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Victoria hurts in lead up to AFL final -

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Broadcast: 20/09/2004

Victoria hurts in lead-up to AFL final

Reporter: Mary Gearin

KERRY O'BRIEN: Next Saturday's AFL grand final will mark a historic watershed in Australian Rules
football.

From the time Aussie rules was opened up to genuine national competition, it was only a matter of
time, I guess, before Victoria's vice-like grip on the game's richest prize was broken.

So over the past 12 years Victorian fans have had to suffer grand final losses to teams from South
Australia, the West and, more recently, Queensland.

But never before has a Victorian team failed to at least contest a grand final.

Next Saturday, when the Brisbane Lions and Adelaide's Port Power run onto the MCG.

Die-hard Victorian fans will be left to mutter through gritted teeth that "the result is good for
football".

Mary Gearin reports.

COMMENTATOR: Port by a straight kick.

And they are there.

The first time the Power are in a grand final.

FAN: It's good for South Australia.

MARY GEARIN: This was the penultimate nail in the coffin for Victorian teams.

COMMENTATOR: There it is.

MARY GEARIN: And this buried parochial dreams forever.

LIONS FAN: You're going to see history next week, history, we're going to take four in a row.

MARY GEARIN: Do you think people are going to be upset, you know, that it's going to be an all
interstate grand final?

LIONS FAN #2: We don't care!

We're in again.

MARY GEARIN: The inevitable has finally happened, a grand final fought between two teams based
outside the Aussie rules traditional stronghold.

Port Adelaide and Brisbane will make history - watched with some satisfaction by those who helped
build the national competition.

Is this the moment you've been waiting for?

WAYNE JACKSON, FORMER AFL CHIEF EXECUTIVE: No, I don't think it's the moment I've been waiting for
but I think it is a watershed time for the Australian Football League to have two non-Victorian
teams in the grand final.

It's fantastic.

ALLEN AYLETT, FORMER VFL PRESIDENT: Well, it's about time, all right, because it is now 25 years
since we started this push for a national competition, and to me it's very, very timely.

In fact, I think it's sensational.

MARY GEARIN: Of course, Victorians aren't overreacting.

The fact both preliminary finals were so hard-fought against the two form teams of the past few
seasons was comfort for many.

FAN #3: It's the AFL, the two best sides are playing off in the grand final, so be it.

FAN #4: Rubbish, rubbish, there should be a Victorian club.

MARY GEARIN: Why's that?

FAN #4: It's patriotic, it's the game, it's the Victorian game, there should be a Victorian team.

MIKE RANN, SOUTH AUSTRALIAN PREMIER: There's always been more than a suspicion that the powers that
be in football, or some of them at least, still sort of think in terms of the VFL.

ALLEN AYLETT: They are two worthy teams to be playing in a grand final and I am certain they will
pack the Melbourne Cricket Ground and we look forward to a wonderful day.

MARY GEARIN: Former All-Australian player Allan Aylett, now recognises as a dental surgeon that
pain is sometimes needed.

for the greater good.

And as VFL chief two decades ago, it was the argument he used against critics of the very first
move towards a national league, when the suburban South Melbourne team was transplanted to Sydney
amid much bitterness.

COUNCILLOR BERT JONES, MAYOR OF SOUTH MELBOURNE: Well, we believe the whole thing is a disaster,
the football club of course is part of our history, and belongs to South Melbourne.

ALLEN AYLETT: Yes, there were a lot of people in opposition and our family, in particular the
Aylett family in particular, came under a lot of flak, and things happened to us - police guard,
human faeces in our swimming pools and letter box.

I mean, all those sorts of things were par for the course when this revolutionary step was taken.

MARY GEARIN: The growing pains haven't totally disappeared.

There's discontent that Brisbane still receives concessions it qualifies for as a club in a
non-AFL-loving State, and will do so until 2006.

Over the last four years, the Lions have been allowed to spend an estimated $2 million more on
their players than any other club except Sydney.

At the same time they've won three flags and are favourites to win a record-equalling fourth in a
row.

ALLEN AYLETT: I think it is timely that those concessions were wound back.

The game is certainly established now in Queensland and that's what we set out to do.

MARY GEARIN: As former footy chief Wayne Jackson left Saturday night's game, some friendly souls
reminded him of the concessions he helped implement.

MAN: (Yells) How much more money for Brisbane?

WAYNE JACKSON: They've got a great group of players who are playing for a lot less in monetary
terms than some of the players in the Melbourne sides, so I guess we could debate that for a long,
long time.

MARY GEARIN: Not surprisingly, Queensland Premier Peter Beattie says not only is the money still
needed - one day he even wants to wrestle the grand final away from the MCG.

PETER BEATTIE, QUEENSLAND PREMIER: If a State can prove it's got the ground and the facilities then
I think if you've got like we've got now, two non-Victorian clubs in the grand final, then in 10
years' time that should be consideration as to where the grand final is held.

ALLEN AYLETT: This might be the 1,000th step.

I think that we would be looking at the 1 millionth step for that to happen.

MARY GEARIN: So, spare a thought for footy's heartland.

For the first time in grand final week, local clubs are staying lonely and silent, leaving Brisbane
coach Leigh Matthews to wonder how many Victorians will turn up to the 'G.

LEIGH MATTHEWS, BRISBANE COACH: I don't know the answer to that.

I assume they'll turn up.

MIKE RANN: There's going to be swarms and swarms of Brisbane supporters and there's going to be a
whole lot of us from Port Adelaide coming across the border.

That's got to be good for tourism in Melbourne and, as I said, it might sort of raise the average
level of IQ in Melbourne just for a day.

KERRY O'BRIEN: Very cheeky!

Mary Gearin reporting.

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