After hundreds of games and thousands of goals, the 2018 AFL season comes down to a single match between two teams. Join the free celebrations, from close encounters with the Premiership Cup to being in the running to win Grand Final tickets. Here’s what to do and see in the lead up to the big day.
Tuesday: take Premiership Cup photos, win AFL Grand Final tickets
Want to win a double pass to the 2018 AFL Grand Final? Head to the Raise the AFL Premiership Cup at the Queen Victoria Market between 11am and 1pm on Tuesday 25 September. To be in the running for the tickets, sign up to the What’s On e-news at the event. While you’re there, hold the coveted silver cup and meet two AFL superstars – so prepare for some epic selfies.
Wednesday onwards: get in the zone at the Footy Festival
From Wednesday 26 September to the big day, the free AFL Footy Festival celebrates Melbourne’s sporting obsession at Yarra Park. There’s a kids zone, including Auskick clinics and a monster inflated footy obstacle course. The food trucks at Taste of Football go well beyond hot pies, with everything from Texas barbecue to Danish doughnuts.
There’ll be appearances by AFL heroes, ready for photos and a natter. And Grand Final Eve fun, from the Grand Final Parade’s finale to a cool concert. Then, on the big day, watch pre-match entertainment and the battle for the Premiership Cup on the giant screens.
Friday: cheer on the Grand Final Parade
Yarra Park is also the end point for the AFL Grand Final Parade, but there are kilometres of opportunity along the route. Starting at the Old Treasury Building, players from the two Grand Final teams will be in this colourful motorcade through the city. Marching bands and roving entertainers add to the excitement of this major Grand Final Eve holiday event.
Friday night: watch the Grand Final Eve Concert
If you’re not already at Yarra Park, head down for the 5pm kick-off to this major Footy Festival event. The Grand Final Eve Concert’s opening act is DJ Horizon, who at just 21 could be Australia’s coolest R’n’B mixmaster. Next on the bill is local hip hop trio Thundamentals, whose latest album, I Love Songs, has just dropped. Hear their new single, I Miss You, live and loud as they celebrate 10 years of dope beats.
Saturday: watch the big game and Barnsey
If you weren’t lucky enough to nab a ticket to the AFL Grand Final, never fear. You can still be in the thick of it at heaps of venues throughout Melbourne. Check our guide on where to watch the AFL Grand Final, including bars, rooftops and family-friendly live sites.
After the game, there’s free entry to the MCG for the Virgin Premiership Party starring Jimmy Barnes. Fresh from the pre-game show alongside The Black Eyed Peas, this legend of Oz Rock will sing many of his greatest hits. The odds are good he’ll do Khe Sanh.
Looking for more?
For more ideas on what to do and what’s open, head to What’s on in the city for the AFL Long Weekend.