If You Think The Grand Final Should Be Best Of Three You're Not A True AFL Fan
You know what they say -- If it ain’t broke don’t throw tradition out the window and completely stuff up something which is perfectly fine just as it is!
I am angry and my little white footy shorts are in a twist.
Talk of the AFL Grand Final becoming a best-of-three series was more than just talk, it was trash talk. But this crazy idea has grown some legs ahead of this week’s league competition committee meeting, where it’s set to feature on the agenda.
Not surprisingly, the cheerleaders clapping their pom poms together for this radical and unnecessary change to our great game are from interstate clubs. Interstate being the non-Victorian clubs, Victoria being home to the sporting coliseum, the best stadium in the world, the mighty MCG.
The push for this silly format change has been led by Sydney Swans chief executive Andrew Ireland, with the reported backing of Adelaide Crows coach Don Pyke.
These birds are out of bounds.
The mighty Swannies seem to forget they won their last two premierships by four points (2005) and 10 points (2012). Given those flags were claimed in nail-biting fashion I’d take them and scram back to the harbour city.
The Crows have a bee in their bonnet. You reckon I’m hung up on my ex? Have you met Adelaide?
Still smarting from their 2017 Grand Final capitulation to Richmond, the Crows apparently want change too. Of course they do. But I feel for broken hearts so I won’t blow the whistle on the Pride of South Australia just yet.
And just seven weeks after claiming the premiership, the West Coast Eagles have surprisingly weighed in and reckon this overhaul is “worth looking at”. Bizarre. I bet they aren’t keen on longer quarters and giving the Magpies a few more minutes to swoop on one final push for that precious silverware.
The AFL, earlier this year, secured an agreement with the Victorian government to lock in the MCG as a grand final venue until 2057. Can I get an amen?
Tradition and quirk are the beloved cornerstones of Aussie Rules. Melbourne and Victoria are footy obsessed, like, next level obsessed. I like to call it fish bowl life. This kind of passion and obsession is far greater than other predominantly rugby leagues states.
Nobody overseas gives a flying suit case about Aussie Rules, apart from expats, and that’s the point! It’s our game and it’s done our way.
The Grand Final is played on the day. Even if time and logistics make conditions challenging for the overpaid and underwhelming pre-match entertainment that has travelled from abroad for a big pay cheque. What up, Meatloaf?
The Grand Final is played at the MCG. The home of footy. I’ve never met a kid who dreamed of growing up and kicking the winning goal after the siren at the GABBA or winning a premiership on the hallowed Spotless Stadium turf in Greater Western Sydney. The MCG is where dreams are hatched, discovered and ruined -- for fans and players alike.
The Grand Final is just that. Singular. One match! No second chances. No third chances. One shot, one opportunity. (I’ve really got to stop quoting Eminem.) We have already lost some of the game’s great traditions like getting to the footy early to watch the curtain raiser match, the under-18s or reserves before the game and looking up numbers and names in the footy record. This was a learning experience. A rite of passage.
I’m all for moving with the times but this is a non-negotiable, the Grand Final must remain as one match on the last Saturday in September. Period.
Last Saturday in September followed by the first and second Saturdays in October just doesn’t have the same ring to it.