For the first time since 2010, the AFL Grand Final pregame entertainment will not feature an international artist. Paul Kelly will lead an All Australian line-up including hit pop acts Dean Lewis, Tones & I, Conrad Sewell, country superstar John Williamson and veteran performer Mike Brady. Kelly, Lewis, Sewell and Tones & I along with AFL Chief Executive Gillon McLachlan met the media at the MCG on Thursday, and each singer was presented with a special jumper, a composite of Richmond and GWS playing jumpers.
There is an old adage in footy that a team has to lose a few finals to win one. it proved true for Richmond as they lost their first ever final in 1916 - a semi-final against Carlton. They then lost their first Grand Final to Collingwood in 1919. They lost again to Carlton in 1920 in a semi-final, but since there were only four teams eligible at that time, they were still through to the Grand Final which they won. They have since gone on to win another 10 premierships.
Just after Brisbane's Semi-final loss to GWS, Hawthorn and GWS star Luke Hodge announced his retirement. He refused to be "chaired" off by teammates. Coach Chris Fagan confined the announcement at the post-game press conference, saying, "Hodgey's finished ... I wanted him to come (to the media conference), but that's not his way. He just wants to walk away quietly. He's hung them up, the old fella ... ". Fagan added that Hodge would remain with the club in an off-field role which is yet to be determined. Fagan added that he had an inkling of Hodge's retirement but never asked directly with the brief conversation going "...I said 'is that it?' and he said 'yep, that's it', so that's it.”
This was supposed to be a one sided affair. The in-form Collingwood taking on the injury hit and sixth seeded Greater Western Sydney Giants with the result surely leading to a Richmond vs Collingwood Grand Final, to the delight of the AFL and Melburnians. The only problem with this narrative was that the Giants didn’t read the script.
In one of the biggest surprises in recent Preliminary Final history, GWS stunned the locals by first taking a big lead, then by defending grimly when a late Collingwood surge looked like taking the Magpies back to the Grand Final in consecutive seasons. The end result shows the Giants winning by just 4 points, but so much happened throughout this game. A frantic last quarter, that a crowd of mostly 70,000 strong Collingwood fans were left as empty shells in a roller coaster of a final.
At half time in Friday night’s Preliminary Final against Geelong, Richmond looked to be in trouble. Just a year after failing badly in the same game against Collingwood despite being hot favorites, the Tigers trailed by 21 points and looked a shadow of the team that was riding a 10 game winning streak. Adding further doubt to any potential comeback was a shoulder injury to 2017 Premiership hero Jack Graham, plus collision injuries to Captain Trent Cotchin and star midfielder Dustin Martin that had slowed both players in the first half.
Geelong on the other hand was magnificent. The Cats were making a mockery of their label as underdogs, taking the game on and converting up forward despite missing key spearhead in Tom Hawkins through suspension. The half time scoreline seemed unlikely after the Tigers rallied in the back end of the first quarter.
(This post will be updated with any changes right up to match time and network schedules often change.)(9/23/19: TSN pre-game coverage start time moved back to 9:00 PM. All coverage and times are now confirmed.)
Fox Soccer Plus (FSP) in the USA and TSN2 in Canada will carry the 2019 Grand Final between Richmond and Greater Western Sydney LIVE on Friday night / Saturday morning, September 27th / 28th. US coverage on FSP will begin at approximately 12:24 AM EDT Saturday. Coverage will continue until approximately 3:30 AM EDT Saturday concluding after the match. No other pre- or post-match coverage will be provided on Fox. FSP will air multiple repeats of the game. Set your DVR accordingly and add extra recording time before as the match starts earlier than the half-hour and the feed may start unexpectedly (most guides show the start time as 12:30 AM so you'll miss at least 6 minutes if you don't) and after so you don't miss anything if the match is extended due to a tie at the end of the 4th quarter!
Canadian coverage on TSN2 will begin with the pregame at 9:00 PM EDT Friday and the game coverage at 12:24 AM EDT Saturday and run to 3:30 AM EDT Saturday.
If you have no access to either of the preceding options, the game will be live via the internet on WatchAFL (payment required, US$23 for individuals) and you can sign up at this link. WatchAFL coverage will begin at 12:24 AM EDT however, they will have pre-match coverage beginning at 7:00 PM EDT and post-match coverage for as long as the Fox Footy in Australia continues. Pre- and post-match are relayed on the Fox Footy feed area of the service. Free coverage by internet radio is also available; check our AFL Radio page.
Fans should check our TV Schedule page for full TV listings including any repeats and our TV Info page for more information on FSP, WatchAFL, and TSN2. Party venues should contact us for commercial subscription discounts. For those looking for parties, see our listings on our Grand Final Party page. (Note: the only live coverage in North America is via these outlets and they are available nationally via cable and satellite services -- see our TV Info page. Asking us if there are others will not get you a different answer because there isn't one.)
The Greater Western Sydney Giants have advanced to a preliminary final against Collingwood after holding on for a three-point victory over a gallant Brisbane Lions on Saturday night. In one of the games of the season, there was something for everyone. There were 10 lead changes throughout the match, plenty of aggression from both teams and some overzealous umpiring that saw a total of 54 free kicks paid for the match.
The Giants burst out of the blocks kicking the first four goals of the game while displaying the same physical style of football that helped them to a big win over the Western Bulldogs just a week earlier.
In a Friday night (Melbourne time) Semi-Final at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the Geelong Cats picked themselves up from their previous week's loss to the Collingwood Magpies, to keep their finals hopes alive and defeat the reigning Premiers, the West Coast Eagles. The Cats had been under intense media scrutiny all week, as many pundits predicted the Cats would again drop out of the finals series with two straight losses. The Eagles too had their own mid-week drama to deal with, as small forward Willie Rioli was handed a provisional suspension for interfering with a urine test administered by the Australian Sports Anti-doping Authority.
The Cats opened the game with a burst of goals. Their plan was clear. Run the ball through the middle of the ground, using handpassing and accurate kicking to catch the Eagle intercept markers [mark = catch] out of position. After nine minutes of play the Cats had booted three goals, keeping West Coast scoreless. Geelong's Captain Joel Selwood continually put his body on the line and midfielders Tim Kelly and Cameron Guthrie used their pace and ball skills to break the Eagles defensive lines. The Eagles abandoned their zone defense structure and played a man-on-man defense,
Adelaide Coach Don Pyke tendered his resignation with two years remaining on his contract. Once the season concluded, the club embarked on an extensive review of their on and off field operations, a review which is still ongoing. However, the club and Pyke both said his departure had nothing to do with the review and was his decision following talks with club officials and his family. He had been considering stepping down for a week.
Pyke, at a press conference said with a prepared statement, "When the side is performing as it is, I recognize that ... I'm part of the problem ... The real question I've grappled with in the last couple of weeks ... 'Am I also part of the solution?'
The Australian football world is in mourning once more with the sad news that former player and coach and current media personality Danny "Spud" Frawley was killed Monday afternoon in a car crash. He was driving alone when his car hit a tree just east of his hometown of Ballarat (72 miles northwest of Melbourne). Frawley, who had just turned 56 on Sunday, was a much-loved personality in the football world, the media and the broader community. Several years ago, he opened up about his struggles with depression and worked in the community to urge others to seek help. He co-hosted a show on SEN Radio entitled No Man Should Ever Walk Alone which addressed men's mental health issues and advised callers where they could go for help for themselves or loved ones.