Brian Taylor has ripped into Tom Browne live on-air over speculation about the location of the 2020 AFL grand final.
With Victoria back in strict lockdown and all 10 of the state’s teams forced to relocate, the chances of the MCG being able to host the grand final are fading.
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ANZ Stadium in Sydney has emerged as a shock frontrunner to host the season decider, despite it being a much-maligned venue for AFL games.
Reporter Browne was discussing the story on Channel 7’s live coverage of Collingwood’s clash with Hawthorn on Friday night when things got a bit feisty with Taylor.
Taylor was far from impressed with Browne and his fellow journalists ‘advancing’ the story despite the grand final still being months away.
Here’s how the tense exchange played out:
Browne: “Strong support this week, I’ve spoken to Dave Matthews at the Giants, I’ve spoken to Andrew Pridham, the chairman of the Swans. Sydney (has) growing momentum, ANZ Stadium can hold up to 75,000 fans.
“The Victorian government, I’m not getting political, on its current performance can’t really play hard ball over the grand final. Of course we want it at the MCG, but they cant really stop it going elsewhere if we can get a crowd elsewhere. The situation is terrible in Victoria.”
Taylor: “This is the problem with you and journos in particular Tom, you’re always wanting to advance the story before it’s ready to be …”
Browne: “I haven’t advanced this. The AFL has had discussions with the New South Wales government. I was actually there when they met with the New South Wales government.”
Taylor: “I’ll continue to talk when you finish.”
Browne: “It’s discussions in the background.”
Taylor: “What is it with you guys? You want to talk about something before it’s ready to be talked about. The point is we don’t know where we’re gonna be in two weeks, never mind six weeks.
“So I would suggest what you should be doing, Tom, is presenting to the news and to the people out there that in six weeks’ time, we will have a look at this and that is plenty of time for the AFL to make a decision on the grand final. In six weeks. not now.”
Browne: “BT, Gillon McLachlan in a briefing …”
Taylor: “No, hang on Tom …”
Browne: “… he told clubs this was a possibility.”
Taylor: “This goes back to you Tom …”
Browne: “I’m not making it up.”
Taylor: “This goes back to journos always wanting to be first rather than be right, Tom. Come on mate.”
Browne: “Don’t pull that old card again BT, be specific. There’s specific facts this week that support the proposition that the AFL is looking at New South Wales, it’s a fact. They have to, Victoria’s shut down.”
AFL CEO touts ANZ Stadium for grand final
The MCG has a contract to host the grand final until 2057, but extenuating circumstances allow it to be relocated.
McLachlan admitted Sydney is shaping as the alternative if the situation in Victoria doesn’t improve.
“At the moment we’ve got an agreement to play the grand sinal at the MCG and that’s where we are planning on playing the grand final,” he told The Daily Telegraph.
“However, if it was unable to be played there, for whatever reason, then there’s the prospect of taking it (elsewhere).
“Sydney is an amazing sporting town. It’s got a great venue at ANZ, as to do many other cities in this country.”
Speaking on Footy Classified on Wednesday night, veteran reporter Caroline Wilson said ANZ Stadium has emerged as a leading contender.
“I think there’s every chance now the grand final will leave Victoria,” Wilson said on the Channel Nine program.
“Sydney is framing as the favourite at the moment. Obviously this would be fantastic for the AFL’s push into the northern markets.
“ANZ Stadium seems to be the ground. They were going to tear the stadium down and reconfigure it again. That hasn’t happened for financial reasons.
“Sydney have made a strong push, and Sydney are the flavour of the month with the AFL at the moment, because they’ve done the right thing by the AFL … in letting the players move into Sydney and keeping the AFL season.”