BEHIND THE DESK: Does QLD deserve the AFL decider?
QUEENSLAND and Aussie rules, they just don't seem to mix.
But that argument is a thing of the past. Sure, the Brisbane Lions and Gold Coast Suns have long been cellar dwellers in the AFL, but times are changing.
In a state that has long been dominated by rugby league, AFL is starting to take hold and the circumstances of COVID-19 have only boosted the game's profile up north.
Earning their time in the spotlight away from AFL mad Melbourne, along with Adelaide and Perth, Queensland has been a home away from home for most of the competition's clubs over this period and I believe they rightfully deserve to hold the grand final.
Sure, the Gabba has seen better days and many would argue that based on venue Optus Stadium or Adelaide Oval were far more suitable, but Western Australian and South Australian State Government's were never really in it.
From a local perspective, I have seen the Grafton Tigers and AFL North Coast as a whole thriving this season and the forgotten parts of northern NSW are starting to gain momentum as rugby league is put on the backburner.
Will AFL ever overthrow league? Not any time soon but it's great to see a challenger as the governing bodies in rugby league start to grow complacent at the top.
The efforts of the Queensland NRL teams may also be hurting the sport up north this season but there is no doubt the two powerhouse sides in the Brisbane Broncos and North Queensland Cowboys will be back, as the Gold Coast Titans continue to show glimpses of hope.
While the migration of the competition to Queensland has had a big impact this season, the success of the Lions and the Suns this year is a sign of great things to come and this grand final will always be one to remember, for better or worse.