The Roar
The Roar


Dear Gillon, here's a grand final day idea

The Hawks have featured in plenty of grand final classics going back to the beginning of the AFL era. (AAP Image/Julian Smith)
Roar Guru
6th April, 2016

The debacle of AFL grand final entertainment has been gradually lessened after the infamous Meatloaf incident of 2011.

The administration have gone with reserved and globally respected chart-topping musicians to perform on football’s greatest day.

This ranges from The Temper Trap in 2012 to Birds of Tokyo in 2013, Ed Sheeran and Sir Tom Jones the year after and Bryan Adams and Ellie Goulding just last year.

These choices have curved away from the pure meaning behind grand final day entertainment, as the ideas of musical entertainment are beginning to merge into a pyrotechnical display full of chutzpah and glamour that American football utilises.

Nonetheless, I am making a formal request to AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan that we need a change before the uniqueness of an AFL grand final and the entertainment that it was once prided on is commercialised to the point of no return.

First of all, the best part of the grand final entertainment last year was the fact that they called the Hunters and Collectors in to perform a rousing rendition of their timeless ballad The Holy Grail.

It not just referenced the sport specifically, it also included the passion that so many AFL fans associate with the sport.

The whole idea of grand final entertainment on Australia’s largest and most global stage is to project our home-grown talent and give them a platform to perform.

Therefore, the fact that distinguished and talented British performers are taking the stage and owning it is a blight on the organisation and decision-making people behind the entertainment, as it strays away from the true purpose of the entertainment – to entertain.


Many Australians have already come to respect the thriving British music scene that is taking a hold of the world currently, but it doesn’t mean that both performers have to come from the mother country.

That’s why my suggestion is to have one quality British act fly down to Melbourne to perform, as it showcases the best of the current music scene and can give the younger generations some music to enjoy and appreciate.

But, just recruiting an older performer from another continent isn’t going to cut it. The expectation of Australian music is the hard nut, knock your socks off rock music that bands like Hunters and Collectors, ACDC and Crowded House produced for the majority of the latter half of the twentieth century.

But, sorry to let down the thriving working class people of Australia who still turn to Gold FM and blare these rock anthems out, times have changed. The AFL have to prove that they are a forward-thinking and modern organisation.

In a culture that is rapidly turning into pop consumed, the local Australian talent that needs to be sourced has to still show hallmarks that the classic Australian music once possessed.

The splendour of Hunters and Collectors performing their true Aussie anthem is a marvellous idea yet an out dated one. We need to let new talent carry the baton before it is too late and we fall behind the eight ball.

Therefore, for my two acts that I believe should perform on grand final day, I have chosen.

1. James Bay
The fact that the likes of Ed Sheeran have recently passed by our great day to perform for us is one that can comfort Bay, as his music is closer to the rock music that many Australians still enjoy.


The likes of Let It Go and Scars, two of his softer and more melodic songs, can be interwoven through the likes of songs such as Craving, his rocky and electric guitar riff dominated cover of Tina Turner’s Proud Mary, and his chart-topping rock anthem Hold Back The River which has been tested and validated at festivals such as Glastonbury.

This man can perform, and given that he is only young (he will be 26 by grand final day), it is another wonderful way of showcasing new talent and representing the thriving British music.

His performance would be best suited to half time, as giving him centre stage would be more than worth it for the talented young Brit who produces wonderful rock ballads.

2. The Rubens
Fresh off winning the Triple J Hottest 100 with their song Hoops, the modern day rock and alternative music that The Rubens produce is just starting to become recognised and appreciated by the wider Australian public.

Capped off by a spectacular Australia Day performance at the Australian Open, the young band encapsulates numerous Australian values throughout their smooth yet sophisticated music.

From Hoops to the hard rock and drum crashing sounds of Hallelujah, The Rubens can also balance out their rock tunes with sweet vocals and guitar in songs such as My Gun, Hold Me Back and Lay It Down.

Also, in another bonus that can only help the appeal of grand final day performance, they have produced a wonderful cover of The Holy Grail, meaning that they would be ideal to perform pre-match as the teams run out.

They have proven themselves over the past summer with wonderful performances and high-reaching accolades, as The Rubens are ready to project their talent to the world through a rousing and passionate performance on grand final day that would make many Australians believe that perhaps all rock music isn’t dead.