AFL must take finals to fans: Malthouse

Jason Phelan
Former Magpies coach Mick Malthouse says the AFL grand final should not be at the MCG without fans

AFL coaching great Mick Malthouse has urged the AFL to play the finals series, including the grand final, of a rebooted season outside Victoria if fans remain locked out.

And West Coast chief executive Trevor Nisbett has talked up Perth's credentials as a grand final host if that unlikely scenario comes to pass.

The AFL is edging closer to restarting a 17-round season, which could begin as early as June and be wrapped up by October.

It had been considered highly likely that games would be played in empty stadiums, certainly in Victoria where Premier Daniel Andrews has stuck to his guns in keeping more stringent measures in place.

But the Northern Territory has made a bold bid to host matches by allowing fans to attend.

If Western Australia or South Australia follow that lead, Malthouse can't see why Optus Stadium or Adelaide Oval shouldn't host the grand final.

"If Western Australia or South Australia admit crowds to the game there is no reason to have any finals, quite frankly, played at the MCG because players and the viewing public love to see a crowd on TV," Malthouse said on ABC Perth on Saturday.

"'Chairman' Andrews, he's suffocated us, so there'd be no chance of the public going to games over here (in Victoria). So why wouldn't the games be played where the crowds are?"

League boss Gillon McLachlan has pledged to keep an open mind on fixturing as the AFL works with the states to get a revised 2020 season underway.

Nisbett doesn't believe crowds returning to games in WA or a Perth grand final are beyond the realms of possibility.

"I wouldn't rule it out because this has been such an unusual year," he said.

"You'd think the (WA) premier has probably got in the back of his mind, and the sports minister would be thinking 'if we have a really clean bill of health for a long period of time then anything is possible'.

"Our stadium is definitely the best stadium in the country and one of the best in the world, so I couldn't see why the AFL wouldn't look at it, albeit they've got contractual arrangements and so forth, in Melbourne.

"Certainly these are unbelievable circumstances that we're dealing with, so I wouldn't rule out anything yet."