WA Premier says he’d ‘like to see’ Perth AFL decider but won’t risk state’s health to host it

WA Premier Mark McGowan says he would love to see the AFL grand final held in Perth this year but, unlike other states, he won’t be “crawling over broken glass” to host it.

Mr McGowan on Friday confirmed the AFL had contacted his government about the possibility of bringing the 2021 decider to Optus Stadium as states on the eastern seaboard battle Covid-19 outbreaks.

The Premier said currently Perth was being considered as a “contingency” plan and that he was not prepared to buckle on his state’s strict border controls in order to make it happen.

After announcing zero new cases in WA on Friday, Mr McGowan said it was “too early” to know whether he would allow sponsors and players’ families to cross the border for the showpiece event.

“Our number one priority is to keep our state safe. Football obviously is second to that,” he said.

“But we’ll work with the AFL and if we were to hold the grand final here it would be great, but it would be done in a Covid safe way … and based upon medical advice.

“So we wouldn’t do anything to risk the people here. I know other states, sort of, you know, would crawl over broken glass for it.

“It’d be good, it’d be great fun and a great event, but whatever we do, we’ll do in a safe way to make sure we don’t allow the import of the virus into WA.”

Mr McGowan said WA was a football state and hosting the big dance would be a “historic” moment “and we’d like to see it, but it can only happen if it’s done in a safe way”.

“So we wouldn’t compromise on the health requirements as expressed by our chief health officer.”

He also said there would be no interstate tourism allowed for the game, pencilled in for September 25, “unless the borders come down by then”.

He said he wanted to see Melbourne and Victoria recover as soon as possible from its latest lockdown and was confident the Victorian government, which was dong a “great job”, would get its outbreak under control.

If the grand final was moved from Melbourne for the second consecutive year, it would once again be taken away from its spiritual home of the MCG.

In 2020 Richmond and Geelong battled for the flag at Brisbane’s Gabba in what was the first time the AFL’s biggest event was staged outside Victoria.

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Author: Shirley