Gold Coast Suns CEO Mark Evans has made a bold proposal to the AFL, suggesting that all Victorian clubs should play their first-week home finals at interstate venues. This radical idea aims to address competitive fairness, considering the Grand Final is guaranteed to be held at the MCG until 2059.

Evans argues that moving Victorian clubs’ home finals interstate would help balance the competition. This proposal comes amid ongoing concerns from non-Victorian teams about the perceived advantage Victorian teams have with the Grand Final consistently held at the MCG.

The Proposal

Evans’ proposal, as reported by Jon Ralph of the Herald Sun, is based on the premise of achieving competitive fairness. He contends that if the Grand Final remains at the MCG, Victorian clubs should be required to play their first-week finals at away venues. This suggestion is part of a broader effort to ensure a level playing field in the AFL.

Academy Talent Protection

In addition to the finals venue proposal, Evans strongly believes that the Suns’ access to their Academy talent should not be reduced. The Gold Coast Suns have developed significant talent through their Academy, with players like Jed Walter, Jake Rogers, Ethan Read, and Will Graham making their mark at the AFL level this year. Emerging talents like Bodhi Uwland’s younger brother, Zeke, and Leo Lombard are also part of the Suns’ Academy and are eligible for the draft soon.

Evans insists that the Suns should not face any dilution of their Academy’s effectiveness, especially given the limited opportunities they have to play at the MCG compared to other teams.

Competitive Fairness

Evans’ bold proposal aims to highlight the inequities faced by non-Victorian teams. According to Ralph, Evans points out that if Victorian teams were forced to play an away Grand Final, they would strongly oppose it. This underlines the perception among non-Victorian teams that the current arrangement is unfair.

Ralph further emphasizes that non-Victorian clubs have struggled on the big stage in recent years, with Victorian teams winning eight out of the last ten Grand Finals against non-Victorian sides, despite some strong non-Victorian favorites.

A Call for Balance

Speaking to the Herald Sun, Evans acknowledged the reasons for keeping the Grand Final at the MCG, such as tradition, contracts, and revenue. However, he believes that the AFL should seek a balance to address the competitive advantage enjoyed by Victorian teams.

Evans suggests that flipping the advantage in the first week of the finals could compensate non-Victorian teams for not having the Grand Final advantage. He proposes that if a Victorian team earns the right to a home final, they should play it at an interstate venue to level the playing field.

The Bigger Picture

Evans’ proposal challenges the AFL to consider the broader implications of fairness and integrity in the competition. He questions why an advantage accepted in the Grand Final should not be addressed in the earlier stages of the finals. His bold suggestion aims to spark a conversation about equity in the AFL and the need to rethink long-standing traditions and contracts to achieve a fairer competition for all teams.

Mark Evans’ proposal to move Victorian clubs’ home finals interstate is a bold and controversial idea that seeks to address competitive fairness in the AFL. By highlighting the inequities faced by non-Victorian teams, Evans hopes to initiate a broader discussion about balancing the competition and ensuring a level playing field for all teams.

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