'Basil took over': AFL great's quip in ugly grand final furore

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·Sports Reporter
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Andrew Embley, who presented Christian Petracca with the Norm Smith medal after the AFL grand final, took a cheeky shot at Basil Zempilas' hosting performance. Pictures: Getty Images
Andrew Embley, who presented Christian Petracca with the Norm Smith medal after the AFL grand final, took a cheeky shot at Basil Zempilas' hosting performance. Pictures: Getty Images

Basil Zempilas has copped another jab of mockery over his controversial turn as AFL grand final MC last weekend, with former West Coast star Andrew Embley taking a dig over the Norm Smith medal ceremony.

Embley, who was part of the Eagles' 2006 premiership team, quipped that by the time he got to the stage to present the Norm Smith to Melbourne's Christian Petracca, Basil had 'taken over'.

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In the wake of the grand final, Zempilas was heavily criticised for not giving winning Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin the opportunity to say a few words after the Demons' drought breaking premiership.

The former commentator and lord mayor of Perth admitted later that he had made a mistake in not ensuring Goodwin got to the microphone.

He argued it was incredibly loud at Optus Stadium during the presentations and that he was concentrated on the moment the premiership cup would be handed over to the Demons.

Zempilas copped it from the likes of former AFL stars Brendon Fevola and Brendon Goddard, while Goodwin later confessed he'd been 'shafted'.

Embley went on 3AW's Sportsday program to discuss the grand final result, and couldn't help but get a quip in at Zempilas' expense.

"I said during the week a couple of times when people asked me who’s going to win, I actually said Melbourne and Christian Petracca, so I felt like I was just ready, I wasn’t going to muck this one up," Embley cracked.

“I got up there and good old Basil just took over from me.”

On Tuesday, Zempilas addressed the furore after AFL fans were left fuming over the gaffe.

"It was so loud - so loud - I could not hear a thing in my ear," Zempilas said on Triple M radio in Perth.

“I’m not sure if anybody’s talking to me at that point or not, but if somebody was, I couldn’t hear it.

“I didn’t see Simon motion towards the microphone, I’m not even sure if he did, he was standing on the other side of me. And that was the point where if he was going to speak, he should have spoken.

“Nothing much seemed to be happening, there was a lot going on in the background.”

Premiership cup moment most important for grand final MC Basil Zempilas

Zempilas said he wasn't too concerned about the gaffe because the moment Goodwin and Demons captain Max Gawn got to lift the premiership cup was more important.

“This is where you’ve got to have some calm in the crisis because you can’t let one moment that’s gone wrong ruin 15 other moments that are about to come," he said.

“Clearly the moment that counts is the premiership cup going up. I realised that Simon Goodwin hadn’t spoken. Now that was regrettable, and that was a mistake.

“In the end - I’ve played this over lots and lots of times, as you do - I will say that despite what people might say, I pride myself on this sort of work.

“I pride myself on getting these big moments right. I’ve done four Australian Open presentations, five Melbourne Cup presentations, they’re big moments and you want to get them right and that didn’t go exactly to plan, clearly so that’s regrettable, and it’s disappointing for Simon.”

Despite missing out on a grand final speech, Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin was more than happy to raise the premiership cup with captain Max Gaw.. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)
Despite missing out on a grand final speech, Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin was more than happy to raise the premiership cup with captain Max Gaw.. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Zempilas said he actually tried to get Goodwin back to the microphone to deliver his speech, but it was too late.

“As they were having the team photo, I asked one of the people to go and get Simon let’s get him back up and let’s do it,” he said.

“And I said Simon, ‘my apologies, that was crazy,’ and he said to me ‘there’s so much going on, it’s fine, it’s fine.’

“And he stood next to me and we tried to get the PA down to be able to get Simon to say what he wanted to say in front of the crowd or whatever he might have been going to say.

“The PA I couldn’t reach, the cup had gone, and BT was down side of stage and said ‘I’ll grab him’, and Simon was ‘hey, no problem at all’.

“I spoke to him again on Sunday and spoke to everyone from the Melbourne footy club. Look, there are 1000 things when I look back over it that could have been ever so slightly different and we would have had a better result.

“It’s regrettable and it’s disappointing. Because I don’t want that to be remembered as the moment from Melbourne’s great premiership victory.”

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