Basil Zempilas breaks silence on staggering AFL grand final gaffe

Basil Zempilas, pictured here forgetting to let Simon Goodwin deliver his victory speech.
Basil Zempilas forgot to let Simon Goodwin deliver his victory speech. Image: Channel 7

Basil Zempilas has broken his silence on the AFL grand final gaffe that robbed triumphant coach Simon Goodwin of the chance to deliver his victory speech.

Zempilas, the Perth Lord Mayor and Channel 7 commentator, was conducting the post-match presentation after Saturday night's grand final when he forgot to offer Goodwin the chance to speak.

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Goodwin led the Demons to their first AFL flag in 57 years as his side blitzed the Western Bulldogs in a stunning second-half demolition.

However fans were left fuming during the trophy presentation when Goodwin didn't get the chance to address the crowd.

After Demons captain Max Gawn delivered his speech, Zempilas invited Goodwin onto the stage to receive his premiership medal from West Coast premiership-winning coach John Worsfold.

However Zempilas then moved on with the presentation rather than inviting Goodwin to the microphone.

On Tuesday, Zempilas addressed the furore after AFL fans were left fuming over the gaffe.

"It was so loud - so loud - I could not hear a thing in my ear," Zempilas said on Triple M radio in Perth.

“I’m not sure if anybody’s talking to me at that point or not, but if somebody was, I couldn’t hear it.

“I didn’t see Simon motion towards the microphone, I’m not even sure if he did, he was standing on the other side of me. And that was the point where if he was going to speak, he should have spoken.

“Nothing much seemed to be happening, there was a lot going on in the background.”

Simon Goodwin and Max Gawn, pictured here after the AFL grand final.
Simon Goodwin and Max Gawn hold the cup aloft after the AFL grand final. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images) (AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Zempilas said he wasn't too concerned about the gaffe because the moment Goodwin and Gawn got to lift the premiership cup was more important.

“This is where you’ve got to have some calm in the crisis because you can’t let one moment that’s gone wrong ruin 15 other moments that are about to come," he said.

“Clearly the moment that counts is the premiership cup going up. I realised that Simon Goodwin hadn’t spoken. Now that was regrettable, and that was a mistake.

“In the end - I’ve played this over lots and lots of times, as you do - I will say that despite what people might say, I pride myself on this sort of work.

“I pride myself on getting these big moments right. I’ve done four Australian Open presentations, five Melbourne Cup presentations, they’re big moments and you want to get them right and that didn’t go exactly to plan, clearly so that’s regrettable, and it’s disappointing for Simon.”

Basil Zempilas tried to let Simon Goodwin speak later

Zempilas said he actually tried to get Goodwin back to the microphone to deliver his speech, but it was too late.

“As they were having the team photo, I asked one of the people to go and get Simon let’s get him back up and let’s do it,” he said.

“And I said Simon, ‘my apologies, that was crazy,’ and he said to me ‘there’s so much going on, it’s fine, it’s fine.’

“And he stood next to me and we tried to get the PA down to be able to get Simon to say what he wanted to say in front of the crowd or whatever he might have been going to say.

“The PA I couldn’t reach, the cup had gone, and BT was down side of stage and said ‘I’ll grab him’, and Simon was ‘hey, no problem at all’.

Basil Zempilas, pictured here as Max Gawn delivers his victory speech.
Basil Zempilas looks on as Max Gawn delivers his victory speech. (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images) (AFL Photos via Getty Images)

“I spoke to him again on Sunday and spoke to everyone from the Melbourne footy club. Look, there are 1000 things when I look back over it that could have been ever so slightly different and we would have had a better result.

“It’s regrettable and it’s disappointing. Because I don’t want that to be remembered as the moment from Melbourne’s great premiership victory.”

Speaking on the Sunday Footy Show the next day, Goodwin said: “I didn’t know what happened there, I had it all ready to go, I had the cheat notes and a few sponsors to single out.

“I just would’ve said to the supporters and everyone at home, this is us, this is who we are, and they should be so proud.

“Hopefully all the supporters back home are enjoying it, I know they’re in lockdown but speaking to a few I know they’re sinking a few beers.”

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