800K HOME GAME PLAN

- Jon Ralph

The AFL has knocked back North Melbourne's request to sell a home game to West Coast's Optus Stadium on Monday.

The Herald Sun can confirm the league has blocked the request despite the expected $800,000 windfall for the Kangaroos.

The game will be played in Queensland, as will the Fremantle-Western Bulldogs game despite reports that game could also have been relocated to Optus Stadium.

It means West Coast will have to win their way into the top four without the assistance of a Round 18 clash.

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Kangaroo Shaun Higgins and Eagle Jeremy McGovern do battle during last year’s clash in Perth. Picture: Michael Dodge/Getty Images
Kangaroo Shaun Higgins and Eagle Jeremy McGovern do battle during last year’s clash in Perth. Picture: Michael Dodge/Getty Images

And they will have to remain in their Queensland hub at the Royal Pines - alongside North Melbourne - until the finals despite hoping they could have returned home in the days after Round 17.

The league is no no hurry to release its floating Round 18 fixture as it seeks to optimise the ratings of the Thursday and Friday night games.

Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson on Monday said it was a dilemma for the AFL given clubs like the Hawks and Roos had lost millions not playing in Tasmania.

"Oh, yeah, Jesus, it's a difficult one. Really, really difficult one," he said.

"It's one that I shouldn't really weigh into, to be fair, because it's got nothing to do with us but it's a real dilemma for the game.

"The game needs money and these clubs need money, including ours. There's a lot of clubs (struggling), particularly the Melbourne-based ones …

"Some of the interstate clubs have been able to continue to have crowds and generate some level of revenue and income. They've been given a real leg up.

"When a North (type club) does have an opportunity to earn some money out of a game because they've been deprived of that through the season then who can question it?

"But for the teams that are competing with West Coast, in terms of a spot and a finals position, I think they might be a bit aggrieved."

Originally published as Revealed: Gabba set to host historic AFL Grand Final


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