Collingwood Takes on Brisbane in Highly Anticipated Australian Rules Football Grand Final

Illustration: AFL

The Australian Rules Football season is reaching its peak with the Grand Final of the Professional Australian Football League (AFL) on Saturday, September 30 (2:30 p.m. Melbourne time / Sat 12:30 a.m. New York time).

“Aussie Rules,” or “Footy” as it’s colloquially known, is a highly physical contact sport played between two teams of 18 players on an oval field with the objective being to kick an oval-shaped ball between the center two poles of four (a goal).

The Grand Final will be played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) with a packed crowd of 100,000 spectators. The day before the grand final is a public holiday in Melbourne.

The 2022 TV broadcast was the most-watched program, with nearly 6 million viewers domestically.

Footy is a great sport to watch as the game is a fast-running game, not unlike soccer or basketball in terms of ball movement, where players can kick or handpass a ball to teammates. Highlights of the match include players leaping in the air on the shoulders of their opponents to catch the ball (“take a mark or a speccy”), chasing an opponent and tackling them to the ground, or threading the needle from an acute angle to kick a goal. When there are 100,000 people in the stands cheering the atmosphere is electric, and fans cheer on mass to berate the umpire when they think a decision has gone the wrong way. There is no padding, and players can be hit from any direction so it’s not a game for the weak.

This year, the finalists are:

Collingwood Football Club (Magpies)

Illustration: AFL

The “Pies” have made it to their 45th Grand Final after beating the Greater Western Sydney Giants in a nail-biting Preliminary final on Friday night by 1 point. 97,655 fans attended the MCG, and when the siren went to end the game, the noise was deafening. My friend Andy Smith was there and commented, “Best game ever, it was crazy! It was so loud; I’ve never heard anything like it.” GWS had won their last 11 games straight, and as the newest team in the league with a new coach, it would have been a fairy tale for them to win the Grand Final. However, Collingwood, who finished the season on the top of the ladder, held strong in a high-pressure game. American Mason Cox played well, kicking the goal to put them ahead in the 3rd quarter.

Match highlights.

Brisbane Football Club (Lions)

Illustration: AFL

The Brisbane Lions finished second on the ladder from the home and away matches and defeated Carlton in the other Preliminary final on Saturday to advance to the Grand Final. Brisbane defeated Collingwood in the 2002 and 2003 Grand finals.

Collingwood’s forward (like a striker in soccer) sustained a knee injury on Friday and will miss the Grand Final. Despite this, Collingwood is a slight favorite to win the big event.

In the US, Fox Sports will cover the game. Who’s going to join me to watch and cheer for my beloved Pies to win?


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