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.
Location: Davie (Ft Lauderdale), FL
Venue: The Mack House
Venue Telephone: +1 954-474-5040
Location: Richmond, VA
Venue: Penny Lane Pub
Venue Telephone: +1 804-780-1682
Location: San Francisco, CA #4
Venue: The Kezar Pub
Venue Telephone: +1 415-386-9292
Location: Albany, NY
Venue: Mike Fondacaro's House (private residence)
Venue Telephone: +1 518-431-9197
Location: Halifax, NS
Venue: Bubba Ray’s Sports Bar Too - Halifax
Venue Phone: +1 902-406-1234
Directions to the party: 7071 Bayers Rd, Halifax, NS B3L 2C2, Canada
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.