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Sport MCG turf publicity stunt blows up in AFL's face

04:41  23 october  2020
04:41  23 october  2020 Source:   wwos.nine.com.au

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A sanctimonious gesture to relocate a patch of grass from the MCG to the Gabba as the AFL prepares for its first grand final away from the state of Victoria has fallen flat on its face, right on queue.

In one of the more bizarre stories to come out of the league's COVID affected season, a three-metre-by-one-metre patch of 'hallowed' MCG turf was placed in a refrigerated truck and hauled up to Brisbane, with the idea to 'put the G in the Gabba' ahead of Saturday's final between Richmond and Geelong.

The idea was widely panned when it was first announced last week. It was characterised as a resource wasting stunt amid a challenging financial environment that has seen countless employees at the AFL lose their jobs, aimed at gratifying the Victorian gate-keepers of the game.

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And when the tuft was eventually laid in Brisbane overnight, the reality of the situation was far more underwhelming than even the harshest of critics could have imagined.

For starters, the sacred piece of turf wasn't even laid on the field but arbitrarily placed over the boundary line, resembling some type of pot-hole that had been hastily patched up by groundskeepers.

It will be a miracle if a player doesn't roll their ankle on it, let alone if a few stars even walk over it throughout the course of the three-hour event.

When the transplant was finally revealed to the world, the response from fans and pundits couldn't have framed it any better.

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Several greats of the game didn't shy away from airing their apathy about the gesture.

Hawthorn premiership great Shane Crawford called it "ridiculous", while ex-Demons player Bernie Vince went further as he teed off on the stunt.

"I've never heard anything so stupid in all my life," Vince told Triple M radio.

"F--k me. What if it had have been Port v Brisbane? They wouldn't give a f--k!"

Former Adelaide Crows player Stephen Rowe said: "This is the dopiest decision this year. The look of it stinks.

https://twitter.com/DHughesy/status/1316517198811209733

"It just plays into the hands of those of us that think it's still the VFL. Could they be any more insecure?

"If Richmond actually win through and as a team they kneel down and kiss that patch of turf, I'll spew up.

"Don't hide behind a sponsor paying for it … Mark Marketing would have rung a dopey sponsor and said, 'Can you help cover the cost?'

"This would be thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars. I hope every cent of it goes into junior football and game development."

The move was orchestrated by Australian sporting goods store and AFL sponsor Rebel Sport, which is understood to have funded the initiative.

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