Sep 29, 2017
A highly unhelpful guide to the Grand Final
Adelaide v Richmond
The holiest of holy days, Grand Final Day, is almost upon us.
It’s like Christmas and Easter but spiritual, and it’s way more romantic than Valentine’s Day.
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 really 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.
This year they have Las Vegas band The Killers, of Mr Brightside fame. Who as well as performing a free concert after the game at the MCG, will sing before the game.
They’re certainly not the worst option we’ve been given, that was the Top 12 of the 2003 series of Australian Idol performing One Day In September.
I’ve seen actual car crashes less traumatic.
Switching gears slightly, after The Killers finish, Mike Brady will then emerge from his yearlong hibernation to sing One Day in September, probably the greatest song ever written. The Vengaboys ‘We like to Party!’ is, of course, a close second.
Then we get Dami Im singing the National Anthem. Who? You ask.
Dami, won the fifth season of The X Factor and then represented Australia at Eurovision. For not the first time, I’ll go on record to say that mixing reality TV, Eurovision and football makes as much sense as starting a sport team on the Gold Coast.
Dami will also perform at half time, that’s your signal to go cook the BBQ.
8am: Melbourne Cricket Club gates open, rich people enter
9.30am: General public gates open to the great unwashed
1.34pm: Retiring greats and award winners motorcade
1.43pm: The Killers perform
2.08pm: Mike Brady performs Up There Cazaly
2.13pm: Richmond onto the ground
2.16pm: Adelaide onto the ground
2.25pm: Delivery of the premiership cup by North Melbourne raffle winner Brent Harvey
2.26pm: National anthem performed by Dami Im
2.30pm: Toyota AFL Grand Final begins
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 probably an understatement.
People either love or hate BT as a commentator. The public hates him, and Channel Seven producers love him. BT tries to inject ‘personality’ into his calling, the problem being, it’s his personality.
Providing special comments will be Cameron Ling, Wayne Carey, and Matthew Richardson.
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 like nothing happened.
Matthew Richardson is a Tigers great, and despite the fact he’s going to be about as biased as you can get, he’s got a big advantage over his other special comments colleagues in that he’s likeable.
Like many things, the Adelaide Crows were invented to spite Port Adelaide. Back in 1990, the newly minted AFL came to an arrangement with Port Adelaide to allow them into the national competition.
The other South Australian clubs in the SANFL were outraged and responded with a joint bid. The AFL, always happy to walk away from an agreement if there was more money on offer, went with the SANFL bid and the Adelaide Crows were born.
They played their first game in 1991, and soon their fans picked up the wonderful stereotype of liking chardonnay and apricot slice. This would have to be one of the better stereotypes you can be tarred with. It must be particularly harrowing though for Riesling drinkers though.
The Crows had success relatively quickly, winning premierships in 1997 and 1998. Since then, they’ve struggled to get back to the top.
In 2015, they experienced the tragic death of their coach, Phil Walsh, and more recently, ruckman Sam Jacobs lost his brother to illness.
This appears to have bound the group together incredibly tightly.
Adelaide finished the season first on the ladder with 15 wins and six losses.
They have played Richmond once this year, in Round 6 at Adelaide Oval. They won that game 140 to 64.
In the finals, they defeated Geelong in a daunting display of firepower and before that the Giants.
The Crows have adopted a new tactic of not linking arms while the national anthem is being played and staring creepily at their opponents. It’s like the haka for Aussie white guys, whose traditional dance is standing rooted to the spot, staring creepily at some woman and expecting her to find this attractive.
Rory Sloane- A midfielder, Sloane had to get his appendix removed a few weeks ago in what seems to be a fad over in Adelaide at the moment. If Sloane is regularly getting his hands on the ball, the Tigers could be in trouble.
Eddie Betts- Betts also had to get his appendix removed this season, meaning the Crows finished the year leading the competition in appendectomies.
Betts is an exciting small forward, arguably the best and does things in front of goal we all dreamt of as kids. The fact Carlton got rid of him will never cease to be funny.
