Sep 28, 2018
A Highly Unhelpful Guide to the AFL Grand Final 2018
West Coast v Collingwood
The holiest of holy days, Grand Final Day, is upon us.
I was made aware the other day that some people don't follow AFL obsessively. Weird, right? I guess some people don’t want happiness in their life.
Even weirder, some of them will watch the Grand Final and have no idea what's going on.
So, I've pulled together a little guide to help them out.
Here is the only guide you’ll need to this year’s game. It is frequently inaccurate.
If you're new to AFL Grand Final entertainment, you've missed out.
The AFL seems to either do the bizarre, like Angry Anderson singing 'Bound for Glory' while being driven around in a Batmobile, or the ‘so bad it’s beyond awful’, like Meatloaf’s thirteen minutes of wailing.
Last year, they had Las Vegas band The Killers, and they were good, in a shocking break from tradition.
This year it’s the Black Eyed Peas, who have produced some terrific material over the years.
Consider these lyrics from their 2005 hit My Humps.
They say I'm really sexy
The boys they wanna sex me
They always standin' next to me
Always dancin' next to me
Tryin' a feel my hump hump
Lookin' at my lump lump
Whatcha gonna do with all that ass
All that ass inside your jeans
I'm a make make make make you scream
Make you scream make you scream
Whatcha gonna do with all that junk
All that junk inside that trunk
I'm a get get get get you drunk
Get you love drunk off this hump
Whatcha gonna do with all that breast
All that breast inside that shirt
I'm a make make make make you work
It’s as if Shakespeare himself had risen from the grave to pen these lyrics. Such an empowering song.
Jimmy Barnes is also performing, I assume separately, although, seeing him perform those lyrics would be something.
Barnes' daughter Mahalia will perform the national anthem, and Mike Brady will again be awoken from his hibernation to perform Up There Cazaly.
Jimmy Barnes will also perform at the Virgin Australia Premiership Party, a free concert after the game at the MCG.
8.00am: Melbourne Cricket Club gates open, rich people enter
9.30am: General public gates open to the great unwashed
1.32pm: Retiring greats and award winners' motorcade
1.40pm: The Black Eyed Peas and Jimmy Barnes perform
2.08pm: Mike Brady performs Up There Cazaly
2.11pm: Umpires enter
2.13pm: Teams enter
2.24pm: Welcome to Country by Aunty Joy Wandin Murphy
2.25pm: Delivery of the premiership cup
2.26pm: National anthem performed by Mahalia Barnes
2.30pm: Grand final begins
Half time: Auskick, grand final sprint
5.15pm: Final siren (assuming no extra time), presentation of medals and the premiership cup.
7 pm: Premiership party. Free concert, Jimmy Barnes performs
7.33pm: Presentation of the premiership team with the premiership cup
Channel Seven has exclusive broadcast rights to the Grand Final, so get ready for ads. If you like gambling ads and ads telling you about shows coming up on Seven, you will be in heaven.
Leading the coverage as always is Bruce McAvaney, who despite performing a bit of a parody of himself at times, is a true pro and about a million times better than the other current options.
He uses the words ‘clever’ and ‘special’ a lot and will occasionally cause a lot of awkwardness by describing something on the field as delicious.
This will be followed by a moment of silence in the commentary box while everyone pretends it didn’t happen.
Alongside Bruce, will be Brian ‘BT’ Taylor. ‘Polarising’ would be an understatement.
BT tries to inject ‘personality’ into his calling, the problem being, it’s his personality.
Providing special comments will be Cameron Ling and Wayne Carey.
If you’re a fan of listening to people stating the obvious and repeating themselves constantly, you’re going to be very happy all day long.
Cameron Ling has set a new benchmark for inane comments. Not only does he do a fair trade in stating the obvious, he says things like this ‘the Cats team that played Sydney may beat the Crows, but if it's the Cats team who played Richmond, then they may lose.’
