'Rubbish': Victorians rage over 'condescending' AFL grand final post

Seen here, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrew and the state's Covid-safe message for footy fans.
The Victorian government's Covid-safe message for footy fans has not gone down well. Pic: Twitter/Getty

The Victorian Department of Health has been savaged by footy fans over a community message that's been described as "patronising" and "condescending".

Saturday's grand final is being held at Perth's Optus Stadium due to the Covid-19 restrictions in place in Victoria.

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It means for the second straight year the MCG has been forced to relinquish hosting rights, with 2021 marking the first twilight decider in AFL history.

More than 60,000 people are set to fill Optus Stadium for the premiership decider between the Demons and Western Bulldogs.

The contrast couldn't be more stark back in coronavirus-ravaged Melbourne, where social gatherings are limited to five people across two households.

Players from the competing teams have been unrestricted since emerging from quarantine, with many acutely aware of what their loved ones are going through back home.

On Saturday, Victoria recorded one death and 847 new cases of Covid-19, which marks the highest number of daily infections for the state since the pandemic began.

The figures prompted a warning from Victorian Covid-19 response commander Jeroen Weimar, who urged the state's citizens to adhere to the restrictions and not get carried away celebrating the grand final.

“I’m extremely worried that large numbers of Victorians will say tonight, ‘Well, just for tonight we’ll all get together and have a good night out and we’ll take our masks off and we’ll scream and we’ll shout and we’ll have a good drink’,” Weimar told reporters on Saturday.

“And as a result of that, in six, seven days down the road, we’ve got another big cluster of cases, and another big step up in our infection numbers.”

The Victorian Department of Health also shared a checklist of things footy fans can do to make the grand final special, without breaking any rules.

Posting it to social media, the list included things such as "calling a mate to heckle them" and "whipping up your fave snacks", prompting a mountain of backlash from footy fans.

Footy fans slam 'condescending' messages

Former Boomers coach Brendan Joyce posted: “I expect our good taxpayers $ paying for this rubbish too! Arrogance & patronising.”

Sports reporter Bernie Coen added: “Is that serious? Whoever gave that the go ahead in Vic Gov should be embarrassed … not to mention a waste of money coming up with that condescending rubbish.”

Channel Seven icon Basil Zempilas also came under fire from fans on Friday after revealing details of a grand final gesture of solidarity.

Zempilas - who is also the Lord Mayor of Perth - revealed that the 60,0000-strong crowd at Optus Stadium would be encouraged to show their support for others doing it tough around the country, with a minute's applause during the first quarter of Saturday evening's decider.

Pictured here, Channel Seven's Basil Zempilas is sworn in as Lord Mayor of Perth.
Channel Seven's Basil Zempilas has copped a wave of backlash over the Perth AFL grand final gesture. Pic: Getty

Western Australia has been notoriously strict on border closures during the pandemic, with WA Premier Mark McGowan this week telling Victoria and NSW that he would not be pressured into opening them up before Christmas.

Channel Seven icon Zempilas says the gesture is designed to show the rest of Australia that Perth and the state of WA are right behind them during the Covid-19 pandemic, and the seemingly never-ending state of lockdown many find themselves in.

“(At) 20.21 in the first quarter (of the AFL Grand Final), we’re asking everyone in the stadium to stand for one minute and applaud — a nod to our friends around the country who are doing it tough & to let them know we’re with them in this difficult time,” Zempilas shared with his 20,000 followers.

“Let’s do it WA.”

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