Best On Ground: Grand opportunity for sunshine state fans

Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock

If you're a footy fan in the sunshine state, you're living in heaven.

The AFL on Wednesday announced its grand final - which has never been played outside Victoria - was heading to Queensland.

While a major coup for the northern state, it was a blow for Western Australia, which was also in contention for hosting rights.

But AFL boss Gillon McLachlan said Queensland had supported the game through a challenging COVID-19 environment and deserved the event.

"The Queensland presentation was world-class and, while the (grand final) will be the centrepiece, an extensive promotional campaign for the sport of Australian football, including multiple regional locations throughout Queensland, will bring fans closer to footy in the lead-up to the event and provide a lasting legacy."

The AFL's commitment to growing the game in northern markets is no secret and it's a smart strategy. Queensland and New South Wales are typically considered rugby league heartland but hosting an event in the calibre of the grand final up north is a big statement.

It's as if the AFL has transformed a challenge into an opportunity.

Think about the exposure the sport will get and the ground it could make. It's a simple equation - more interest means more kids playing and therefore more dollars and participation in the game.

Victorian interest in the sport will never wane so why not have a crack at expanding a different market?

You have to feel for Western Australia, South Australia and New South Wales which also put in bids but really, the AFL made the right decision.

Those states - particularly South Australia and Western Australia - have given a lot in quality players and revenue over the years but Queensland's willingness to accommodate throughout the pandemic shouldn't have gone unnoticed.

This week's edition of Best On Ground was written by Warrnambool Standard journalist Nick Ansell

THE FOOTY NEWS YOU CAN'T AFFORD TO MISS:

TONIGHT:

  • Sydney Swans v Melbourne, Cazaly's Stadium, 4.40pm
  • GWS Giants v Carlton, Metricon Stadium, 7.10pm

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 4:

  • Brisbane Lions v Collingwood, Gabba, 7.50pm

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 5:

  • North Melbourne v Port Adelaide, Metricon Stadium, 7.40pm

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 6:

  • St Kilda v Hawthorn, Metricon Stadium, 1.05pm
  • Geelong Cats v Essendon, Gabba, 3.35pm
  • Western Bulldogs v West Coast, Metricon Stadium, 6.10pm

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 7:

  • Melbourne v Fremantle, Cazaly's Stadium, 7.10pm

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 8:

  • Adelaide Crows v GWS Giants, Adelaide Oval, 5.40pm
  • Carlton v Sydney Swans, Metricon Stadium, 8.10pm
This story Grand opportunity for sunshine state AFL fans first appeared on The Standard.