Traditional or Americanised AFL Grand Final?

For the last two days, my mind has been occupied with comments made about adopting NFL’s Super Bowl stuffs into AFL.

AFL’s great Kevin Sheedy suggests that AFL can learn from the Super Bowl, while former basketballer and current radio presenter Andrew Gaze’s idea is starting an AFL Grand Final at twilight time so that spectators can enjoy half-time entertainment like at the Super Bowl.

I would not buy either idea. I do not want the unique Australian sport to be Americanised.

They seem to want to promote the Australian sport positively, but why adopting American ways?

In his autobiography Stand Your Ground, Sheedy shows his passion of promoting the sport internationally. His contributions of the game is admired, especially suggesting to have international exhibition matches.

What he suggests on SEN’s Morning Glory program is that AFL should have activities during the Grand Final Week, like the Super Bowl has, to create huge atmosphere.

Providing opportunities to get involved in the Grand Final for footy fans would be a good idea, but having a music event as the AFL Grand Final week event is what we want?

I do not think so. Also many people commented opposing Sheedy’s thoughts on SEN’s Facebook post.

Clubs playing at the Grand Final hold open training session and footy fans can enjoy the Grand Final Parade on Friday afternoon.

I could suggest AFL to have some occasions where players and fans can communicate or share activities, such as teaching people how to kick. But it would be hard because boys need to train to prepare for the big match.

What about having chat show where former footballers talk about their Grand Final experiences or showing best Grand Final replays?

I reckon these kinds of stuffs will create excitements for the Grand Final.

Then Gaze’s thought of the timing came. I listened to what he had to say live. What I sensed early in the morning (and I still do sense is) was that Gaze and the co-host Andy Maher wanted excitements with entertainment at AFL Grand Final.

Do footy fan want entertainment in the Grand Final?

I do not think so. I would like to see powerful, attractive and exciting game. Watching a big footy game is the reason why I want to watch the AFL Grand Final at the ‘G when mighty Saints are playing.

Seeing my great boys playing footy in such a big occasion would be a massive experience for me. I do not need anything else to see.

Even I think media coverage of the Super Bowl lures people wanting such entertainment in big sport events. News bulletins reported Katy Perry’s singing Roar at the Super Bowl at first rather than game itself. If music radio stations feature about Perry’s Super Bowl performance, it could be reasonable as they focus on music; however I do not want audience to know how massive the Super Bowl (the game itself) was. I cannot believe that even SEN published an article of Perry’s performances as an individual article.

But SEN audience have different points of views. Same as Sheedy’s opinions, many listeners against Gaze’s thoughts including myself. It is urged that having entertainers push Grand Final ticket prices high that benefit corporates. I perceive that having entertainment on the big sport event is meant to help corporates each other. Sadly loyal club members and fans are ignored. I have to admit to say the AFL Grand Final has already been commercialised that I feel very sad to see.

Please give me an opportunity to see the Grand Final at least once in my life. I want to see mighty Saints winning the flag in front of St Kilda fans including myself!

About Yoshihiro Imagawa

Love, passion and pride are seen on the footy that is the biggest part of my life. 1. St Kilda Club member: I am a passionate and crazy Sainter. Just hope we will win the second flag soon, especially after Dogs and Tigers having ended long premiership draughts. 2. The Osaka Dingoes Player and Public Relations Officer: Player number 44 that I chose to honour Stephen Milne with my wish being like a small forward like him. Lenny Hayes' hardworking attitudes are adopted on my trainings and practices. Nick Riewoldt's great plays are in my player audiobook too. 3. Writing: Here on the Almanac and also on the World Footy News. My skills utilise on great footy websites.


  1. Thanks Yoshi. I think that already there is too much Americanisation of the GF. Why need BORING twats like Ed the footie, Meatloaf etc as ‘entertainment’? The entertainment is having a beer v=before the game and predicting the events about to unfold, then at 1/2 time more beer, dissecting the first half. If i was REALL Y bored, I might watch the Players Race (oh dear!) at 1/2 time instead, but doubt it. If so many need ‘entertainment’ when they attend, maybe they should just go to the cinema instead.

