NSW Premier Mike Baird is showing outrageous confidence in his state’s two AFL finalists, declaring one of them will win this year’s flag and predicting they will meet again in the grand final.
The first all-Sydney AFL finals game will happen on Saturday week at ANZ Stadium with the minor premiership-winning Swans playing the fourth-placed Giants.
It will be the first of three successive weekends a final will be played in Sydney.
“The dream is a Swans-Giants grand final, I don’t think that’s much of a dream anymore – I think that’s going to be a reality,” Premier Baird said.
“I’ll call it here first: I’ve got no doubt that one of these two teams are going to win the grand final this year.”
The Premier wasn’t about to offend supporters of either Sydney club, saying he was a fan of both.
He wasn’t quite so diplomatic towards Victoria, cheekily suggesting an all-Sydney grand final should be shifted to the Harbour City.
“I’ve already told the premier of Victoria that I look forward to a Swans-Giants grand final. Wouldn’t that be sweet?” Premier Baird said.
“The only question would have to be why on earth would you have to go to Melbourne to play it. That’s really the point.
“We can have it here (in Sydney).”
Sydney hasn’t been renowned as a hotbed of Australian rules, but Premier Baird suggested that was changing and aimed another tongue-in-cheek verbal dart at Melbourne.
“The AFL is undoubtedly catching a light here in this great city and across the state,” he said.
“I think we’re going to show those Melburnians how to play AFL (sic) over the coming weeks.”
NSW Minister for Sport Stuart Ayres was in an equally bullish and hyperbolic mood when it came to spruiking the significance of his state’s first AFL finals derby, describing it as a “battle for the ages”.
“Just get out to ANZ Stadium on September 10th and look at one of the all-time great blockbusters of AFL,” Mr Ayres said.