Covid-19 restrictions moves AFL Grand Final out of Victoria

The AFL Grand Final will be held for the first time in history outside of Victoria as the state grapples with its current stage four coronavirus restrictions.

Several Victorian teams have already relocated north to Queensland, which has hosted the current AFL season amid the pandemic.

Teams have been playing in both Brisbane and the Gold Coast and this year’s grand final will be hosted at the Gabba on October 24.

Queensland AFL legend Jason Akermanis is ecstatic over the move.

“It’s gonna be on, it’s gonna be loud and it’s gonna be fantastic,” the three-time Brisbane Lions premiership winner told A Current Affair.

Hawthorn great Shane Crawford says hosting a grand final is a just reward.

“For what Queensland has done for AFL football this year has been incredible, it’s virtually saved the game of AFL football and I think they thoroughly deserve the grand final being played at the Gabba,” Crawford said.

AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan said under the new arrangement with the Queensland government, the grand final will be played before a crowd of at least 30,000 people.

Richmond fanatic Paul Frederickson now lives in Queensland and with the enforced COVID-19 changes, he has been able to watch his team play live seven times this season.

“Queensland’s done everything to basically keep football going this year and deserves the grand final, regardless who’s in the final game,” Mr. Frederickson said.

He’s desperate to get one of those 30,000 tickets, which usually cost an average of $400.

“I’ll do whatever I can to get a grand final ticket,” he said.

“You know, it’s a historic moment for Queensland sport. So, to be there for that, regardless who’s in would just be a brilliant opportunity.”

The AFL Grand Final will now clash with the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival’s Cox Plate Day, meaning there will be another break from tradition, as it will be the first AFL grand final played at night.

Premiership-winning coach Mick Malthouse says while it’s sad to see the grand final leave Victoria for the first time in history, it is understandable.

“Unfortunately, it’s come to the second wave which has come from an incompetent government running it,” Mr. Malthouse said.

While it remains unclear whether any Victorian fans will be allowed to travel to the game even with 14 days of hotel quarantine, the AFL community will complete their quarantine at a Gold Coast resort.

Collingwood president Eddie McGuire was among the 400 people allowed to fly out of Melbourne last night – along with their families – to enter the player’s hub on the Gold Coast.

According to Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, there has been a plan in place for the AFL community.

“They’ve had a longstanding COVID-safe plan, an industry-safe plan and that plan is not dissimilar to what’s happened in other states,” the premier said.

She also acknowledged the pain all Victorians are feeling, both because of the second wave of COVID-19 and the loss of their grand final.

“We acknowledge how important AFL is to Victorian’s and Queensland will absolutely do our best to put on a show.”

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