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by Rob de Santos and Johnson Leung, reporting for AFANA

The AFL has announced the entertainment and time line for this year's Grand Final.  The show is headlined by Irene Cara and Australian Idol contestants.  The entertainers include acts from the recent Australian TV "Countdown Spectacular": John Paul Young, Sean Kelly, Daryl Braithwaite, Shane Howard, Brian Mannix and Joe Camilleri.  

Cara is a two-time Grammy and Academy Award winning singer-songwriter and her trip to Australia is sponsored by Foster's Group (formerly CUB), which features What a Feeling in the latest campaign for Carlton Draught beer.  Cara, who had never been to an AFL match, said she was excited about performing in front of 100,000 people at the MCG.   Entertainment will also include the "Young Divas".  They comprise four former Australian Idol finalists: 2005 winner Kate DeAraugo and runner-up Emily Williams, plus 2004 finalist Ricki-Lee Coulter and 2003 finalist Paulini Curuenavuli.

The 12 Australian Idol finalists for 2006 will perform Waltzing Matilda this year.  The finalists are  (guys listed first): Bobby Flynn, 25, Queensland, Joseph Gatehau, 18, New South Wales (eliminated after first round of finals) Dean Geyer, 20, Victoria Damien Leith, 30, New South Wales Chris Murphy, 30, Western Australia Ricky Muscat, 22, Victoria Guy Mutton, 29, Queensland Reigan Derry, 17, Western Australia (eliminated after second round) Klancie Keough, 24, Queensland (eliminated after third round) Jessica Mauboy, 16, Northern Territory Lisa Mitchell, 16, New South Wales Lavina Williams, 27, Victoria.

The AFL will also honor the league's recently retired players as well as those that retired after last year's grand final with Jason Ball and Stuart Maxfield (Sydney), Angelo Lekkas (Hawthorn), Justin Murphy, (Richmond / Carlton / Geelong), Justin Leppitsch (Brisbane Lions), Gavin Wanganeen (Essendon / Port Adelaide), Blake Caracella (Essendon / Brisbane  Lions / Collingwood), Paul Williams (Collingwood / Sydney), Peter Riccardi (Geelong), Saverio Rocca (Collingwood / Kangaroos), Jarrad Schofield (West Coast / Port Adelaide / Fremantle) and Rohan Smith (Western Bulldogs) all to take part in the pre-match Grand Final motorcade.  The pre-match ceremony will also recognize the 2006 Australian Football Hall of Fame inductees: Craig Bradley, Tony Lockett, Steve Marsh, Peter Matera, John Murphy, Robert Walls and Harry Beitzel, and Daryl Baldock.  Four players from the Australian women's basketball team called the Opals, will be part of the pre-match motorcade around the MCG.  The Opals won a world title last weekend. 

AFL Auskick kids will again feature in the pre-match entertainment. The children will also feature in the half-time Auskick activities, and will present the Premiership Medals.  One child is from each of the 94 Auskick regions in Australia, chosen by drawing. Twenty two will be selected to present the premiership medallions to the players of the winning team.

Over at the Punt Road oval, there will be a live feed of the Grand Final on a big screen beginning a hour before the match, pre-match activities including trials of the Grand Final sprint, and a post match concert by Thirsty Merc and Mark Seymour. The Premiership winning team will appear live on stage at around 8:00 PM local time.

Key events for Grand Final Day and estimated times include:

(Note: This time line is subject to change and partially based on prior years.  We apologize for any errors that might occur.)

(First time is US EDT, second is Australian AEST)

6:00 PM / 8.00 AM
Network Ten telecast commences in Australia.

8:00 PM / 10:00 AM
Under 18 TAC Cup Grand Final

10:40 PM / 12:40 PM (approx)
TAC Cup concludes followed by on field presentation.

10:50 PM / 12:50 PM
Red Berets parachute into MCG, delivering match-day footballs, then arena cleared.

11:00 - 11:15 PM / 1:00- 1:15 PM
Preliminary warm up opportunity for both teams; On-field stage and sound set up.

11:20 PM /  1:20 PM 
US coverage begins on Setanta Sports.

11:25 PM / 1:25 PM
Pre-match entertainment begins.
Irene Cara performs What a Feeling from the movie Flashdance.

11:29 PM / 1:29 PM
Australian Idol finalists perform Waltzing Matilda.

11:30 PM / 1:30 PM
International TV coverage begins.  

11:36 PM / 1:36 PM
Motorcade of AFL greats, retirees and 2006 award winners, and Opal basketball players as the Young Divas perform You’re the Inspiration

11:42 PM / 1:42 PM
Melbourne Gospel Choir performs of West Coast Eagles and Sydney Swans club songs.

11:46 PM / 1:46 PM
Australian rock legends perform medley of hits.

12:00 MN / 2:00 PM
Canadian TV coverage begins on Fox Sports World Canada. 

12:09 AM / 2:09 PM
Arena cleared; Set cheer squad banners.

12:14 AM / 2:14 PM
Video highlights as a prelude to entry of teams

12:16 AM / 2:16 PM
Umpires are introduced.

12:17 AM - 12:23 AM / 2:17 - 2:23 PM
Teams introduced and team photos.

12:27 AM / 2:27 PM
Australian rock legends perform Advance Australia Fair followed by players and coaches shaking hands with umpires.

12:28 AM / 2:28 PM
Three sirens and coin toss.

12:30 AM / 2:30 PM
Bouncedown of the 2006 Toyota AFL Grand Final. Network Ten team for the broadcast will be Stephen Quartermain and  Anthony Hudson doing the call and primary color while Robert Walls and Malcolm Blight with commentary.

1:40 AM / 3.40 PM (approx)
Half-time (22 minutes); Gillette M3 Power Nitro AFL Grand Final Sprint and NAB AFL Auskick.
3:15 AM / 5:15 PM approx
Post-Match presentations and team photo.  

The Premiership cup will be presented by either Bob Skilton (Sydney) or Glen Jakovich (West Coast) depending on which club is victorious.  

Allan Jeans will present the Jock McHale Medal to the Premiership coach and Bill Duckworth (retired Essendon great) will present the Norm Smith Medal to the Best Player on the Ground. The voting panel for the Norm Smith Medal is Michael Sheahan (Herald Sun, Chairman), Rohan Connolly (Age), Jenny McAsey (Australian), Mark Maclure (ABC Radio) and Ray Wilson (West Australian).

4:00 AM / 6:00 PM
TV coverage ends in Australia, US, and Canada.   

Sources:  AFL press releases, Network Ten press releases, correspondence with AFL, Herald Sun, reporter's notes. 

Article last changed on Friday, September 29, 2006 - 11:34 AM EDT

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