'I'm so filthy': Mick Malthouse lashes out at 'Victorian-centric' AFL

Mick Malthouse, pictured here while coaching Carlton in 2015.
Mick Malthouse has hot out at the Victorian-centric thinking of the AFL. (Photo by Michael Dodge/Getty Images)

Mick Malthouse has ripped the ‘Victorian-centric’ thinking of AFL officials, saying there is too much focus on how the 2020 season will be able to restart in Victoria.

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan says Victoria remains a viable option to host a quarantine hub as the league edges closer to restarting.

McLachlan revealed on Saturday that he has a tentative return date in his mind and that players should be optimistic about the situation, with the league to announce a return-to-play plan by the end of the month.

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The hub concept, which would see teams split into three groups and isolated in different states to limit their exposure to COVID-19, is increasingly likely to come into play.

Western Australia, South Australia and Queensland had been viewed as key states to that strategy, but a drop off in new cases in Victoria has improved chances the state could host a hub.

“Victoria has extraordinary proximate facilities, so there are obviously opportunities, like there are in every state to various levels,” McLachlan told Fox Footy.

“You clearly need venues, options with centralised accommodation, you need training facilities, you need medical facilities and they're all being assessed.

“There are live examples of things being looked at in every state and territory.”

Mick Malthouse fumes over ‘Victorian-centric’ thinking

But speaking on Sports Talk on ABC Radio on Saturday, Malthouse said way too much focus was being placed on Victoria - the state with the arguably strictest lockdown measures in the country.

“I am so filthy, and I have been since I coached West Coast, that everything is so Victorian-centric,” the three-time premiership coach said.

“We are in a national competition, if the game is played in Perth, play it in Perth.

“I get so annoyed, even what (Kevin) Sheedy said ‘play 28 games’. He’s a bloke that’s coached predominantly in Victoria and he put his toes in the water in Sydney, to play that many games it’s going to penalise Western Australian clubs. You can’t have that many games without a number of injuries.

“It’s the same with (AFL football operations manager Steve) Hocking about reducing the number of players. He hasn’t taken into consideration one iota about how difficult it is to keep a team travelling and on the ground from the West, which is the clearly the hardest travelling times.

“I’m filthy on the Victorian-centric, this has all gotta be about Victoria. It’s a national competition, play it where it best fits Australia, not necessarily Melbourne. I am born and bred in Victoria, and I love Victoria, but we’ve got to grow up.”

Gillon McLachlan, pictured here speaking to the media in Melbourne.
AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan speaks to the media in Melbourne. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

The coaching legend even made the stunning suggestion the AFL grand final should be moved away from the MCG.

Malthouse pointed out that Victoria has recorded over 1300 cases of coronavirus, while South Australia and Western Australia have fewer than 600.

“Who cares if it’s in Western Australia, if you’re going to have a grand final, so what, that’s a fantastic ground, hopefully you get 60,000,” he said.

“If it can’t be played at the MCG, play it somewhere else. It’s not without precedent.

“The West Coast Eagles played their first bloody grand final out a Waverley in 1991 because the ground wasn’t ready.

“In the 1940s it was played somewhere else because the MCG was taken up with troops and so forth during the second World War.”

McLachlan dismisses concerns over hub concept

McLachlan reiterated the season won't get back underway without the blessing of relevant state and federal medical authorities.

The AFL has worked with those authorities and international sporting codes to come up with a strict set of protocols that would help safeguard players in a hub scenario.

McLachlan has been at pains to demystify the hub concept that GWS chairman Tony Shepherd has described as potentially having the same level of infection risk as a cruise ship.

“There's the most extreme (idea) where you are on an island or a green field site, you can put a fence around it and you completely lock it,” he said.

“And then at its least extreme it's a level of quarantine measures and protocols that mean you're not actually living your normal life and the way you go about footy.

“What I've said is that I think there's going to be some level of quarantine measures that will mean that when we start it won't be (a season) as we've known it.”

with AAP