Angry fans slam the AFL’s grand final parade as it heads to the Yarra River for the first time and huge crowds flock to see the stars of Geelong and Sydney – but VERY disappointed
- A large number of supporters gathered on the banks of the Yarra River to see the stars
- The reaction to the move away from holding the parade in CBD was at times brutal
- Many fans complained that they could not get close to their heroes
Finals fever has started as footy fans descended on Melbourne’s Yarra River for this year’s big AFL finals parade that made history – but some angry fans have slammed the switch to hold the event on city streets.
The main attraction of Footy’s Biggest Week usually moves through Melbourne’s city center with players on the backs of utes, but this year the Sydney Swans and Geelong Cats swam along the waterway, affectionately known as the ‘reverse river’ for its muddy brown water.
The AFL canceled the event in 2020 and 2021 when the grand final was played interstate due to Covid-19 lockdowns in Melbourne.
This year’s parade saw players travel down the Yarra from Swan Street Bridge to Princes Bridge from 10.30am before turning back to the MCG as the state had a bank holiday.
The history-making parade saw the big finals stars float down the Yarra River for the first time ever – and fans weren’t happy with the move
A large number of football fans turned out on the riverbank but were disappointed that they could not see the stars up close and personal
The players were presented to the crowd off the pitch with the 2022 Premiership Cup on display.
However, the move from the streets of the CBD to the riverbanks has come as a lead balloon to many fans.
One of the main criticisms from fans was the fact that it was difficult to see the players, whereas in previous years the stars were up close and personal.
Sydney Swans players wave from a barge on the Yarra – enraging many fans and leading radio host Tony Jones to dub the new version of the parade a ‘disaster’.
“No interaction with the players and coaches,” Alex Baskin tweeted.
“The key component of the AFL Grand Final Parade is getting the fans 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.
A tweeter named Milly wrote: “Sooooo so so bad. The boats turned around well before anyone else in this photo who had been waiting in their “viewing areas” for hours.
Geelong fan Sue Garlick said parade organizers needed a “good kick in the butt”.
“It was the biggest hiss ever. There was no cheering from anyone. There were kids who were crying because they couldn’t see,” she told The Age.
“Saying a lot about the AFL that someone thought it was a good idea,” Ashley Little tweeted.
3AW Radio’s Tony Jones was scathing, branding the new parade a “disaster” and saying, “I would put that in the same category as Meat Loaf, AFLX and the Batmobile… 10 years from now we’re going to be looking at pictures of it and it as a punch line.” to use.’
The grand finale has already drawn thousands to the city as 75 per cent of Melbourne’s hotels, motels and serviced apartments were fully booked for the weekend.
The parade drew a large turnout, but one fan spoke for many when she dubbed the Yarra Experiment “the greatest fizzer of all time”.
“It’s a really exceptional boom for us,” Victorian Sport 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.”
Mr Dimopolous said allegations of racism at Hawthorn Football Club would not dampen the excitement of the big finals week.
“These are harrowing and really disturbing allegations,” he said.
“But the AFL has made a strong commitment to an independent outside investigation, which is correct.
“It gave us clear air and a real opportunity for the Victorians to enjoy the biggest game in the country.”
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/afl/article-11241517/Angry-fans-slam-AFL-grand-final-parade-held-Yarra-River-Geelong-Cats-Sydney-Swans.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Angry fans thrash the AFL’s first major closing parade held on the Yarra River by Geelong Cats Sydney Swans