ARL Commission chairman Peter V’landys has fired a cheeky shot back at the AFL, labelling the Grand Final a “second-rate event” after reports that it could move to Sydney this season.
V’landys’ jab at the AFL came after Collingwood president Eddie McGuire claimed that the prospect of a Grand Final in New South Wales would be the NRL powerbroker’s “worst nightmare”.
Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald, V’landys said he would have no issues with Sydney hosting the AFL Grand Final this year due to Victoria’s COVID-19 crisis.
“Naturally, they’d want to bring it to the best city in the world. I don’t begrudge them on that,” he said.
“And they may want to spend some time at the Opera House and Sydney Harbour rather than some of their landmarks. I welcome it. It’s the best city in the world, we should have a few second-rate events. That’s no problem.”
Despite the cross-code jabs between the NRL and the AFL, V’landys was full of praise for McGuire, saying that rugby league could a figure who champions the game like McGuire does for the AFL.
“I think the AFL is very, very fortunate to have someone like Eddie McGuire. He’s a personality. He has the sport in the headlines at all times,” he said.
“I love the way he tries to get under our skin, and I wish we had someone of a similar stature in rugby league.
“I don’t think the AFL people appreciate him as much as he should be because he’s always prepared to go out on a limb – you don’t have to agree or disagree with him but he’s certainly good for their sport.”
The potential move to Sydney for this year’s Grand Final has also been supported by GWS Giants chairman Tony Shepherd, who backed ANZ Stadium as the host venue.
“They’ve invested heavily in the northern states and expanding the code, follow your money,” Shepherd told 2GB’s Wide World of Sports Radio on Thursday.
“This is a great opportunity to showcase AFL in Sydney. The Giants played the Swans in 2016 in the qualifying final at ANZ (and) there was over 60,000 people there. It was a fantastic event.”