'Big noting': Eddie McGuire fires back at premier amid ugly feud

Eddie McGuire fumed about his failed application for a WA border exemption during Wednesday's Footy Classified.
Eddie McGuire hit back at WA premier Mark McGowan over his failed application for an exemption to enter the state for the AFL grand final. Picture: Channel 9/Footy Classified

Eddie McGuire has responded to Western Australia premier Mark McGowan's cheeky jabs after he was not granted permission to enter the state for the AFL grand final.

The former Collingwood president's application for an exemption to enter WA from Victoria was knocked back on Wednesday, prompting the premier to quip that it was 'to protect him' due to McGuire's unpopularity in the state.

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McGuire was already put out by the decision, which also extended to an application submitted for his two sons, when discussing it on radio.

He doubled down on Wednesday night's episode of Footy Classified, arguing plans had been in motion not just for the grand final, but also to film episodes of the game show Millionaire Hot Seat, as well as a grand final program reportedly set to involve Crown Casino and the Herald Sun.

McGuire also revealed his two sons, who are producers for Channel Nine, were going to travel with him.

While he said he accepted the decision of the government, McGuire said he was unhappy about being 'an easy hit' for Mr McGowan before adding 'thank God' the grand final would only be played in WA this year.

“I just want to clear one thing up, because disappointingly my two boys have been dragged into this who are professional producers on here and Fox Footy," McGuire said.

"And the reason they came into play is because it was a smorgasbord – we were going to bring 50 people if we did Millionaire Hot Seat.

“In the end we thought no don’t worry about it, and only one application went in and it was for me. One, I was disappointed that that came out because they were in confidence conversations.

"And two, in the end it was seen to be a bit of big noting against me.”

Eddie McGuire and his son, pictured here during an AFL game in 2017. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media/Getty Images)
Eddie McGuire and his son look on during an AFL game in 2017. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media/Getty Images)

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.

Eddie McGuire fumes over Mark McGowan's cheeky comments

McGuire was clearly most frustrated by Mr McGowan's jabs at his standing within the media world, saying he had been asked by the AFL to make an application to enter WA.

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.”

When asked if he had been offended by the premier's comments, McGuire said he understood the political calculus at play but felt the decision was still 'unfair'.

He went on to claim that cadet reporters were being allowed in, while he was barred.

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)

“Mark’s a politician, he’s doing his bit. I can understand the situation where they saying we can’t let people who aren't Western Australians. So we’ll show that we’re going to be tough and we’ll give Eddie McGuire one, because I’m an easy hit,” he said.

“They’re letting people who are cadets in. Seriously, I was going to do half a dozen shows for half a dozen outlets.

"But more importantly, I was doing it in conjunction with the WA government. It got knocked on the head by the WA chief commissioner, and I go I accept your position and I move on.

“I haven’t complained and I’m not complaining now, I’m explaining. They want to do that, that’s fine, and thank god they’ve only got it for one year.”

Meanwhile, AFL boss Gillon McLachlan says getting vaccinated will be the key to having crowds return to the MCG for a Melbourne grand final next season.

Australia's reopening plans are dependent on 70, then 80 per cent of eligible people being vaccinated.

McLachlan emphasised Victorians were "getting vaccinated and we've got a plan out of here" (the current situation), and towards attending the football again.

"We'll get back there (to full crowds)," he said.

"I'd say to all Victorians frankly, not just football supporters, I've been living here, we know how hard it's been and how much we miss going to Marvel and the MCG and frankly how much we miss community football.

"... Our way of life across this country, particularly this town, is going to the football - men's football, women's football, junior sport - and we'll get back there.

"That'll be next year. In what form, whether it's 100 per cent straight away I don't know, but we'll get back and celebrate how we live and what's great - and a lot of that's going to the footy."

With AAP

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