Reliving fond memories from the 2014 AFL Grand Final

The 2014 AFL Grand Final – Hawks v Swans

My wife and I have been extremely fortunate in recent years to attend a few AFL grand finals, courtesy of my generous employer. Although we haven’t been doing it long enough to consider the day’s activities traditions we have established a routine of sorts.

The day starts with a sleep in, watch some of the early AFL coverage, then head for a leisurely breakfast in Degraves street, soaking up the Melbourne laneway culture and enjoying the vibrancy of the city as the team colours surround us. Then it is off to Federation Square, and as we creep geographically closer to the MCG the atmosphere continues to build. We meet up with friends, have a couple of quiet drinks, and start talking in more depth about our expectations for the game.

One of my favourite parts of the day is the walk that starts along the banks of the Yarra to the MCG, people buzzing with excitement, buskers peppered along the walk, several practising the team songs. As we near the ground we turn and look back at the sea of red and white, and yellow and brown clad supporters streaming towards us. As a neutral observer for the clash there is an element of jealousy, knowing that in a few hours one group of supporters is going to be deliriously happy.

As we enter the MCG and find our seats there is a moment to reflect on just how fortunate we are to attend one of Australia’s greatest annual sporting events, The Melbourne Cup, the Boxing Day test match, the Australian Open tennis, Rugby League State of Origin, all great sporting events, but give me the AFL grand final any day.

For an organisation generating billions of dollars each year it continues to stagger me how wrong they can get the entertainment. What were they thinking a few years ago with Meatloaf? To our surprise and relief the combination of Ed Sheeran and Tom Jones actually works.

As the first bounce approaches it feels like the game is genuinely a toss of the coin between two exceptional teams, whether it is fact or just a good urban myth, I really enjoy the “no dickheads” team ethos of the hard working Swans, coming up against the ruthless “unsociable” football of the Hawks. More spine tingling moments as the stillness, calm and pent-up energy of the National anthem is replaced by the roar accompanying the first bounce, its game on!

As a contest the game is disappointing after quarter time, with Hawthorn’s relentless pressure and attack on the body and ball, out “Sydney-ing” the Swans. Possibly the worst game in terms of competitiveness that the Swans have played for a few years, but take nothing away from Hawthorn who were brilliant and relentless.

After the game and the medal presentations we hang around and watch the Hawks slowly do their lap of honour and two brilliant family moments emerge.

As the Hawks players are dribbling past us, we notice a family a few rows in front of us waving excitedly and trying to get Will Langford’s attention. Jarryd Roughead, who is walking with Langford realises and draws his attention to the family. It turns out to be Will Langford’s father, former Hawthorn great Chris, and his family, who proceed to share a slightly distant but touching family moment. Like us, the people around us had no idea that they were sitting near Hawthorn royalty and the Hawthorn supporters started to chant and bow down before Langford Snr.

Our last enduring family memory before leaving the ground also occurred as the lap of honour was winding up; as most of the players and their children were sticking close to the boundary we notice Brian Lake with one of his children lying on the ground behind the presentation platform making shapes with their bodies in the shiny confetti left on the ground. Just two boys having fun together.

We leave the ground with great memories and hope we will be back again!


A sports nut living in Adelaide with wife and two kids. A Norwood (Redlegs)supporter for about 40 years, played country footy as a kid and had a short but extremely enjoyable stint with the lower grades at the Adelaide Uni Blacks in the early 1990s.


  1. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Willo very jealous of you re being able to go ( Bob is definitely with you ) a enjoyable read you took us to the game and there is something special about being a outsider observing a family emotion like that

  2. Still yet to go to a gf its on my bucket list

  3. Tom Wilson says

    Hopefully with your son as well at one point. Good article just wish I could have the experience to write an article about!

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