EbeneNews – AU – Big isolated AFL final week in Melbourne will be a very different kind of experience this year


    As the Victorians came to understand – and the nations where COVID-19 resurged failed to grasp – the things that bring us together can hurt us too

    And while we aspire to a return to some form of normalcy, it will be an isolated AFL Grand Final in Melbourne; one with a slight feeling of melancholy

    There will be no cheering crowds to watch the practice at Punt Road or Kardinia Park Richmond and Geelong have long fled to Queensland hubs which are either « soul destroyers » or « luxurious « , depending on whether you consider this season heroic or simply impractical

    That most of Melbourne’s Melburnian events, the grand finale parade, where professional athletes are offered the kind of enthusiastic cheer denied to Vietnam veterans, will not take place though, in an ode to the bizarro 2020 , holidays in his name

    And, of course, the MCG will only host seagulls and yet another rendition of Mike Brady’s Up There Cazaly on the big final day The Big Game was packaged and sold to AFL benefactors in the Queensland in a grand gesture that inadvertently betrayed Melbourne’s sense of being entitled to the most important event in a theoretically national league

    This unusual dislocation prompted an opportunistic sponsor to transport a patch of « sacred » MCG sod to Brisbane where it will be sewn to the surface by the famous Gabba walkers Hopefully it didn’t come out of the playing field or Gabba’s test could be a sad affair

    This move is presumably intended to create some sort of physical connection between the ‘Soil House finale’ and this season’s placeholder although it looks more like a desperate attempt by the homeowners Melburnians to maintain their grip on a game it is unable to host

    Again, maybe the company’s turf hauler cleverly pulled the strings of the local heart Because for Richmond fans in particular (Geelong is in the rural area and can at least enjoy some social gatherings), the lack of a grand final connection will be deeply felt

    After the Tigers’ victories in 2017 and 2019, huge crowds gathered on Swan Street in Richmond for what was then known as « wonderfully colorful celebrations » and what would now be classified as « dangerous illegal gatherings « 

    If the Tigers won this time around, the yellow and black treasure would likely be outnumbered by the gendarmerie attempting to remove the club’s famous fans, who would pose a danger to the physical well-being of fellow Melburnians (and c ‘ is even before considering the risk of COVID-19)

    Otherwise, the lack of shared grandiose end experiences will deprive Melbourne of a day that will define our sporting purity or reveal our rare form of madness, depending on whether you are one of us or not.

    There is an old truism about how in Melbourne the Supreme Court judge, who has just handed down a conviction, can pause to exchange his thoughts on next Saturday’s game with the criminal before decide on a sentence

    In Melbourne, the ubiquitous footy spans social class and breaks down geographic boundaries, even when these are strictly defined as five-kilometer and now 25-kilometer exclusion zones

    In Sydney, the grand finale is an event In Melbourne, it’s like graduation day for a class that has studied closely together for the past seven months and developed a mutual sense of understanding, as well a clan exclusivity

    Those who gain this shared experience and knowledge barely tolerate once-a-year intruders who mispronounce player names or do not at least have a rudimentary understanding of the favorite’s defensive structure

    So any daytripper asking silly questions at a grand final barbecue is treated like the test cricket neophyte who walks into the living room and asks, « Who wins? »

    Opportunistically, the AFL took advantage of these « unprecedented times » to impose the night-time grand final that its broadcast partners have long been aspiring to

    A captive audience will almost certainly create record viewing numbers that are in turn used to justify the nighttime decision maker, regardless of how impact the slippery ball has on the game itself.

    The timing of the game doesn’t matter this season because when the siren sounds we have nowhere to go

    But in a normal season, that would mean that the traditional post-match celebrations – the lingering post-match analysis at Barbie or the retreat to a favorite watering hole with friends – would unfortunately be truncated

    This is the potentially dangerous consequence of the COVID-19 season, where decisions are made in the absence of fans, not necessarily in their best interests

    The cure will become the disease if the steps taken to keep us on our own this year – including a ridiculously crowded device and shortened quarters – become permanent features of the game

    But whether you think the AFL administration has been heroic navigating the rough seas of COVID-19 or it’s that rare season where a fabulously well-paid bureaucracy has won its coin, there is place to celebrate the very fact of this grand finale

    A decision maker starring Port Adelaide and Brisbane would have been more practical with Queensland rewarded for their contribution to the game and Port Adelaide fans able to cross borders and add to a boisterous atmosphere at Gabba

    But Richmond and Geelong make this grand finale more iconic of a year that is about resilience, not convenience; on difficult decisions rather than easy options

    What if thousands of Tigers fans celebrating an incredible third PM title in four years are left home? Well, every cloud has its ray of hope

    This service may include material from Agence France-Presse (AFP), APTN, Reuters, AAP, CNN and BBC World Service which is copyrighted and may not be reproduced

    AEST = Australian Eastern Standard Time, which is 10 hours ahead of GMT (Greenwich Mean Time)

    Geelong Football Club, Australian Football League, Brisbane Lions, AFL Grand Final, Richmond Football Club, Gary Ablett Jr

    EbeneNews – AU – A big AFL final week in isolation at Melbourne will be a very different experience this year

    SOURCE: https://www.w24news.com


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