Wayne Carey is there as a reminder that no matter how many horrible things you do, as a footballer you will be welcomed back as nothing happened.
The boundary reporters will be Matthew Richardson and Daisy Pearce.
Pearce, frequently interrupts broadcast with insightful comments and useful information; she sticks out like a sore thumb.
Matthew Richardson is also great and has a big advantage over a lot of his colleagues in commentary because he’s actually likeable.
The West Coast Eagles were founded in 1986, when the Victorian clubs, desperate for money, allowed them to join for a huge licence fee.
The money from the licence fee went to the Victorian clubs which kept them afloat.
Those same clubs now complain about the Eagles all the time, even though a lot of them probably only exist because the non-Victorian teams came on board.
The Eagles have been a highly successful team, winning premierships in 1992, 1994 and 2006.
This means they are hated by a lot of people in Victoria but not as much as Dockers fans hate them.
A West Coast victory will see Perth erupt but will never be mentioned in Victoria again unless the Melbourne media can find a way to question its legitimacy.
An Eagles victory will see Dockers fans leave Western Australia for a few months or enter their panic rooms.
The Collingwood Football Club was formed in 1892, immediately plunging the world into crisis.
In the year Collingwood was founded, Charles Darwin died.
The world’s greatest ever scientist had self-selected to leave the planet.
The founding of Collingwood also led directly to the end of Australia’s long economic boom that had begun in the 1850s with the gold rushes. The timing is uncanny; it can’t be disputed.
A great global depression followed and was most extreme in Australia, hitting Victoria harder than anywhere else in the world. So, the closer you were to Collingwood, the worse it was.
There was a decreased demand for wool globally, which was Australia’s core industry, public works projects fell like dominoes and banks closed their doors.
Industrial unrest occurred on a massive scale. Australia’s great maritime strike and the shearers' strike occurred.
This resulted in massive unemployment and eventually the total collapse of Australia’s economy.
To make matters worse, Australia was hit by terrible drought as if the founding of this club had upset the gods themselves.
All because of Collingwood.
I haven’t even touched on the Spanish-American War.
It’s only got worse since then.
After Collingwood’s arrival, we’ve had two world wars, the Great Depression, the invention and use of the atomic bomb, Meatloaf’s Grand Final performance and worst of all, the music of Nickelback.
As a neutral, the hard part in supporting Collingwood in the Grand Final is you have to answer two questions, ‘can you bring yourself to support the Collingwood Football Club, even for one day?’ and ‘Do you want Eddie McGuire to be happy?’
Even if you jump the first hurdle, it’s hard to jump the second.
Choosing a side to support if you barrack for neither is hard. The battle for hearts and minds has gone like this:
Collingwood: Get behind us footy fans!
Footy Fans: No thanks.
West Coast: Get behind us!
Footy Fans: Also no.
The Bureau is saying it will be 13 degrees with a 70 per cent chance of rain, so terrible. Thanks for nothing Melbourne.
These teams have met twice this year, in round 17 at the MCG and the Qualifying Final a few weeks ago in Perth.
The Eagles won both of these, but the Qualifying Final was very close.
Despite finishing higher on the ladder, the Eagles have one day less rest and have to travel to Collingwood’s home ground to play.
Eddie McGuire has been much quieter on this issue than when he thought his team might have to travel to Perth for the Preliminary Final. Weird.
Almost no one predicted these two teams to make it this far, despite them finishing second and third on the ladder and both have shown an ability to defy expectation, making this hard to tip.
The Eagles major concern is they’ve barely played in the past months. They had the bye week, got a week off after beating Collingwood and then had Melbourne forfeit last week’s game, meaning they only got to run a light training drill instead.
Collingwood has some injury concerns, but that’s hardly new. They play the MCG well, and the weather should suit them.
Still, I think the Eagles key forwards should prove difficult for the Pies, and I’m tipping the Eagles by 20 points.
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