The biggest event for the AFL is heading to Perth for the first time in history after Optus Stadium was announced as the host of the 2021 grand final.
The grand final will be held on September 25 on its traditional last Saturday of the month, with the finalists still to be determined.
With no crowd restrictions currently in place in Perth, AFL boss Gillon McLachlan said a sell-out of 60,000 could be expected.
In a statement released by the AFL, McLachlan thanked the WA Government and Premier Mark McGowan for hosting the grand final and welcoming the AFL to the State.
“Western Australian footy fans are as passionate as any in the country and the stadium in Perth, with a capacity crowd of 60,000 in attendance, will be a great spectacle, not only for the city of Perth but for all footy fans around the world,” he said.
“The grand final event and the extensive lead-up across the WA community, including weeks two and three of this year’s finals series, will go a long way to leaving a lasting legacy in the State for many years to come.”
This is potentially a once-in-a-lifetime event for WA football fans as well as an opportunity to pay homage to the AFL/VFL legends who come from Western Australia or have represented the State.
Former Brisbane and Fremantle star Des Headland knows the excitement of a premiership and said holding the grand final in Perth was a fantastic opportunity for the city and for WA.
“I am excited. We have had a long history of football over here in the west, it’s going to be a great spectacle and I look forward to seeing how it unfolds in the next couple of weeks.”
As a Lions premiership player, Headland says the opportunity to have players from the east coast who come from WA play in front of a home crowd is historic in itself.
“To get to come back and play on home soil in front of your family and friends is always a great moment and to do it on the big stage would be very special,” he said.
McLachlan is ensuring the celebration in Perth will be just as grand as every other year and he is making sure it is done right with a push for local WA entertainment and holding the annual parade.
“This is the single biggest day of sport on the Australian calendar, and we want to do it properly,” McLachlan said.
“Perth is going to do it properly and we’re going to lead-in properly. That’s the opportunity by playing in Western Australia and that’s what we’ll do.
“It’s going to be a big week. The logistics of a full parade are challenging, but we’ll have an opportunity to present the teams and celebrate this cup that is so hard fought and won.”
Headland told NIT it would be great to see local WA talent perform on the night and he is looking forward to seeing the Welcome to Country to start proceedings.
Mr McGowan has hinted at the possibility of a local band, such as Birds of Tokyo, performing — as well as having the annual grand final parade.
By Teisha Cloos