The Gabba in line for AFL Grand Final as footy moves north
The Gabba could be in line to host the 2020 AFL Grand Final, with Queensland playing a fundamental role in keeping the season going amid the Covid-19 crisis.
AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan has refused to enter the debate however, insisting the Grand Final is scheduled for the MCG until there are circumstances and reasons that it can’t be.
The tentative Grand Final date of October 24 has been brought forward to October 17 and it’s believed the start time will be shifted from the traditional 2:30pm timeslot to avoid a clash with the Caulfield Cup.
With most AFL teams set to be based in Queensland hubs for the bulk of the home and away season, no more regular-season games will be played in Victoria, however the AFL heartland may still play host to the finals series and Grand Final if the covid-19 situation improves.
The two Queensland sides will no doubt be the big winners from the AFL's move north, with Pointsbet 2020 odds showing the Brisbane Lions as one of the main contenders for the premiership, while the Gold Coast Suns' early form has also been impressive.
The AFL fixture is being released in blocks and the league will look to compress the schedule by playing 19 games in consecutive days. You can view the full updated fixture here on Austadiums and stream every match live on Kayo.
Metricon Stadium on the Gold Coast has taken a heavy workload in recent times and more games are expected to be played elsewhere over the coming weeks, including North Queensland with Cazaly’s Stadium an obvious choice, as well as TIO Stadium in Darwin.
Optus Stadium will host AFL action this weekend for the first time in a long time, while Adelaide Oval will also see the return of the Crows on Monday. However, both the WA and SA Government’s haven’t been forthcoming in helping the AFL get through the season, enforcing strict quarantine protocols for clubs.
Whether the Gabba is worthy of hosting an AFL Grand Final is another question. The 42,000-capacity stadium hasn’t had a major redevelopment since 2005, and while a lack of investment even saw the prospect of Test cricket being stripped from the venue, the Queensland Government has now stepped in.
A $35 million upgrade of the Brisbane venue is currently underway to modernise the Gabba and improve its facilities. Work is expected to be completed by October – just in time for a potential AFL Grand Final showpiece.
The fact remains though, a contract is in place for the AFL Grand Final to be held at the Melbourne Cricket Ground until 2047 and in today’s climate especially, there is loads of time between now and the end of October. Plenty can chance between now and then as we’ve seen over the past few months.