The Aussie Rules Football season is over for all but four AFL Clubs, and our focus turns to the Grand Final celebrations. For footy tragics like us, finals time is like Christmas.
The excitement in Melbourne is on full display. City council "AFL FINALS" flags are flying, office workers wear team scarves to and from work, and the parkland around the MCG is being converted to a hospitality mecca. There are AFL themed business lunches occurring daily, team colours in shop fronts, and the chat around town inevitably rolls to “footy”.
Etihad Stadium will host two AFL games on Sunday September 25th for those who can’t get enough footy at this end of the season. The Murray Bushrangers play the Sandringham Dragons in the TAC Cup at 11.00am. Footscray fight it out with the Casey Scorpions for the VFL Grand Final at 3pm.
Grand Final week officially kick off on Monday September 26th with the Brownlow Medal count. Unless you’re on the red carpet at Crown, warm up your party pies and tune in from 730pm to love or laugh at the gowns and suits then witness one AFL Player, probably Patrick Dangerfield, win the coveted trophy.
Melbourne’s AFL school holiday/footy tragic activities start on Wednesday September 28. The Live Site at Yarra Park outside the MCG is full on until Grand Final Day Saturday October 1st. You’ll find fun precincts including the Toyota AFL Grand Final Live Site, Lifestyle Taste of Football, Kids Zone and Presto Movies at the MCG. There will be sporting clinics, interactive displays, sporting and media broadcasts, events and giveaways and much more.
Melbourne’s foodies will be putting on a show at the MCG live site with The Lifestyle Taste of Football. See how many AFL pun foods you can spot such as pork belly bao with bulldog sauce, Tokyo Tina’s 'BOG', a five-spice schnitzel, is a strong contender for 'breast on ground'. Celeb chefs such as Shane Delia and Darren Purchese from Burch & Purchese will be selling their AFL style signature dishes.
Check out all of the Toyota 2016 AFL Live site details at http://www.afl.com.au/footy-festival/live-site
Between 1-2pm on Friday Sept 30th The AFL Grand Final Parade will make its way from the old Treasury Building and finish at the MCG Live site. Find a spot by midday on a barrier along the route to watch players and coaches in a cavalcade of Toyota Hilux Utes. Marching bands and roving entertainers will join the parading Grand Final teams, as well as the Brownlow Medalist, NAB Rising Star and Auskick kids.
Punt Road Oval, home to The Richmond Tigers will host the NAB All Stars game from 1.30pm on Grand Final Eve. If the post-parade crowd at The MCG Live site is getting too much for you just head next door.
From 5-7pm on Grand Final Eve there’ll be a concert featuring Australian platinum selling hip hop artist Illy, at the Foxtel Footy Festival site at Yarra Park. The Live Site and tv will run an all-night marathon of Grand Final interviews and shows starting with The Friday Front Bar. Mick Molloy, Sam Pang and Andy Maher will be Live in the Front Bar hosting their Grand Final (Eve) Special from 8.30pm.
As the anticipation and excitement builds for the first bounce of the AFL Grand Final, Sting and Aussies Vance Joy and The Living End will perform on the hallowed turf of the MCG. Almost 90,000+ will be watching live and an estimated 30Million will watch worldwide from screens. The Aussie artists will be sticking around for the post game party at The G.
So many questions to be answered. Will the Premiership Cup stay in Victoria? Will the Western Bulldogs break a 61-year drought? Can the AFL’s newest team – The Greater Western Sydney Giants – win their first Premiership? Or will it be one of the heavyweights in the Geelong Cats or Sydney Swans?
All this will be answered on the first Saturday in October…at the mighty MCG.
The party doesn’t stop there though. The following day the MCG opens its doors from 11am-4pm on Sunday, October 2. For just one day, the doors of the Melbourne Cricket Ground will open and allow access to areas normally off limits to the public, including the famous hallowed turf. Register now at www.mcg.org.au/openday
Whatever the outcome on Grand Final day, as a Melburnian, there will be little time to dwell or bask, as we move immediately in to the Spring Racing Carnival, and the World famous Melbourne Cup.
AND don’t forget Melbourne Sports Tours operate sports focused city sightseeing tours incorporating MCG Tours, National Sports Museum, Flemington Racecourse and so much more…Monday to Friday year round. www.melbournesportstours.com.au/citysportstours
For AFL Grand Final ticketing information check out www.afleventoffice.com.au
Tickets are still available for various functions including Grand Final Eve at Carlton Draught Front Bar at Centre Square, Grand Final Breakfast at Crown Palladium, with reserved seat for the 2016 Toyota AFL Grand Final at the MCG
And if you’re team is done and you’re moving onto The Spring Racing Carnival already check out Sportsnetholidays.com