Channel 7 AFL commentator Brian Taylor took sports reporter Tom Browne to task on-air prior to the network’s broadcast of Friday night’s GWS Giants-Collingwood showdown over reports the AFL Grand Final could potentially be hosted in Perth.
Despite the AFL’s long-standing, multi-million dollar agreement with the MCG which effectively locks the grand final in to the iconic Melbourne venue for the foreseeable future, reports have emerged that Optus Stadium in Perth and ANZ Stadium in NSW have been lobbying the AFL to host the grand final, should the game need to be played elsewhere due to the unpredictable nature of the coronavirus pandemic.
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Discussing the revelations prior to Friday night’s match, Taylor engaged Browne in a spirited debate over the issue.
The former Collingwood champion turned commentator said the story was a ‘beat-up’.
“I’m not sure if you’re aware of the $500m deal that’s been done with the government (for) the grand final to be there until 2057,” Taylor said.
“Why are you wasting your breath? Why are you wasting your breath telling me and the people out there watching that it could be in Perth, it could be in Adelaide.
“And I’m not being parochial, because I’m a West Australian, I’d love it. It will never be there.”
Brian Taylor adamant Grand Final staying put
Browne, who has sparred with Taylor in recent weeks over the ethics of revealing the salaries of contracted players, defended his reporting.
The pair agreed that ‘the only certainty is uncertainty’ amid the ongoing global pandemic, but Taylor was steadfast in his belief that it was simply unrealistic to think the grand final would be played anywhere else.
“Can you guarantee me and the public that Optus Stadium will be available at the end of the year given the COVID circumstances?” Taylor queried.
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Brian Taylor argues with Tom Browne over accountability in AFL media. pic.twitter.com/6AXdFK5Fc4
“Can you guarantee the Australian public that that will be available? Stop getting in front of yourself.
“This is why the AFL is just announcing the fixture two weeks at a time because that’s the only certainty we have in the game at the moment.
“In fact, we don’t even have that. If someone tests positive tomorrow it could all change.”