Sep 24, 2021
A highly unhelpful guide to the Grand Final 2021
The only guide to the round that admits it’s completely unhelpful. What it lacks in insight, it makes up for with wild theories and detours onto unrelated topics.
It’s your unhelpful guide to the Grand Final.
Melbourne v Western Bulldogs Optus Stadium 7:15pm AEST
It may be a public holiday in Melbourne, but that doesn’t stop me from writing this preview, mainly because I completely forgot it was a public holiday, and really, who cares when you’re locked in your house anyway?
It’s been the strangest Grand Final week ever. Partly because it lasted a fortnight, then we had an earthquake and the worst Grand Final parades in the CBD ever.
I’m moving to Los Angeles to get away from the constant earthquakes and riots.
There’s a Grand Final in the middle of all this, and for the first time since 2000, my team is in it, although you could argue they weren’t in 2000 or 1988 either, meaning this is the first time in my life my team has properly been in a Grand Final.
To be frank, I am a nervous wreck. When the earthquake hit, all I could think while it was happening was, ‘I’m going to die without seeing a Melbourne Premiership.’
I’m also terrified because all the media are acting like Melbourne are a sure thing.
The Bulldogs have been an afterthought despite the fact THE LAST TIME THESE TWO PLAYED THE BULLDOGS WON.
Am I taking crazy pills? How has everyone forgotten this? I know Bulldogs fans haven’t.
Melbourne can win, but so can the Bulldogs. There have been coin tosses that are less fifty-fifty.
All I know is the two best teams made the Grand Final, the Prelims brutally showed this, and it’s going to be more stressful than a date with the person of your dreams on the day you have an acne breakout.
The AFL Grand Final entertainment is only good when it’s bad.
With international borders closed, and Western Australia’s border shut tighter than your mate’s wallet, no international acts can come, which means we won’t get someone who peaked in the early seventies.
Instead, we get mainly Western Australian artists, with a few others thrown in.
They include Eskimo Joe, John Butler, Abbe May, Stella Donnelly, Gina Williams and Guy Ghouse, Donna Simpson and Vikki Thorn from The Waifs, Colin Hay, Baker Boy, Birds of Tokyo and the West Australian Symphony Orchestra.
It’s a list that just proves how old you are when you don’t have a clue who most of them are.
Once again, the AFL are beaming in Mike Brady from Melbourne, in a proof of life video to remind us that Melbourne does still exist.
Conducting The Welcome to Country will be Noongar man Richard Wally OAM, while the Australian national anthem will be sung by Amy Manford.
Disappointingly, a tiny strip of grass will not be shipped from the MCG and sown into Optus Stadiums surface, mainly due to it being one of the stupidest ideas in the history of humanity.
The game is on Channel Seven which means if you like hearing a woman being talked over while saying insightful things by a bunch of men saying nothing of interest, you’re going to love the coverage.
A 57-year premiership drought and a half-century of mental torture could be flipped on its head this weekend.
People keep saying to me, will you have any material if the Dees are Premiers? I think so, my cynical view of the world comes from the gaping hole in my soul, caused by my personality, not my football team.
Still, it would be an event I never believed would happen, like a woman falling in love with me.
Melbourne have had their best season in my lifetime, they’ve got great players, an actual way of playing and in a first for me, know what they’re doing.
Clayton Oliver- Clayton Oliver will be the guy in the middle of every pack getting the ball out.
His use of handball is what I imagine watching Leonardo Da Vinci paint would be like.
Max Gawn- Less a man and more a force of nature, Max Gawn is the player even people who don’t follow football will recognise.
Gawn’s greatest skill is his ability to read the play. He’s always positioned where the ball is going, it’s why so many hangers get taken on him.
Christian Petracca- Petracca is the player who can turn an entire game in a few minutes. He can kick goals, use his speed to get out of traffic and his brute strength sees him shrug off tackles like a Prime Minister shrugging off scandals.
