A MESSAGE TO ALL YOU WHINGEING VICTORIANS
WHAT is it going to take for Victorians to show West Australians some respect? You get the impression, once again, that in the eyes of Victorians, WA is an inconvenient pimple on the nation’s nose that won’t go away.
You could almost hear the collective sigh coming from across the Nullarbor when the West Coast Eagles beat Collingwood last week, to secure a preliminary final in Perth.
The idea that West Coast could, God forbid, possibly play off in a grand final on Saturday, September 29, has Victorians in a high state of anxiety.
In some quarters, the sigh was actually a loud groan.
Melbourne-based football journalist Tony Jones apparently reckons a grand final spot would be wasted on the Eagles because they apparently can’t perform at the MCG.
“I think it would be a waste of a spot in the grand final if they get there,” Jones said.
Didn’t the Eagles finish second on the ladder, behind Richmond?
And when it comes to home-and-away records consider this: Richmond in 2018 has played five games away from Victoria and lost four.
The Eagles have played 10 games away from their home State and won seven.
And we had Collingwood president-football commentator Eddie McGuire carrying on like a pork chop calling on the AFL to change its fixture for the preliminary finals because the winner of the Pies-Giants semifinal will have only a six-day break before meeting Richmond on Friday night.
“They have completely cocked this up, the AFL,” McGuire lamented after watching his club go down to West Coast last week. Cocked up?
I’ll tell you what was really cocked up Eddie — the fact that WA has been locked out of being able to host a grand final for the next 40 years after the AFL signed a deal with the Victorian Government to keep the grand final at the MCG until at least 2057!
That means that even if the Eagles and Fremantle Dockers finish top of the premiership ladder over the next four decades, they won’t be able to play in a grand final in their home State. How is that fair?
It’s been happy days for Victorian clubs for years.
In 2017, Adelaide finished top of the table. But they had to play a grand final at the MCG.
Richmond won. Happy days for the Victorians.
In 2016, Sydney finished first but had to play the Western Bulldogs at the MCG in the grand final.
The Bulldogs won. Happy days for the Victorians.
In 2015, West Coast finished second. Hawthorn finished third.
West Coast had to play out the grand final against the Hawks at the MCG.
Hawthorn won. Happy days for the Victorians.
And in 2014, Sydney finished first, played Hawthorn at the MCG in the grand final and lost. Happy days for the Victorians.
What did WA get, as part of a $225 million deal with the AFL to keep the grand final at the MCG?
Apparently, non-Victorian clubs in the so-called national competition will get more training opportunities at the MCG and charter flights to Melbourne for the grand final! Big deal.
I am sure I will be accused of taking a very simplistic view of the realities of the AFL. But maybe that’s because the Victorians seem to take a very simplistic view of WA.
When it suits, WA is OK, but when it doesn’t, WA is a pain in the butt.
WA Sports Minister Mick Murray summed it up beautifully yesterday when we laughed about the whingeing Victorians.
“To see them squawking is quite funny,” he said. “We drive the economy and we can also play sport. They hate it.”
WA has made a significant contribution to Australian Rules. Polly Farmer, for example, taught the Vics how to handball.
Non-Victorian clubs have every right to not only play in a grand final, but win them.
It is about time the Victorians accepted that football is now a national competition.