Queensland’s plan to dazzle AFL bosses in grand final bid


Queensland will today pitch a festival of football and glittering awards nights in a bid to bring the AFL Grand Final to Brisbane.

A working party including Gold Coast Suns chairman Tony Cochrane and Lions boss Greg Swann will make a video presentation to top brass from the AFL Commission to showcase the state's suitability as host for the first grand final to be staged outside of Melbourne in the 124-year history of the game.

Under the Queensland proposal, the traditional grand final parade would be scrapped due to COVID-safe regulations, but the sales pitch includes plans to host glittering functions for the Brownlow Medal, Rising Star and All-Australian awards.

Victoria is no chance of hosting this year's decider and despite loud noises from traditional AFL states including WA, insiders believe the grand final is Queensland's to lose after the State government's key role in helping to save the AFL season.

The Gabba’s chances of hosting the AFL Grand Final will ramp up today with a formal bid to the AFL.
The Gabba’s chances of hosting the AFL Grand Final will ramp up today with a formal bid to the AFL.

States have until Friday to make presentations to the AFL, with a decision likely to be made by next week.

WA last Friday made a passionate pitch for the game to be played at Perth's 60,000-seat Optus Stadium, with Queensland stakeholders to meet AFL bosses by video link this afternoon.

Working party chairman Mr Cochrane, a former CEO of V8 Supercars and the entertainment guru who has brought some of music's biggest names to Queensland, would not comment on details of the grand final proposal, but believes the bid has a 'fighting chance'.

"We'll give it our best shake," he said.

"This is one of the biggest sporting events in the country and we think we have a good fighting chance.

"The Queensland government has done an amazing job in enabling the season to progress and it has been a real pleasure to be able to host so many games here in Queensland.

"Of course, it would be even better to have one more."

Gold Coast Suns chairman Tony Cochrane
Gold Coast Suns chairman Tony Cochrane

The Gabba has the smallest capacity of any stadium vying for the grand final and it is likely to be considerably less due to COVID-safe plans, but that is unlikely to be a deal breaker for the AFL.

It is understood another selling point that will be used in the bid is a more than 30 per cent uplift in the Queensland television audience for AFL this year.

The Brownlow Medal, the awards night just as famous for the glamorous red carpet festivities as for the vote counting inside, could be held at either Star Gold Coast or the neighbouring Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Functions would also be held to celebrate the code's rising stars and All-Australian recipients.

The grand final parade is one of the major highlights of Grand Final Week, but it is understood that event will not form part of any Queensland bid due to difficulties policing social distancing along streets as crowds of spectators cheer on their sporting heroes.



Originally published as Queensland's plan to dazzle AFL bosses in grand final bid