Response to AFL grand final pranksters reveals post-9/11 age of fear

They bought $8 high-vis shirts from Big W and coloured wristbands from Officeworks before turning up at the stadium with hand trolleys to try it on.

The video lasts 5½ minutes and is full of Gen Z humour. It’s skilfully produced and is a credit, perhaps, to their media studies teacher.

“Both of us have always wanted to give the YouTube thing a crack,” Seb, one of the duo who go online by the collective name Misfitminds, told me on 6PR Breakfast on Tuesday.

(To interpret: the boys see content creation on YouTube as a legitimate way to make money, perhaps even a career.)

“We thought this idea would be something that would really sell. We never thought it would really work, if we’re being honest. We just thought we would give it a try, and we’re just as surprised as anyone that we got in.”

In other words, sneaking in to watch the game itself does not seem it was the primary goal. Rather, the prank was a content creation opportunity to attract eyeballs, subscribers, and views.

It was 2021’s version of the Chaser’s 2012 APEC stunt.

It was great fun talkback fodder, as we opened the lines for stories of what you had snuck into over the years. There were the drive-ins, with people piled into car boots, and enterprising ways to get into pubs and nightclubs.

Perth YouTubers Seb and Will recorded the stunt on video. Credit:Youtube

One listener said they were short on the cash to get into a Fremantle Derby one day and pleaded the case to the late, great broadcaster George Grljuich outside the ground.

“Grab these cables and follow me,” said George, who vouched for the penniless supporter to the bloke on the gate.

My favourite was a listener who snuck into an Everton versus Tottenham midweek cup game at White Hart Lane in London in the 1960s. It cost a pound to get in but this Everton fan, still with a broad Scouse accent, jumped the turnstile.

The kicker was that after three days of solid rain in London, the match was abandoned at half time with the pitch unplayable. Fans were handed back their quid on the way out the door, meaning our man made money out of the enterprise!

On air I said I admired Misfitminds’ larrikin spirit, which was not universally well received.

Some were disgusted Seb got any air time, with the suggestion the interview encouraged trespass and illegality.

A QC texted to say it was likely the lads had committed the criminal offence of obtaining an advantage by deception or fraud, and he would be very surprised if they were not charged.

A number of listeners said variations of: “What if they had a bomb?”

Well, if they did, better that weaknesses at Optus Stadium’s security operations, which will be reviewed in light of this (minor) embarrassment, be exposed by a pair of YouTube pranksters.

Likelier is that police and security agencies have a reasonable, intelligence-led handle on the overall threat environment.

Remember that in the lead-up to the big game, in response to reports that security and terrorism concerns were one of the reasons the AFL did not want to host a traditional grand final parade, WA Police said they had no concerns.

This is not an argument for complacency, but Australian authorities have done a particularly good job at staying on top of large-scale threats in crowded public places to the extent there has been no successful attacks of this type in the post-2001 (but a handful detected and foiled).

But we live in an anxious, fearful age with external threats constantly emphasised by politicians and the media. Even if those threats are a couple of enterprising young blokes after some harmless online infamy.

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