  2. G’day Rabid Dog,

    Thanks for your comment and you show us good point of view!

    As a passionate footy fan, watching games with predictions and discussing about the game is what I really want at the ‘G on the Grand Final Day and watching footy is never boring!

    I reckon AFL features entertainments for corporate people who are invited to the game but unfamiliar with the sport to expand more fans, like what Andy D did for the Gold Coast and GWS Giants.

    Yes, if people get bored watching the Grand Final, cinemas would be their destinations for the day!



  3. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    Interesting question Yoshi.
    The language of footy has become too Americanised and that filters through to the entertainment. I would prefer to see a Women’s League GF as the curtain raiser. How good would it be for those passionate women to be playing in front of a GF crowd?
    Not to mention the fact that it may encourage more young girls to take up the game.

    For everything else, a hologram of Mike Brady would be cheaper and just as entertaining than most of the stuff the AFL has served up over the years. Cheers

  4. Hi Phil,

    I didn’t know about Women’s League GF before the AFL GF. Wow. I would watch the women’s game as well when the Saints play Grand Final. I would enjoy the game and it would be encouraging young girls to get involved in the sport.

    I guess that AFL has connections with agencies who promote entertainers. Japanese TV programs in the evening / at night are all centred with entertainers. They are all rubbish, so I much prefer to read a book and listen to Evenings with Finey on SEN. They talk about footy stuffs on Wednesday night between 10 pm and 11 pm (Melbourne Time). I love GBU Crew segment!

    Now there is an association of footy fans. Should I speak up this issue to them?



  5. Bob Morrow says

    Couldn’t agree more Yoshi , and Rabid dog you are right 1/2 time is for discussion of the first 1/2.
    I do not want “entertainment ” at the Footy or Cricket At the 1989 Grand Final there were the grand finals for the 3rds , 2nds & firsts – that’s entertainment. As a rabid Geelong supporter I was there , naturally all GFs featured Geelong. The tradegy was we didn’t win any of them !

  6. G’day Bob,

    Thanks for your comment and expressing your opinion with your Grand Final experience.

    Yes, footy is the very entertainment at AFL Grand Finals, indeed. Once again, AFL Grand Final should be for footy fans!

    If I were alone at the ‘G on the Grand Final day, I would discuss the match with fellow audience at Half Time break with beer (I would not see the half time entertainment if they had).



  7. Phillip Dimitriadis says

    The GBU Crew is my favourite show on SEN. i’m glad they brought the ‘Wonder Years’ back . So much footy and cultural history presented in a friendly and inclusive way. I like how they encourage the callers to contribute. Cheers

  8. The Grand Final IS the entertainment. The rest is fluff we don’t need.

  9. Skip of Skipton says

    I look forward to going to Japan and changing your culture and telling you what’s right . Oops! Not allowed to do that.

    Sod off.

  10. Skip of Skipton says

    There is nothing I can do, or any of us, short of non-participation, to change the minds of the powers that be. This could be the Footy, Cricket, Gubmint, you name it.


    I’m happy to pay for a non-member membership. Something below the Jack Dyer Good Ordinary?

  11. Skip

    I imagine MOST Japanese would welcome any enthusiastic thoughts you had to improve sumo wrestling or Godzilla films just as 99% of us almanackers welcome Yoshi’s our end.

    Xenophobia … please explain?

  12. Another great article Yoshi, I always enjoy reading your thoughts.

    I’m one of those people who loves the Grand Final for what it is – the Grand Final. I haven’t watched pre-match entertainment for years now, apart from the national anthem. As far as I’m concerned, sing the anthem, toss the coin and bounce the ball. The argument that it should be moved to a night game to get more viewers and enhance the entertainment experience is pure bollocks.

    Love your work Yoshi, and looking forward to your next story.

