K rock Football

Boss proud but job not done yet

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan is thrilled a season he feared may never have restarted is about to enter finals but he’s warning the job’s not done yet.

McLachlan officially launched this year’s finals campaign at a sun-soaked Brisbane hotel, reflecting Queensland’s status as the home of the competition during a remarkable year.

Just being in position to hold a finals series looked impossible in March when the competition was shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since then teams and staff have been uprooted and moved interstate from across the country to complete a campaign which will end with the first AFL/VFL grand final outside Victoria on October 24.

McLachlan said whoever secures this year’s premiership will be a deserving champion.

“The team that wins the premiership will go down as one of the all-time greats – and I sincerely believe that – for they will achieve success in what will go down as one of the most challenging seasons in the history of our game,” McLachlan said.

The AFL CEO was flanked at Monday’s launch by Brisbane Lions’ great Simon Black, who will be presenting the premiership cup to the winning team.

Dual premiership player Byron Pickett will present the Norm Smith Medal with legendary coaching figure Malcolm Blight to hand over the Jock McHale Medal to the premiership-winning coach.

This weekend’s finals series will start with sold-out crowds in Adelaide (24,000), Perth (35,000) and Brisbane (28,000).

A crowd of over 30,000 is expected for the grand final, with a final figure yet to be determined as COVID regulations continue to fluctuate.

“I’m a big believer in karma, we’ve got nine games to go,” McLachlan said.

“It’s been an amazing year … it’s just been a power of work.

“We’re not there yet, but I think beyond getting it done, it’s been a compelling season.”

© AAP 2020