Perth Stadium is sniffing around the AFL Grand Final as Tigers coach Damien Hardwick gave his tick of approval to the venue, should the MCG not be able to host the event.
Saturday night’s Dreamtime contest between Richmond and Essendon doubled as a Grand Final audition of sorts — and Perth passed with flying colours with more than 55,000 pouring through the gates for the all-Victorian showdown.
Asked after a 39-point win if Optus Stadium is a “worthy” alternative Grand Final venue, Hardwick said: “It is one of the best stadiums in the country, absolutely.
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AFL: Richmond were too good for Essendon on Saturday, striding away from the Bombers in the final quarter at Optus Stadium….
AFL: Richmond were too good for Essendon on Saturday, striding away from the Bombers in the final quarter at Optus Stadium.
“The crowds for what we have here are absolutely phenomenal. The Tiger army, we are very fortunate they follow us near and far.”
The Dreamtime fixture took just 17 hours to sell out, proving Perth’s ability to successfully host a showcase AFL event on short notice.
The Herald Sun reported on Saturday that Perth Stadium is confident that it could pull off hosting September’s Grand Final, should it need to be ripped out of Victoria for the second year running.
Perth Stadium boss Mike McKenna told the publication: “We’ll be ready”.
“People in Western Australia, South Australia or even Tasmania have put in a lot over the years to make the game what it is today and deserve to be part of the celebration of those events,” McKenna told the Herald Sun.
“We were ready last year, and we’ll be ready this year.
“We had a very serious crack at it and we think the bid we put in got their serious attention.”
Victoria is under Stage 3 coronavirus restrictions but has time on its side with the Grand Final still more than three months away.
The state’s number of active cases on Sunday was 85 after two new local cases were recorded on Saturday.
Originally published asRival city preparing to steal AFL Grand Final
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