AFL EDITORIAL-19

A different type of Grand Final, so will it be embraced differently?

By Jayden Hill

In a normal AFL season, the AFL Grand Final would have already been completed, with all 18 clubs already celebrated Mad Monday. But in a year that has been far from normal, the AFL Grand final will get a taste of warm weather when the last game will be played on the 24th of October. The Friday Grand Final Parade through the Melbourne CBD and the Saturday afternoon barbecue’s counting down to first bounce, are traditions that footy fans look forward to every year. However, these traditions that we know, and love will be played out differently this year. With the match being played at a night time slot, the traditional afternoon barbeque will be turned into pizza or yiros night. There will not be the 100,000 screaming fans at the traditional Melbourne Cricket ground, instead, there will be 30,000 eager supporters at the ‘G’ of a different kind, the Gabba. So, with the differences and forced changes to arguably Australia’s biggest annual sporting event, will the Grand Final be embraced and celebrated the same as previous years? Obviously, it won’t have the same atmosphere and feeling that the day grand final endures at the MCG. However, that does not mean this game won’t mean anything. This game will have and contain a different vibe and atmosphere that will be unique to fans which will be something to savour for years to come. Even though its two Victorian teams in the Grand Final, this match will still have the atmosphere to remember. Both Geelong and Richmond have amazing records at the Gabba, and both play exciting brands of footy. With two of the most exciting players in Patrick Dangerfield and Dustin Martin going head to head on Saturday night, this adds more excitement to the contest. The match will have everything with forwards such as Hawkins and Lynch kicking goals at both ends of the ground and small forwards like Rowan and Rioli making defences nervous. What also adds a romantic flavour to Saturday’s game is the Garry Ablett playing his last game. Arguably the best player to play the game, th stage is set for a fairy-tale farewell. Even though the year has been different, there will still be the same household traditions we all take part in on Grand final day. There will still be the First goal and margin competitions in households around the country and gameday banter between fans hoping their team can claim the big prize. After the year that has transpired, this year is just as important than any other to celebrate the great game of AFL. This season could have been easily cancelled, but the persistence of the AFL and the players made sure that the fans and the AFL community have a day to celebrate. The Gabba will be buzzing, and intensity will be high, which will combine to be a spectacular spectacle under lights. Fans will finally discover what a night Grand Final actually looks like and if it is something that could be an option for future Grand Finals. So, as a fan, yes it will not be the same, and it will be different to the Grand final we are all used to. However, it will be a great spectacle of Australian Rules Football and will continue put the game on the world stage. This day may be embraced differently due to the logistics and changes I mentioned; however, this gives more reason to celebrate our great game.


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