  13. Andrew Starkie says

    Great article, Yoshi.

    As a voice from abroad, your views are very important. The rest of us are rusted on, jaded, biased footy fans.

    Like most Almanackers, I believe we should put our trust and focus in the product – the game. Wind back the pregame stuff; have curtain raisers; get pre-game performers, ground crew, media etc off the ground before the players take the field; can the ground announcer and noise pollution.

    Call me old fashioned

  14. The People's Elbow says

    As an ‘event’, the SuperBowl is operating on a different level. Does it detract from the sport?

    No. Not one bit.

    It simply gives others an excuse to watch – and probably converts a few thousand each year to the game.

    Super Bowl XLIX was one of the greatest sporting events I’ve seen and one of the greatest performances by an athlete I’ve seen.

    Consider this, having sex with Giselle wasn’t even Tom Brady’s greatest achievement on Super Bowl Sunday.

    I’m all for shifting the Grand Final to a twilight start to facilitate a half-time show under lights – on the proviso that the AFL outsources the responsibility to a company that has a clue and gets the entertainment right, because the AFL is clearly off the wall awful at this.

    I understand some on here find a Saturday afternoon Grand Final sacrosanct and would prefer the half-time entertainment limited to Mike Brady pulling up a lawn chair and dusting off his tired, two-trick pony back-catalogue1, but those days are gone and ain’t coming back.

    The AFL has already bought off the rusted-on football supporter with a low-hanging fruit basket comprising the return of kick-to-kick on the MCG, more Saturday afternoon games,and the elimination of Sunday and Monday night football. Time for them to show some balls and drag this sport into the 21st century.

    Come at me mother______s!

    1. One-trick pony when you consider the two songs are basically one and the same…

  15. Andrew Starkie says

    Craig, how do country people get home from a late finishing GF?

    Personally, the hoopla from SBowl leaves me bewildered and I feel it detracts from the sporting event. it loses credibility. More of a hollywood show than sporting event.

  16. Andrew Starkie says

    And i love Mike Brady.

  17. The People's Elbow says

    Country people book themselves a hotel for the night?

    Bang! I just increased the economic impact of the Grand Final by 6-7%.

    Oh, and why do sport and Hollywood have to be mutually exclusive?

    …and Mike Brady is still awful.

  18. Oh and I hear the the non-member membership costs the equivalent of a half dozen flaccid looking fried dimmies at Pauline Hansen’s chip shop

  19. I’m not sure why we can’t celebrate the Superbowl but also retain bits of the GF as is. We seem to feel that whatever is done overseas needs to be slavishly copied or completely ignored, no middle ground.

    The NFL is a completely different game, so the entertainment and lights, camera, everything is required. Having said that, the game itself, when you remove all the rubbish, was awesome and I back the Elbow’s commenst about what a stunner it was.

    Let’s face it, they invest money in the entertainment that we don’t, and at night definately improves it. Having said that, the only thing that would have made Meatloaf palatable woudl be if we couldn’t have seen him.

    I am a traditionalist I will admit and love the day GF. However, arguments about how do the kids stay up late and how do country people get home are pretty lame when we consider the previous week both prelims were probably played at night, as are most big games now.

    I like the late start, maybe first half in light, tending to evening as the game completes. For mine, the Hawks Port prelim, whilst neither a day or night game, was stunning, starting when it did and finishing under lights.

    The FA Cup doesn’t seem to need pre game singing and we watch that. Does anyone really think more people tune in to the GF to watch the sprint?

    The game on its own is the entertainment. We can celebrate around it by all means, but the Superbowl, awesome as it was, is not comparing apples with apples, so why do we try?


  20. Andrew Starkie says

    So country folk have to pay more?

    It’s all cultural. HOllywood may suit Sbowl; but not our sport. We don’t go for that bs

  21. I reckon it’s pretty clear from AFL decisions that television and expansion of the market are the main priorities (despite a couple of HEAVILY REPORTED exceptions, like having a kick on the ground afterwards). So whatever the focus groups are saying in that regard will probably fly.

