WA Premier's swipe at Eddie McGuire after AFL grand final ban

·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
Eddie McGuire's application to enter WA for the AFL grand final was rejected.
Eddie McGuire's application to enter WA for the AFL grand final has been knocked back by the state government, with premier Mark McGowan describing him as 'non-essential'. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos)

The Western Australian government has refused to allow Eddie McGuire into the state to cover the upcoming AFL grand final.

In a radio appearance on Wednesday morning, McGuire confirmed his application for an exemption to enter the state from Victoria had been rejected.

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The AFL announced Perth would host the 2021 grand final on Tuesday, amid a growing coronavirus outbreak in Melbourne.

It marks the second year in a row the season decider has been played away from the traditional home at the MCG, with last year's grand final held at the Gabba in Queensland.

McGuire was rejected due do the WA government's strict border controls, which currently prevent anyone from New South Wales from entering the state under any circumstances, and Victorian entrants only under stringent exemptions, with the requirement to complete hotel quarantine.

“I’m disappointed, because we’d planned to do a lot of great things around the grand final," McGuire said on Triple M.

“I’m very conscious of the fact that so many people can’t get into Western Australian who are West Australians or who have stories that are far more important than getting to a grand final.

“I put forward a smorgasbord of options … but it became untenable.

“It will be the first grand final I’ve missed since 1976.”

McGuire added that applications for his two sons were also knocked back.

The AFL announced on Tuesday that the long-term agreement to hold the grand final would be extended by one year in light of the situation.

WA premier Mark McGowan's cheeky shot at Eddie McGuire

Having secured the right to host the grand final without paying a fee to the AFL for the right to do so, which the league negotiated with the Queensland government in 2020, WA premier Mark McGowan couldn't but but take a few jabs at the former Collingwood president.

In a radio appearance of his own on Perth’s Mix 94.5 on Wednedsay, McGowan quipped that refusing McGuire's entry into WA was as much for his own good as it was for WA residents.

McGowan jokingly suggested the decision was made to “protect him from West Australians”.

“He was not happy,” McGowan confessed.

“He’s not essential for the game, he has to stay in Melbourne.”

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan is adamant the grand final will be held in front of a crowd, playing down concerns the West Australian government could lockout spectators at late notice.

WA Premier Mark McGowan joked about Eddie McGuire's application for an exemption to enter the state during a radio appearance on Wednesday. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images for Cricket Australia)
WA Premier Mark McGowan joked about Eddie McGuire's application for an exemption to enter the state during a radio appearance on Wednesday. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images for Cricket Australia)

Perth's Optus Stadium will hold the AFL grand final for the first time on September 25, following a pre-grand final bye, after an MCG decider was officially ruled out.

On Tuesday, the Victorian government conceded the state's latest coronavirus outbreak and lockdown would result in the grand final being moved away from the MCG for the second successive year.

"It has become clear as we continue to navigate through these challenges that it wouldn't be in the best interests of the community to host a grand final at the MCG in front of no crowd," McLachlan said.

A time slot has not been confirmed, however, the grand final appears likely to be a twilight fixture in Perth to allow it to be broadcast in prime time on Australia's east coast.

"If you worked to 2.30 or 2.40 (AEST) ... that's 12.30 or 12.40 Perth time - we're not going to play the grand final then," McLachlan said.

"So it'll be later than scheduled, but when exactly, we'll work through."

With AAP

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