Tristan MacManus labels Grand Final organisers ‘disgraceful’ for asking dancers to perform for FREE 

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The AFL has faced mounting criticism over the past few months over its divisive quarantine hubs, WAGs causing trouble, and Eddie McGuire’s eyebrow-raising visit to a Gold Coast nightclub.

And now the organisers of the upcoming AFL Grand Final at the Gabba in Brisbane have been accused of exploitation by the arts world.

On Monday’s Studio 10, professional dancer and former DWTS judge Tristan MacManus slammed footy bosses for asking dancers to perform for ‘free exposure’. 

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Under fire: Studio 10 host Tristan MacManus (right) said on Monday that AFL Grand Final organisers were 'disgraceful' for asking dancers to perform for free. Pictured with Sarah Harris

Under fire: Studio 10 host Tristan MacManus (right) said on Monday that AFL Grand Final organisers were ‘disgraceful’ for asking dancers to perform for free. Pictured with Sarah Harris

The AFL and Cochrane Entertainment, the organisation engaged to produce next month’s grand final entertainment, allegedly sent a call-out for ‘strong performers’ over the age of 15 to volunteer their time to to participate in the ‘large scale performance’ at the Gabba on October 24.

‘I think it’s disgraceful. Anyone who has trained and put time and effort into anything to make a career of it, shouldn’t be expected to do anything for free,’ Tristan said.

‘To put it under the guise of “well, it’s a great opportunity”, I think it’s disgraceful,’ he added, to which co-host Sarah Harris agreed.

'Anyone who has trained and put time and effort into a career, shouldn't be expected to do anything for free':  Professional dancer Tristan slammed the AFL for asking dancers to perform for 'exposure'. Pictured: Tones and I and performers at 2019 AFL Grand Final

‘Anyone who has trained and put time and effort into a career, shouldn’t be expected to do anything for free’:  Professional dancer Tristan slammed the AFL for asking dancers to perform for ‘exposure’. Pictured: Tones and I and performers at 2019 AFL Grand Final

Sarah and Tristan were shocked the AFL was unable to find money in its budget to pay dancers

Sarah and Tristan were shocked the AFL was unable to find money in its budget to pay dancers

Studio 10 correspondent Angela Bishop added: ‘The interesting thing is they’re paying all the singers, all the musicians. 

‘Again, the AFL says when Katy Perry did her 2020 gig [at the Women’s T20 Cricket World Cup Final] there were volunteer dancers there when they needed the sheer volume of people. I think [the AFL] can find some money in the budget.’

Tristan responded: ‘That is the problem, not just with dancers, but all entertainment industry – people are expected to do things that they’ve trained for, for free. 

‘It just doesn’t make any sense. Especially something a federation, or an organisation like that that rakes in so much money for everything.’

Playing the devil’s advocate for a moment, Tristan added: ‘If it was a good-natured thing – if that’s what it is – let’s give them the benefit of the doubt, you don’t put in “we need strong performers”, because that’s not what it is about. 

‘If it is a good-natured thing to give people the opportunity to do it [for exposure], it shouldn’t matter what standard they’re at.’

Statement: The AFL, and the executive producers planning the entertainment, have since clarified that the casting call was never intended for professionals

Statement: The AFL, and the executive producers planning the entertainment, have since clarified that the casting call was never intended for professionals

The AFL, and the executive producers planning the entertainment, have clarified that the casting call was never intended for professionals. 

Thea Jeanes-Cochrane, from Cochrane Entertainment, said in a statement to the  Sydney Morning Herald: ‘They are not paid dancers – they are amateurs and this part of the program was never intended to be a performance for professionals.

‘This is an opportunity to give community performers a chance on a big stage and the reason we have included it is to give an opportunity to hundreds of dancers who would never normally have the opportunity to perform in front of a crowd and a huge TV audience.’

Controversy: The AFL was previously rocked by reports its controversial quarantine hubs in Queensland turned into 'out of control' parties. About 400 AFL players, WAGs and officials flew to Queensland from coronavirus-stricken Victoria in August after being given approval to dodge the state's lockdown. Pictured: the Mercure resort hub on the Gold Coast

Controversy: The AFL was previously rocked by reports its controversial quarantine hubs in Queensland turned into ‘out of control’ parties. About 400 AFL players, WAGs and officials flew to Queensland from coronavirus-stricken Victoria in August after being given approval to dodge the state’s lockdown. Pictured: the Mercure resort hub on the Gold Coast

The AFL was previously rocked by reports its controversial quarantine hubs in Queensland turned into ‘out of control’ parties.

About 400 AFL players, WAGs and officials flew to Queensland from coronavirus-stricken Victoria in August after being given approval to dodge the state’s lockdown.

The move infuriated those who had unsuccessfully applied for a medical exemption to skip premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s mandatory hotel quarantine.

It came after it was revealed WAGs and officials were living it up in ‘hotel quarantine’ – sipping cocktails while lounging by the pool at their luxury Gold Coast resort.

Some WAGs had also caused trouble for the AFL by breaching COVID-19 rules at the quarantine hotels, and allegedly made diva demands during their stay in the hubs. 

Divisive: Eddie McGuire (centre) was slammed after he was pictured partying at the Pink Flamingo this month with nightclub identity Joey Lamattina (left) and lawyer Ashkan Tai (right)

Divisive: Eddie McGuire (centre) was slammed after he was pictured partying at the Pink Flamingo this month with nightclub identity Joey Lamattina (left) and lawyer Ashkan Tai (right)

Locked in: AFL players, including from McGuire's team, and their families were holed up at the league's hotel hub under increasingly strict conditions. Pictured: AFL stars and WAGs relaxing by the pool at the Mercure Resort on the Gold Coast

Locked in: AFL players, including from McGuire’s team, and their families were holed up at the league’s hotel hub under increasingly strict conditions. Pictured: AFL stars and WAGs relaxing by the pool at the Mercure Resort on the Gold Coast

Millionaire Hot Seat host and Collingwood president Eddie McGuire, 55, also came under fire this month when he was spotted enjoying a night out with his 19-year-old son, Joe, at popular nightspot Pink Flamingo while his AFL team and their families remained under strict quarantine.

McGuire himself has been a harsh critic of the ‘idiot’ players who recently breached the code’s strict quarantine protocols and called for anyone who broke the rules to be slapped with $100,000 fines.

Gold Coast criminal defence lawyer Ashkan Tai was pictured partying with McGuire on Saturday, September 19, alongside nightclub identity Joey Lamattina and was photographed giving a big thumbs up for the camera.

High-profile lawyer Mr Tai jumped to McGuire’s defence and called on critics to stop ‘whingeing about sports players in quarantine’ and focus on more important matters.

‘I think it’s [the photograph] been blown out of proportion, hundreds of people were out that night, following government rules and of course those implemented by the venue,’ Mr Tai told the Gold Coast Bulletin.

Who will perform? The AFL Grand Final will kick off at Brisbane's The Gabba on October 24

Who will perform? The AFL Grand Final will kick off at Brisbane’s The Gabba on October 24

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