Remarks at the North Melbourne Football Club Grand Final Breakfast, Etihad Stadium, Melbourne
Posted on Saturday, 29 September 2012
Thanks very much for the opportunity yet again to salute the AFL Grand Finalists.
I didn’t think I’d be invited again after last year’s speech, but Meatloaf got the sack and I’ve been given a second chance!
Andrew Demetriou told me he just wanted a short humble speech and who better to be brief and humble than an Australian politician?
Ladies and gentlemen, I’ve got a few things wrong over the years, but almost nothing as wrong as my perception of Aussie Rules. I now admit that the game we Sydneysiders used to call 'aerial ping-pong' involves more athleticism than just about any sport. Top Aussie Rules players need to be as fast as sprinters, as fit as marathon runners, as strong as weightlifters and as graceful as dancers.
I thank all responsible for my Aussie Rules re-education - starting with Jobe Watson, who taught me to handball at Windy Hill two years ago and I congratulate him on his Brownlow win this year. I’m pleased there’s no best and fairest award for politicians, because I don’t think I’d ever win it.
I salute both teams taking part today. Hawthorn have been the most consistent performers all year and are deserved favourites. Sydney have been the quiet achievers all season and had a crowd-pleasing win against Collingwood last weekend.
As for my team, Greater Western Sydney, they did really well, coming eighteenth, just behind the Gold Coast Suns. No one should knock coming last on percentage, because that’s what happened to me after the last election and next year, we at GWS are going to beat the Gold Coast Suns. Now, beating the Gold Coast Suns for the wooden spoon is a bit like Australia beating Luxembourg to get a seat on the UN Security Council, but we Sydneysiders take our triumphs wherever we can.
Ladies and gentlemen, as a resident of the city long regarded as Melbourne’s poor relation, all I ask for today is a fair go. Sydney might have the world’s best harbour, but Melbourne has the 'G and this is only the fourth time that our team has been in the Grand Final of the world’s greatest game. So, please spare a thought for us and give us at least a cheer when we score our first goal.
Finally, ladies and gentlemen, as the father of three girls, the Abbott family thought it was good to have a female Prime Minister, but nothing, nothing at all, beats Chelsea Roffey’s effort today becoming the first woman to officiate at an AFL Grand Final.
Thanks so much.