The Aussie punter was again in top form for the Seahawks… shame his teammates couldn’t lift with him.
The Lord Mayor of Perth Basil Zempilas has come under fire on Twitter for suggesting the crowd applaud for a minute at the 20:21 mark of the first quarter in support of those living in lockdown around the country.
UPDATE: It appears the crowd did not heed Zempilas instruction – with no applause detected on the Channel Seven coverage of the grand final.
TOMORROW @OptusStadium – 20.21 in the first quarter #AFLGF
– we’re asking everyone in the stadium to stand for one minute and applaud – a nod to our friends around the country who are doing it tough & to let them know we’re with them in this difficult time. Let’s do it WA ????????????
— Basil Zempilas (@BasilZempilas) September 23, 2021
But the former Channel Seven commentator’s idea was met with a mostly negative reception on the social network, with users complaining about the tone-deaf nature of the gesture.
Some pointed out that people at a sports event applauding those in lockdown just rubbed further salt in the wound.
Please don’t do this. Read the room.
They’re in lockdown and missed out on hosting the Grand Final and you’re gonna get ppl to clap and cheer, to what? Rub it in?
— Esther Lim (@estherlimtf) September 24, 2021
This in theory is a nice initiative but considering the political and social context towards WA during the pandemic, it’s patronising. Many of my friends from WA always seem to enjoy talking about how great recent years have been and how great WA is with no slither of empathy
— Jemma Wilson (@jemma_wil) September 24, 2021
Others said the notion of solidarity was absurd in the face of Western Australia’s notoriously strict border stance.
No offence but this is a horse shit idea. I couldn't go to Perth last year for my grandmother's funeral. My brother and nieces haven't met my almost 2 year old son. WAs borders are constantly closed off to the rest. Don't give us the "we are all in this together" crap.
— Adam Hoskins (@hosko) September 24, 2021
Mate the last thing we need is to be reminded about our endless lockdown by people who aren’t under lockdown. Why don’t we just enjoy the game?
— Tim Richards (@Aerohaveno) September 24, 2021
Problem is WA is soooo NOT "with" the rest of Australia… just listen to your Premier/Emporer. Please take this minute and instead take it to think long and hard about if WA really wants to be part of Australia anymore. Either way, "over east".. we're fine with the decision.
— x4jw (@x4jw) September 24, 2021
Some defended Zempilas and criticised what they called unnecessary negativity.
Why is Baz copping so much shit for this gesture?? Just a fairly generous idea I would have thought
— Tim (@Tom074009) September 24, 2021
Cant win. People are actually annoyed at trying to show solidarity for those doing it rough. Whats wrong with ppl.. honestly
— Douglas (@JuDougie) September 24, 2021
Others just took the opportunity to take the mickey.
Thanks Basil, just want to give you a bit of an insight to the Saturday afternoon team. We’re a bunch of unique individuals. Malthouse, Harley, Zampilas, McLaughlin and myself. We’re gunna exchange ideas, thoughts and even our energies, and to speak from your heart you need to
— Dylan (@DylanJ67) September 23, 2021
The AFL grand final takes place tonight in Perth. It’s the first time the grand final has been played in Western Australia and is the second straight season COVID outbreaks have forced Melbourne to surrender the decider to an interstate city.
Zempilas was elected Lord Mayor of Perth in October 2020, which saw him step down from his role as football commentator with Seven – which he’d held since 2012.
Optus Stadium is in the suburb of Burswood, which sits outside Zempilas’ jurisdiction in the council area of Victoria Park.