SUNS Chairman Tony Cochrane is playing a key role in Queensland’s bid to host the 2020 AFL Grand Final and Brownlow later this year.
Cochrane was appointed as chair of the committee formed by Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, which presented to the AFL earlier this week.
Speaking on SEN, the SUNS Chairman said he thought Queensland was a deserving host for the AFL’s biggest events.
“We put in a very compelling bid here in Queensland and there’s lots of reasons behind that,” Cochrane said.
“We’re really respectful of the situation in Melbourne and very sorry for the people of Melbourne, they’re going through just a terrible time.
“But I think that in a funny sort of way, Queensland has kept the country ticking a bit in the sense that we’ve really been able to keep the AFL season going with everything we’ve achieved up here.
“From this week I think we’ve got 15 of the 18 sides now located here in South-East Queensland, the majority of which are on the Gold Coast.
“It’s been a tough time for the AFL industry and I’m of the opinion that I think we’ve really earnt our stripes this year to host the Grand Final if it can’t take place in its usual home of the MCG.”
If the proposal is given the green light by the AFL, Cochrane conceded the Grand Final would most likely be played at the Gabba and the Brownlow on the Gold Coast.
He said one of the major reasons why he was so personally invested in the bid was due to the widespread impact an event like the AFL Grand Final would have on the growth of the game in Queensland.
“We had nearly 300,000 registered girls and boys, young men and women play the game this year, that’s up from 100,000, 10 years ago,” Cochrane said.
“We’ve got over 600 teams now in schools in South-East Queensland and that was up from 125 four years ago.
“The growth is just fantastic… we think we can have 120-150,000 girls and boys taking up our great Indigenous game over the next five to six years because of this.
“We think it’s going to absolutely propel us into a very, very special place with the take-up of our great game so that’s really important.”
The Grand Final isn’t the only showpiece event to be relocated this year, Metricon Stadium is also a prime candidate to host finals football in a month’s time and will have hosted 42 home and away games this season, which Cochrane says is on par with the MCG in a regular year.