Mark McGowan has banned footy stars, commentators including Eddie McGuire, fans from NSW and Victoria, and even players’ WAGs from the AFL Grand Final.
Perth was handed Australia’s biggest sporting match on September 25 as Melbourne, where it is usually held, battles a serious Covid outbreak.
Usually the host city would be flooded with thousands of fans along with commentators and club legends like McGuire, media, and players’ families.
But the notoriously tough-talking Western Australian premier confirmed only the barest essential people would be allowed to enter the state for the big day.
McGuire, 56, told Triple M Perth‘s Basil, Xav, and Jenna on Wednesday that the WA Government had denied him entry to the state.
Premier Mark McGowan has banned AFL stars, including commentator Eddie McGuire, and all NSW and Victorian footy fans from entering Western Australia for the AFL Grand Final – even if they are prepared to do 14 days of hotel quarantine
‘I’m disappointed,’ the sports commentator told the breakfast show hosts on Wednesday.
He added that it will be the first AFL Grand Final he will miss since 1972.
Mr McGowan was asked on Mix 94.5FM about McGuire’s rejection the state, despite the former Collingwood president claiming he was essential.
‘I’m trying to protect him from Western Australians, i’m doing it for his own good,’ he first joked, noting McGuire’s unpopularity in his state.
‘He’s not happy, he wanted to come in, but unfortunately Eddie can’t come, he’s not essential for the game so he has to stay in Melbourne.’
McGuire then went on Perth radio 6PR to complain that he was shut out, and had two days to get a second application accepted to make it there in time.
‘I applied for a G2G application or a permit to come in to work and cover the grand final, and it was rejected,’ he said.
‘If the Western Australian Police chief says: no we don’t think you are essential, then I cop that and I don’t have any protest what so ever.
‘I think that I qualify.’
The marquee clash at Optus Stadium is scheduled for September 25 and is expected to have a twilight start.
Perth will also host a semi-final and preliminary final in coming weeks, along with the Brownlow Medal count which will kick off grand-final week.
Thousands of fans are likely to also line the streets of Perth for a grand final parade.
WA Premier Mark McGowan says it will be a historic event for the state.
‘We’ve secured this event on our own terms and we’ve ensured that we’ve put in place the very strictest and strongest of protocols to protect West Australians,’ he told reporters.
‘It will be a great spectacle, a great event and showcase what our state has to offer.’
McGuire, 56, told Triple M Perth ‘s Basil, Xav and Jenna on Wednesday that the Western Australian government had denied him entry to the state
With WA having avoided any large-scale coronavirus outbreaks, Mr McGowan said only fans from virus-free states would be permitted entry and ‘very few’ exemptions would be granted for AFL officials to enter from Victoria.
‘We’ve run football over the course of the last two years during COVID in which teams come in in a COVID-safe way, it’s managed in accordance with all of the protocols and we haven’t had any problems,’ he said.
‘We’ll make sure we continue to do that over coming weeks.’
Optus Stadium will have a capacity of 61,266 for the grand final.
The stadium estimates that tourism associated with hosting the game could deliver up to $10 million to Perth’s hotels, restaurants and bars.
‘The grand final is the most important day of an AFL players’ career and is one of the great days in world sport,’ Optus Stadium chief Mike McKenna said.
‘We are looking forward to being able to deliver the very best in-person AFL experience to local fans who have shown time and time again that they love footy and will attend major events of all types.’
WA has a proud Australian Rules football history, having hosted games dating back to the 1880s and produced greats of the game including Indigenous champions Polly Farmer, Barry Cable, Peter Matera and Lance Franklin.