Angry fans slam first AFL grand final parade held on Yarra River Geelong Cats Sydney Swans
Angry fans slam the AFL’s grand final parade as it heads to the Yarra River for the first time with huge crowds flocking to see the Geelong and Sydney stars – but they leave VERY disappointed
- A large number of supporters gathered on the banks of the Yarra River to see the stars
- The reaction to switching away from parading in the CBD was sometimes brutal
- Many fans complained that they couldn’t get really close to their heroes
Finals fever has begun as football fans descended on Melbourne’s Yarra River for this year’s history-making AFL finals parade – but some angry fans have slammed the switch away from holding the event on the city’s streets.
The primary feature of footy’s biggest week is usually moving through Melbourne’s city center with players on the back of utes, but this year the Sydney Swans and Geelong Cats floated along the waterway affectionately known as the ‘Upside Down River’ due to its muddy brown water.
The AFL scrapped the event in 2020 and 2021 when the grand final was played interstate due to Covid-19 lockdowns in Melbourne.
This year’s parade featured players traveling down the Yarra from Swan Street Bridge to Princes Bridge from 10.30am before returning to the MCG as the state enjoyed a public holiday.
The history-making parade saw the grand final stars float down the Yarra River for the first time ever – and fans weren’t happy with the switch
A large number of football fans turned up on the river banks, but were disappointed that they could not see the stars up close.
The players have been introduced to the crowd outside the ground, with the 2022 Premiership Cup on display.
However, the shift from the streets of the CBD to the riverbanks has gone down like a lead balloon with many fans.
One of the biggest complaints from supporters was that it was difficult to see the players, whereas in years past the stars were up close.
Sydney Swans players wave from a barge on the Yarra – leaving many supporters angry and prompting radio host Tony Jones to call the new take on the parade a ‘disaster’
“No interaction with players and coaches,” tweeted Alex Baskin.
‘The key component of the AFL Grand Final Parade is that the fans get up close and personal with the players. The idea of requiring binoculars to find your hero from a river bank is not ideal,’ wrote Adam White.
One tweeter named Milly wrote: ‘Soooo bad. The boats turned around before anyone in this photo who waited for hours in your ‘viewing areas”.
Geelong fan Sue Garlick said parade organizers need a “good kick up the butt”.
‘It was the biggest rush ever. There was no cheering from anyone. There were children who cried because they didn’t get to see anything,’ she said The age.
“Says a lot about the AFL that someone thought this would be a good idea,” tweeted Ashley Little.
3AW Radio’s Tony Jones was scathing, labeling the new parade a ‘disaster’ and saying: ‘I’d put this in the same category as Meat Loaf, AFLX and the Batmobile … in 10 years we’ll be looking at pictures of this and using it as a punchline.’
The grand final has already drawn thousands to the city with 75 per cent of Melbourne’s hotels, motels and serviced apartments booked out for the weekend.
The parade attracted a huge turnout, but one fan spoke for many when she branded the Yarra experiment ‘the biggest shower ever’
“It’s a really extraordinary boom for us,” Victorian Sports Minister Steve Dimopolous told reporters on Friday.
“It’s really important, but it’s also fundamentally about who we are as a community of Victorians.”
Sir. Dimopolous said allegations of racism at the Hawthorn Football Club would not tarnish the excitement of grand final week.
“They are appalling and truly disturbing allegations,” he said.
“But the AFL has made a strong commitment to an independent external investigation, which is the right thing to do.
“It has given us clear air and some real opportunities for Victorians to enjoy the best game in the country.”