    Breaks within home & away matches are already noise-polluted homages to attention-deficit disorder. Half time at an MCG Friday night game is a no conversation zone.

    But people keep turning up. Decision-makers take that as support for their “innovations” (despite a total lack of causal relationship), and give their marketing department staff promotions. .
    How many (more) would turn up if kiss-cam was canned?
    Or if Huddo and Dermie were banned from the big screen?
    Or if that count-down clock went the way of the giant moa?

    This GF futures world is all about expansion of markets, employing more people, advertising… economic growth as an inarguable force of good.

  22. The People's Elbow says

    Yes. Just as they have to pay more for a night at the theatre, the tennis or a Preliminary Final. Living in the country has its (many) benefits, and conversely a disadvantage or two.

    Why should football be exclusive of popular culture and entertainment? It popped is cultural purity cherry a long time ago. Besides, I think the association with entertainment helps reduce sport it to its appropriate place in society – one that enhances our lives, rather than being at the centre of it and elevated to Gerard Whateley levels of cultural hyperbole.

    Besides, if a big half-time show, spares people 30 minutes of the inane insight of Luke Darcy, doesn’t everybody win?

  23. Andrew Starkie says

    it’s all about balance and priorities. We need to ensure the sport is number 1 and not the event. The opposite set of priorities cheapens everything,

  24. G’day gentlemen,

    Thanks for all your comments and it’s good to see different points of views.

    And thank you for your compliments on my writing, Steve and Andrew. Your compliment brings big encouragements for me to keep writing in this wonderful community.

    Phil – even I don’t have knowledge of footy and sport in old days (like 1975 which GBU Crew and listeners talked about on Wednesday night), I like the segment and agree with you for the good concept that listeners can contribute, like us here.

    Skip and T-Bone – our baseball is too Americanised in match fixture and etc, but not on performance. Sumo is popular among Aussies now, but I think the sport respects traditions very much and it’s the reason why western people love, I reckon.

    Elbow – I understand that we are living in new world, but copying American sport is not what I want to see. AFL is very unique and I think there are other options to make it more popular. Respecting and understanding other cultures is good, but I would like to keep AFL unique. No need to follow American stuffs, as my opinion. I have Australian friends who come to Japan annually for snowboarding and they always stay Japanese style accommodation. They hate seeing many western style holiday apartments have been built in ski resorts, especially in Niseko. I want AFL to keep Aussie ways and not adopted American ways.

    E.regnans – it’s great to see your thoughts. Too much noise with advertising is not what I want to see at the game. I cannot tolerate such noises in daily life. We need more socialising at the stadium. Give us opportunities to talk to fellow footy fans discussing the game!

    Sean – I agree with you and you have great views on the issue. Current time slot on Grand Final is good for every footy fan and family friendly. We need to consider kids because they will boost money on the game when they are grown up.

    Thanks all for the comments. If I don’t mention you, I apologise – I hope I don’t miss anyone.


  25. Hilarious take on tinkering the GF in The Age today.

    Golding has a cartoon with 4 suits sitting at a board table and the suit at the head of the table questions ‘Can anyone see a problem with a twilight grand final?’ One of the other suits puts up his hand and says “Most of the international singers we book would usually be in bed by half time.”


  26. G’day T-Bone,

    Thanks for mentioning us about the cartoon in the Age article. Yes, it’s hilarious!!

    This cartoon was re-published on an SEN article where Rohan Connolly suggests us that no change of the Grand Final time slot is needed. He makes good points of views and has great passion of footy. Connolly expresses voices of true footy fans.



  27. I have just listened to discussions on SEN’s Run Home where Mark Allan and the Ox talked with listeners.

    The last two callers made good points. While a lady has a concern about the player’s post match function, a bloke wanted to have barbies with watching footy (if the game started at 4.30 pm, half time would be dark so people would not be able to have barbeque).

    Good calls!


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