The AFL Grand Final is the biggest Australian Rules Football match of the year. The match is played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground and the winner is declared the best team in the Australian Rules Football League for that year.
The 2018 AFL Grand Final will be contested between West Coast Eagles and Collingwood Football Club. The West Coast Eagles are making their first appearance in the AFL Grand Final since 2015, when they lost to Hawthorn.
Collingwood last played in the AFL Grand Final back in 2011 and they also lost, going down to Geelong. However, Collingwood were successful the season before, winning the 2010 AFL Grand Final over St Kilda. That match was interesting as it was only the third drawn game in the history of the VFL/AFL, with Collingwood winning the replay.
While the main focus of the AFL Grand Final is the match, there are many exciting things happening on the day of the game, starting with the Grand Final Breakfast. The Grand Final Breakfast started in 1967 and while many fans enjoy their own version, the official breakfast is broadcast live on television and features notable names from the world of sport, politics and entertainment.
With all proceeds from the AFL Grand Final breakfast being donated to charity, it is the perfect way to start the day.
The nerves really start to kick-in as fans begin to enter the stadium. However, there is plenty of entertainment to get everyone in the mood ahead of the game. Pre-match entertainment has long been a part of the AFL Grand Final and in recent years, the quality of the performing artists has been superb.
Ed Sheeran, Tom Jones, Bryan Adams and the Killers are just some of the big name artists to have performed at the AFL Grand Final in the past four years. The good news is the Killers are making a return to the pre-match entertainment for the 2018 AFL Grand Final and they will be joined by the Black Eyes Peas, without Fergie and Australian legend, rocker Jimmy Barnes.
Barnes is a big name in Australia and has recently released a documentary entitled Jimmy Barnes: Working Class Boy. The documentary made its debut at the Melbourne International Film Festival and has since been released in cinemas around the country. Football fans will be looking forward to seeing the rock singer and songwriter in action prior to the game.
With a cracking line-up of international and Australian musical talent, the crowd will be whipped into a frenzy ready for when the players enter the field.
When the players step out of the locker room, they will stand for Advance Australia Fair, the national anthem of Australia. Other interesting features of the AFL Grand Final include the longest kick competition, involving ten players from the league plus one member of the public and the sprint race, with players from each club taking part to find the fastest man over 100 metres.
Once the pre-match festivities are complete, all attention will turn to the two teams and the match itself.
West Coast Eagles come into the 2018 AFL Grand Final knowing they defeated Collingwood twice this year and finished above them in the final ladder. The key forwards of the West Coast Eagles made the difference in the two meetings between the team earlier this year, with John Kennedy and Jack Darling being the pick of the players in both games. Kennedy and Darling recorded three goals each in their first game and two goals each in the qualifying final.
There are only two teams which average more goals than West Coast Eagles this season, with four players boasting 32 majors or more. However, Collingwood are not far behind and are averaging 13.4 goals this year, just 0.1 behind the Eagles. In addition, Collingwood have four players with at least 36 majors and eight players in the top 100 of the official AFL Player Ratings, which is double that of West Coast Eagles.
Interestingly, this is as good as a home game for Collingwood, who play their home AFL matches at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. They have also benefitted from an extra day of rest, having defeated Richmond on the 21st September, while West Coast Eagles beat Melbourne the following day.
This will be the first time in the history of the AFL that West Coast Eagles and Collingwood have met in the final and it should be something special. Both teams are capable of making a big score, with perhaps West Coast Eagles just edging it thanks to their previous wins this season.