AFL Grand Final Breakfast Goes Virtual

By AAP
October 23, 2020 Updated: October 23, 2020

AFL head Gillon McLachlan has one wish for fans on grand final day – no more Zoom calls.

The day has started as usual with the North Melbourne grand final breakfast, but like everything else in 2020, it is completely different.

Usually a high-powered function featuring the AFL chief executive, politicians and business leaders, coronavirus restrictions meant it could only go ahead as a virtual event.

Fans paid for a breakfast hamper, plus there were pre-recorded video messages from Prime Minister Scott Morrison, McLachlan and comedian Dave Thornton, cooking tips featuring Kangaroos player Luke McDonald and a footy panel featuring former AFL stars David King and Nick Dal Santo.

In his message, McLachlan reflected on the lighter side of a brutal year.

“Bad haircuts, mullets, no haircuts, bad wifi, ‘you’re on mute’ – this season has had it all,” he said.

“If there’s one message I have for all footy fans and I say this from the bottom of my heart, I hope none of us have to do a Zoom call ever again.”

In a nod to well-inked Richmond star Dustin Martin, McLachlan also joked if the Tigers beat Geelong on Saturday night, the Victorian government should open all tattoo parlours for 48 hours.

“It would turn the Victorian economy around immediately, they would be in surplus by Tuesday,” he said.

He also paid tribute to Cats great Gary Ablett, who will retire after the match.

“It’s still not certain you’re the best player in your family,” he said, referring to Gary Ablett Snr.

The prime minister played a straight bat in his speech, paying tribute to the AFL.

“In this tough year, particularly down there in Victoria, we count and celebrate the wins wherever we find them,” Morrison said.

“I am so proud of what your code, the AFL, has achieved.

“Today is happening because an entire code stepped up.”

This year will be the first time the grand final has been played outside Victoria, something Morrison called “unimaginable”, as he noted how unusual the season has been.

“I know there are some real mixed feelings down there in Melbourne – our traditions have been turned on their head,” he said.

“The grand final is part of Melbourne’s soul. Every Australian understands that.”

He said sport had “served us well” during the pandemic and the MCG, like the rest of the country, would be back to “full speed” next year.

Roger Vaughan in Melbourne