Australian comedian and high-profile footy fan Dave Hughes has lashed the 'ridiculous double standards' in place that have allowed AFL clubs to continue travelling interstate.
In a frustrated post on social media, Hughes took aim at the series of rules and exemptions that have allowed the likes of the Melbourne Demons and other teams to travel to and fro from Victoria to Western Australia.
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This despite an increasing number of the Australian population being compelled to following strict lockdown rules in NSW, Victoria, the A.C.T., and parts of the Northern Territory.
Optus Stadium in Perth has become the most likely venue for the AFL Grand Final, with the league believed to have all but given up on a return to the MCG for the 2021 decider.
Last year's grand final was played at the Gabba in Brisbane, thanks to Melbourne being under strict lockdown at the time.
Hughes said it was becoming increasingly difficult to accept the exemptions given to travelling football teams when regular citizens were having difficulty being approved to visit or care for ill loved ones.
“It’s a ridiculous double standard that makes a mockery of the sacrifices of many,” he said.
“It’s ridiculous when there’s no mercy at all for the general public even in the most heartbreaking circumstances because of ‘health’. Crazy inconsistent world we are living in.
“Imagine you had a family member in another state dying and they allow this but not your request. And they don’t even have to quarantine for two weeks.”
It’s ridiculous when there’s no mercy at all for the general public even in the most heartbreaking circumstances because of ‘health’. Crazy inconsistent world we are living in.
— Dave Hughes (@DHughesy) August 15, 2021
I sincerely hope not but a melb player could have past it on to an eagle who could have past it on to a docker who could be now passing it on to a guy behind the counter at an Innaloo chicken shop while ordering a celebratory thigh and chips. #specialdispensation
— Dave Hughes (@DHughesy) August 15, 2021
Hughes went on to describe the AFL's determination to see out the season as 'farcical'.
He had a supporter in The Project co-host Steve Price, who used his column in the Herald Sun to call out of the different standards applied to the AFL's players.
“Sports stars, though, as we have come to realise, are a protected species when it comes to Covid and lockdowns,” Price wrote.
“The privilege doesn’t end with the players. It extends to their families, support staff, coaches and executives.
“Clearly there are rules that apply for a privileged few that don’t apply to ordinary Australians."
Ladder-leaders accept fans won't be present for finals return
Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin is feeling for long-suffering Demons supporters who appear unlikely to be able to attend finals in the club's push for a drought-breaking AFL premiership.
If the Demons defeat Geelong this weekend, they will finish on top of the ladder for the first time since 1964 - the year the club won its last premiership.
Melbourne have qualified for just two grand finals since - predictable blowout losses to Hawthorn (1988) and Essendon (2000) when they were extreme underdogs.
This season presents the Demons' best shot at a 13th flag, but instead of a decider in front of up to 100,000 people at the MCG, the grand final is almost certainly going to be held in Perth.
Metropolitan Melbourne's prolonged COVID-19 crisis has made a big crowd at the regular home of the grand final untenable but that does not make it any easier for a supporter group who have endured more than 50 years of hardship.
"I feel for all supporters in the competition but I mainly feel for ours," Goodwin said.
"They're craving coming to the MCG to see their team compete and to win and play some significant games.
"They've been enormous for our footy club for a long period of time but I know they're sitting at home supporting.
"We can still feel their support through the messages, the support through social media and a range of different things but we would love our supporters here.
"They've been on this journey for a long time and they need to know from us that we are doing everything we can to play the best footy for them and we want to make them proud."
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