Steven May and Jake Lever- They’re separate people but on the field, they work as one. The best defensive duo in the AFL.
The Western Australian border police study them on tape to work out how to stop anyone from getting through.
Coach Simon Goodwin- Goodwin looked gone a year ago, only to turn everything around in a dramatic fashion this year.
He’s had Adem Yze and Mark Williams come in as assistants this year which has strengthened some of his natural weaknesses, and there’s no doubt his even temperedness has worked incredibly well with a young group.
Key defender Steven May was subbed out in the Preliminary Final with a hamstring twinge but will play and Charlie Spargo had an ankle injury scare this week but seems good to go.
Like Melbourne in many ways, the Bulldogs faithful has been through the wringer over the years, only to taste the ultimate success in 2016.
It means the Bulldogs supporters behave towards Melbourne supporters like a friend who kissed someone once, so now acts like they’re a modern-day lothario.
The Doggies have been great all year except for the last month of the season, only to bounce back to their top form.
They’ve played Melbourne twice this year, losing the first game and winning the second, so why they’re not equal favourites in most people’s minds is beyond me.
Not that Bulldogs supporters mind. Tell them they’re the underdogs, that will work very nicely for a Luke Beveridge coached side.
Marcus Bontempelli- Arguably the best player in the competition, Bontempelli terrifies Melbourne supporters more than an ATO audit.
He’s absolutely taken the Dees apart over the years, and like serving those little square mint chocolates in the individual packets after dinner, he just screams class.
Jack Macrae- Less a man and more a ball getting machine, Macrae is averaging 37 disposals a game in the finals which is just making a joke of the competition.
Macrae doesn’t do much media and lets his football do the talking, and it says, ‘I am a ridiculously good footballer.’
Lachie Hunter- The Bulldogs wingman can get in trouble in traffic, but he links the Bulldogs together.
Collingwood’s Adam Treloar- Collingwood decided last season to get rid of their really good players and in Treloar’s case, pay for him to play elsewhere.
That elsewhere has been the Bulldogs, and despite injury troubles, he could be a significant part of a premiership. Funding an enemy is a weird thing to do; who do Collingwood think they are, the CIA?
Tom Liberatore- The human canvas is where it all starts for the Bulldogs, he exists in the chaos of the pack, getting the ball out while ten players are hanging off him.
He’s a man so tough, I don’t think I can bring myself to make fun of his moustache.
Coach Luke Beveridge- Beveridge has already taken the Bulldogs to the top in 2016 and is a man so intense that if he looks at a rock for a few minutes it becomes a diamond.
He once played for Melbourne, so my hope is this is a long play and he’s a sleeper agent, but I’m not going to bet one of my many houses on this.
Their biggest loss this season has been key forward Josh Bruce and he’s out for the year so won’t play in the Grand Final.
The Dogs have recalled Alex Keath from a hamstring injury and Cody Weightman from a concussion and both should be good to go.
It will be 27 degrees on Saturday in Perth, and sunset will be during the second quarter of the game.
There’s only a 10 per cent chance of rain, so it should be perfect conditions.
Bloody Perth, freedom and nice weather. No wonder they never want to open up. If Australia was a nightclub, they’re the VIP area it’s impossible to get into.
This is truly a coin toss in my opinion, and no one has any idea who is going to win.
They’ve played two this year, splitting them and both made their Preliminary Final opponents look like inept chancers who had not played football at the highest level before.
Both have bona fide stars, are fit, well-drilled, and don’t give up on games.
I’m tipping Melbourne for one reason and one reason only, we’ve had a mouse plague, a pandemic, and an earthquake. Surely a Melbourne premiership is the fourth horseman of the apocalypse?
Either way, this is going to be the most stressful day of my life, and that’s coming during the most stressful two years of my life.
Enjoy everyone, the Grand Final is the greatest day on Earth for a reason.
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