The Grand Stadium
By Foti Mantis
The AFL Grand Final has always been played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). The tradition, in fact, is so sacred to some footy fans and sponsors that even if two Perth teams were to make it to the final, they would have to travel across the entire country and play in Melbourne. That’s not even mentioning the fact that Victorian teams have a sort of home ground advantage, or at least familiarity with the ground, against opponents who are from other states. Although the MCG holds the greatest number of supporters at around 100,000, it should not act to any team’s advantage when it comes to the Grand Final.
For years, fans and commentators, admittedly from non-Victorian states, have called for a change of venue when it comes to the Grand Final. After so many consecutive final games played at the MCG, that special feeling is finally starting to perish. And that’s not to undermine the greatness of the MCG. However, a proper proposal should be put in place before demands for other states to host the Grand Final begin. It may be that more emphasis must be put on the season standings, in terms of points and percentage.
For example, if the team who finished 3rd made it to the final against a team which finished 5th on the ladder, then the club that achieved a higher standing on the ladder in that season should be the team to host the Grand Final. Now, that’s just a proposal, but it’s important for the AFL to think about these types of things to spread the popularity and experience of the Grand Final across Australia and its other states. Maybe it could be a random draw each year, or a type of system where the states take turns. There are endless common sensical ways to solve this unfair situation.
As for this year, a change in venue seems almost mandatory. In terms of the current global pandemic, Victoria has been the one Australian state most effected by the spread of COVID-19. So then, the question arises as to where the Grand Final will be played in 2020, and exactly what will influence the AFL to make that decision. A proposal must be put in place, similar to the one mentioned earlier in this article. Although there is still plenty of time until the Grand Final, I think it’s only fair to say that this is the year that the AFL should experiment with changing the venue of the final.
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