ARLC chairman Peter V’landys has launched a scathing attack on AFL officials over their bid to steal fans from rugby league heartland by staging the 2020 Grand Final at The Gabba.
The NRL’s rival code have been forced to play their grand final out of Melbourne for the first time in history due to the Coronavirus pandemic in Victoria.
The Daily Telegraph reported the AFL are hopeful of using the unfortunate situation to their advantage in a bid to gain a bigger foothold in Queensland.
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“They can huff and puff but they will never blow the house down because it’s solid brick,” V’landys told The Daily Telegraph.
“Our supporters are solid, they’re not straw. They can blow all they like but they won’t blow the brick wall down. Our rugby league supporters are strong, to say the least.
“All the huffing and puffing they are doing is not a concern.
“Queensland is part and parcel of rugby league. We’ve got the left arm in New South Wales and the right arm in Queensland. It’s a vital part of our game.
“Queensland is not just Brisbane. It’s from right up the top to the bottom.”
With the Brisbane Lions in contention for a drought-breaking flag in 2020 the AFL want to use the momentum to attract new fans to the sport.
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The Queensland government has also been played a key role in keeping the AFL season going, with 15 of the 18 teams currently in hubs up and down the state’s coast.
On the other hand Queensland’s rugby league teams have struggled this season, with the Titans, Cowboys and Broncos currently sitting 13th, 14th and 15th on the NRL ladder.
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The NRL has repeatedly refused to play a grand final in Queensland, which remains a sore point for the state’s passionate rugby league fans.
However V’landys isn’t worried about the AFL taking any rusted on NRL fans away from the game.
“It’s not of concern to us, good luck to the Queensland Government,” V’landys said.
“It’s a one-off situation. It’s not going to translate.
“It’s like feeding meat to a vegetarian. The vegetarian might try it for a few minutes but then goes back to being a vegetarian.”