THE HISTORIC 2020 Toyota AFL Grand Final at the Gabba has been awarded the Queensland Sport Event of the Year at the 2021 Queensland Sport Awards on Thursday night.
The 2020 Toyota AFL Grand Final between Richmond and Geelong Cats made history as the first AFL Grand Final played at the Gabba and marked the first occasion the event was held outside of Victoria in 123 years of competition.
Played at night for the first time, the 2020 Toyota AFL Grand Final welcomed a COVID capacity crowd of 29,707 people to the event, making it one of the largest crowds assembled anywhere in 2020.
The 2020 Toyota AFL Grand Final was one of four AFL-based finalists acknowledged at the 2021 QSport Awards, with Brisbane Lions AFLW Team (2021 XXXX Queensland Team of the Year), Brisbane Lions Women's CEO Breanna Brock (2021 Gallagher Queensland Administrator of the Year) and Brisbane Lions AFLW Premiership coach Craig Starcevich (2021 LGAQ Queensland Coach of the Year) recognised for their outstanding contribution to sport in Queensland.
Established in 1995, the annual Queensland Sport Awards serve to celebrate the achievements of athletes, coaches, officials, administrators and organisations.
AFL CEO, Gillon McLachlan, said it was an honour to receive the prestigious award and thanked everyone involved for making the 2020 Toyota AFL Grand Final possible.
“To every Queenslander who supported the game whether that was from the Gabba, their lounge rooms or their local footy ovals, thank you.
“I’d like to thank the Queensland Government, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, Minister Stirling Hinchliffe and former Minister Kate Jones for their support in backing us and enabling us to take the game to new heights in Queensland, as well as Brisbane City Council, Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner and the Department of Tourism, Innovation and Sport, including Tourism and Events Queensland and Stadiums Queensland who helped to ensure we brought the Grand Final to life.
“83 Toyota AFL Premiership games were played in the lead up to the Grand Final, as well as many more training sessions, and this couldn’t have been achieved without the support of Councils across Queensland including Cairns, Gold Coast, Moreton Bay, Sunshine Coast and Brisbane.
“I’d also like to acknowledge Toyota, and the AFL’s other major corporate partners and our broadcast partners, Channel Seven, Foxtel and Telstra, as well as all of the local Queensland musical/artistic talent who performed at the pre and halftime entertainment and helped us make it a Grand Final to be remembered forever.”
Head of AFL Queensland, Trisha Squires, said the legacy of hosting the 2020 Toyota AFL Grand Final at the Gabba has continued to thrive, with a record number of Queenslanders playing, supporting, and watching the game in 2021.
“Female participation continues to soar with women and girls making up 25 per cent of registered community football participants, while community NAB AFL Auskick numbers were up 31 per cent.
“We have also experienced year-on-year growth across our StreetSmarts AFLQ Schools Cup and strong junior participation that has contributed to the health of the game across the State.
“In addition, 2021 saw record-breaking TV ratings throughout the year in Queensland, while the Brisbane Lions and Gold Coast SUNS both set new all-time club membership records.”
As part of its commitment to leave a legacy in Queensland following the 2020 Toyota AFL Grand Final, the AFL and Queensland Government have established an $8million partnership to launch the AFL Queensland Grand Final Facilities Fund, that will provide community clubs, schools and local councils funding for the development of female-friendly changerooms, new ovals, and upgrades to existing fields and lighting.