AFL breach puts the joke on us
YOU do someone a good turn and they spit in your face.
Far from showing gratitude at having their competition saved, selfish AFL players have treated the Queensland's government - and it's wider population - with utter contempt. The entire competition is on notice now.
Queensland owes them nothing.
"AFL players in brawl outside strip club'' was the headline no-one expected days after Queensland bent over backwards and sideways to gain hosting rights to the AFL grand final, a reward for saving the entire competition.
But don't laugh folks. The joke's on you and everyone living in Queensland trying to do their best to adapt to COVID-19 protocols.
What a disgrace. It is not beyond the realms of possibility the actions of two arrogant, strip-club-visiting players will cost Labor next month's state election which is already wobbling on a knife's edge.
The bookmakers can barely split them and one public relations disaster could be enough to tilt it either way. Could this be it?
Don't underestimate the fallout if the COVID-19 breaching continues through the next month. The kudos of getting the grand final is far less than the negative vibe in danger of sweeping the community that Queensland has played favourites with a sporting group which is refusing to play by the rules.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has sanctioned a border protection system in which boarding students, some pregnant women and others with recent brain surgery have struggled to cross or had been turned away.
Yet, in a class system which has never been part of Labor's traditional mandate, she has taken a gamble by rolling out the red carpet for the AFL players to exist in a bubble which will save their season.
The one thing Labor could not afford, with an election looming, was AFL players treating the bubble with contempt which Richmond's two buffoons did, thereby making a mockery of the decision to give them gold pass access to the state.
It's hard to imagine a more blatant breach than having a fight outside a strip club.
If the players had been given orders to attract as much attention to themselves as possible they could not have done a better job right down to getting scratched from the brawl.
Does anyone seriously think it was their first time out? Does anyone seriously think there are not other AFL players repeatedly breaching the bubble?
We keep hearing that there have been other breaches from AFL players on the coast that have gone unnoticed.
Only last week Caroline Wilson, the respected Melbourne journalist who has supported Richmond all her life, said she was becoming increasingly concerned by the side's behaviour. She saw it coming. Richmond's bosses, renowned for having a fairly healthy opinion of their own ability, evidently didn't.
Border protection is a tricky, imperfect business which involves rubbery rules and constant tinkering and the occasional honest mistake.
It's not easy and Palaszczuk has done a solid job for sports fans to land the grand final.
But there was always a cost and a risk. Television images of AFL families frolicking in the pool raises the hackles of others forced to quarantine after entering the state.
That was not ideal for the government but no train wreck. But the conduct of these two Richmond players calls everything into question.
Many other AFL players will consider themselves lucky not to have been caught out.
The Queensland Premier will be desperately keen to have no more incidents before the October 31 election.
Deep down she must fear the damage may already have been done.
Originally published as AFL breach puts the joke on us