5 headlines to watch for: AFL Grand Final Day

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Toby Greene (GWS) jumper-punches Alex Rance. Photo: Julian Smith

This Saturday, the Richmond Tigers and GWS Giants will face-off in the AFL Grand Final. As fans, we love to keep an eye out for any sort of drama and entertainment we can lay our eyes and ears on. So here are the Top 5 headlines we’re likely to read post-Grand Final day:

 

  1. Marlion Pickett debut defies odds.

In the history of the VFL/AFL, there have been only five players to debut on Grand Final day. Now, 67 years since the last, Richmond’s Marlion Pickett has been named to become number 6. In the wake of midfielder Jack Graham’s shoulder dislocation during last weekend’s preliminary final against Geelong, Pickett has been chosen above several options.

Marlion Pickett will become the first player in 67 years to debut in a Grand Final. Photo: AAP, Scott Barbour

Last Sunday, Pickett played in Richmond’s VFL premiership and was awarded the Norm Goss medal for a best-on-ground performance, with 20 disposals, nine tackles, and a goal. His form points to a fairytale, but not everyone is on board with his selection. Pickett was chosen ahead of players such as Kamdyn McIntosh (90 AFL games) and Jack Ross (7 AFL games) who were rested from the VFL Grand Final in case of this specific situation. All we can say is, Pickett better make his selection worth it.

 

  1. ARControversy

The umpires’ decision review system is still a work in progress in the AFL. The fact the contentious ARC (AFL Review Centre) was only just implemented for this year’s finals series shows that. 

The AFL decision review hub, the ARC. Photo: Riley Beveridge

The ARC is designed to provide transparency for the audience, and heightened accuracy in the decision-making process. But after a blatantly incorrect decision in last weekend’s preliminary final between Collingwood and GWS, which threatened to lose the Giants their spot in the Grand Final, the omnipotent ARC is struggling for credibility. Look out for some ARControversy this Saturday.  

 

  1. De Boer wins the battle, Martin the war.

In round 3 Matt De Boer, a prolific tagger for GWS, kept Dustin Martin to a measly 10 disposals. The same game saw Martin become outwardly frustrated and incur a one-match ban and $7500 in fines for two separate incidents.

Richmond star Dustin Martin (left) shrugs of Patrick Cripps. Photo: Getty Images

At the time of writing, Martin is this year’s favourite for the Norm Smith medal and a strong showing from him will go a long way to earning the Tigers their second premiership in 3 years. However, if De Boer – who has kept his opponents this finals series to 31 disposals over a total 212 minutes – has anything to say about it, Martin will be more cat than tiger.

My tip: De Boer will do a number on Dusty, but the Tigers will have the reinforcements for success.

 

  1. Toby Greene sees red

He’s coming off two tribunal hearings in his last two matches, but you’d be a fool to think GWS forward Toby Greene will go about his business in any other way. An eye-gouge here and a hair pull here, Greene has toed the line of the law since his debut back in 2012. His fly-kicking marking style of 2018 even introduced a new rule by the AFL to avoid such behaviour.

Toby Greene (second from right) remains calm off-field, and will have to remain so in this Saturday’s Grand Final. Photo: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images.

Never one to be deterred by fine or suspension – having incurred 18 separate sanctions over his 8-year playing career – Greene has the playing prowess to turn a big game on its head. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him at it again this Saturday.

 

 

 

 

  1. Jack steps up on the big stage: Paul Kelly’s

It was one of the most memorable Grand Final day moments of the last decade. In 2017, Richmond’s Jack Riewoldt – just an hour after becoming a premiership player – sang The Killers’ Mr Brightside on stage with the American rock band, his medallion swinging from his neck.

Jack Riewoldt (right) on stage with Brandon Flowers of The Killers after winning the 2017 premiership
Paul Kelly will be headlining this year’s Grand Final entertainment. Photo: scenestr.com

This time around, should Richmond reign supreme once more, one can only hope Jack will be back on stage. This time it could be with Australia’s old mate Paul Kelly, who will be headlining this year’s Grand Final day entertainment. Gravy, anyone?

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