Charlie Cameron- Last week, Cameron booted five goals against the Cats, and his speed and skill would worry any team. He was so good last week that now people outside of South Australia know who he is.
Taylor Walker- The Captain Taylor Walker is a key forward who once sported a fantastic mullet. Unfortunately, the mullet is gone, but he hasn’t had a Sampson like drop-off in ability.
Rory Laird- Laird, is a small defender who became an All-Australian this year. Given Richmond play with a lot of small forwards, Laird will need to play well for the Crows to win.
Coach- Don Pyke had the difficult job of taking over the team following the death of Phil Walsh but has steered the group into a Grand Final. While there’s a sense he’s building on the work of Walsh, it would have been just as easy for a team to fall apart after something as traumatic as that. Pyke deserves a lot of credit for getting them here.
Brodie Smith tore his ACL in the Crows' Qualifying Final win against Greater Western Sydney, while forward Mitch McGovern will miss with a sore hamstring.
There had been some doubts about whether Hugh Greenwood would play but he’s been named in the team. Australian Legislation says I must mention Greenwood has a basketball background.
Founded in 1885, the Richmond Tigers have spent the 37 years since they last won a premiership, tormenting their fans.
Finally, all those years of heartache seem to have been swept aside, and the Tigers stand on the cusp of rewarding their loyal fans with the only thing in life that means something, an AFL premiership.
The way things have normally worked, is the Tigers build up their fans’ hope to a very high point and then dash them so completely you wonder why they come back. That means this Saturday afternoon is a peak danger time.
There’s been a lot of talk of the damage rioting Tigers fans could do if they lose but in my experience, Tigers fans can handle disappointment just fine, they’ve trained their whole life for it. But winning? This is the scary known unknown the populace of Melbourne face on Saturday evening.
Richmond finished the season third on the ladder with 15 wins and seven losses. They were not expected to do so well. In fact, most thought they would miss the eight, and their coach would be sacked.
Instead, they’ve been remarkably consistent, which is unnerving but a nice change. To reach the Grand Final, they beat the Cats in week one and then Greater Western Sydney last week.
Richmond used to be incapable of winning finals, once losing a final to a team that didn’t even make the finals.
Now, they’ve won two in a row. You don’t need to look to North Korea to realise the world is close to ending.
Dustin Martin- Dustin Martin had to have some small surgery earlier in the week to remove a Bruce McAvaney from his shoulder. The 2017 Brownlow medallist has been heads and shoulders above the rest of the competition this year, probably singlehandedly getting the Tigers across the line in about five games. He can play either forward or in the midfield.
Trent Cotchin- The captain is the living embodiment of the turnaround at Richmond this season. Once maligned for going missing in big games and not being enough of a leader, Cotchin has turned that all around this season. Cotchin had to use the ‘Get out of Jail Free’ card all stars are given, to be able to play this week.
Alex Rance- Alex Rance is the greatest defender in the history of any sport according to the Channel Seven commentary team. The Crows have such an explosive forward line that Rance will have a huge job on Saturday.
Jack Riewoldt- Forward Jack Riewoldt had a huge task at the start of the season, filling the enormous hole left by the departure of Ty Vickery. Somehow, he’s managed to do this.
Daniel Rioli- Small forward Rioli booted four goals last week and is an incredibly exciting player. In fact, scientists have shown that changing your surname to Rioli makes you a better player by 43 percent.
Coach- Damien Hardwick was on the cusp of being sacked last year after failing to win a single final in his long tenure as coach. In fact, many idiots, like me, bagged the club for re-signing him. This year, everything has clicked, and Hardwick looks like a genius, and we all look like the fools everyone sort of knew we already were.
The Tigers have a clean bill of health, another strange thing in this run of everything going right for them. If Richmond’s luck has truly changed, they may win the next 37 premierships.
The Bureau is saying it will be cloudy, with a 5o percent chance of showers, most likely in the early morning. I’ll take that, given this hellish, unending winter Melbourne has been trapped in.
With the danger of being run out of Melbourne, I’m tipping the Crows by 25 points.
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