Perth people are accused of being parochial by many of the other states in Australia, and being the most isolated city in the world that tendency should be forgiven. However lately it feels very much as if this great sporting state is no longer a part of Australia.
In football Perth Glory were snubbed the chance to host the inaugural FFA Cup final, because the game would be too late for the television audiences over East; thanks to Australian Summer time and some states moving the clocks forward and others choosing not to.
Then the state was completely overlooked in everyday when it came to the Asia Cup currently being hosted successfully on the East coast. No ambassadors in Western Australia, no fan parks, and ABC television advertising every Socceroos game live, but then showing it on delay.
Now cricket has to suffer a similar indignity. The Perth Scorchers have been advised that they must play the final of the Big Bash League in Canberra despite earning the right to host the final for the fourth successive season.
Gone will be the support of Western Australian cricket fans and they will have to play in front of a crowd that is bound to have a very strong bias towards the Sydney Sixers. Is this Cricket Australia’s way of saying they want the title to be won by an Eastern States team?
In the first three years of the BBL, the highest-ranked team staged the final. On all three occasions, the Perth Scorchers were that team and hosted the match at the WACA Ground. Home advantage was no help in the first two seasons where they lost to the Sixers and Brisbane Heat before defeating the Hobart Hurricanes last season.
When the Scorchers beat the Melbourne Stars on Sunday, after the top-placed Adelaide Strikers lost to the Sixers on Saturday, it should have been Perth hosting the final at the WACA once again. However it appears that the decision had been made months ago.
Despite the WACA hosting no games until India plays England in the last Tri-Series clash on Friday this week Cricket Australia had booked in the BBL final for Manuka Oval in Canberra.
Cricket Australia has sais via a spokesperson that “It is important to note that staging the BBL Final in the neutral venue of Canberra is a one-off as a result of Australia hosting the ICC Cricket World Cup. Next year, we will revert to the final being played in the home city of the top-qualifying team.”
It does make senses but Western Australians understandably feel ripped off. With no Test match at the WACA why couldn’t a T20 final be played in Perth having won the right? If the WACA knew that this was to be the case, maybe they too are at fault and should have communicated the likelihood of the final being played interstate before the team made it through to the showpiece game. Maybe Cricket Australia could subsidise some airfares for WACA members to make their way to Canberra as an act of goodwill. That however is never likely to happen.
Sporting bodies in Australia need to be aware that Western Australia is beginning to grow tired of being the whipping boy when it comes to live broadcasts and being a part of national competitions. One can sense a backlash from fans coming unless things improve in the next 18 months.