Angry fans slammed the AFL grand final parade as it turned out for the first time on the Yarra River with huge crowds flocking to watch Geelong and Sydney stars – but left sorely disappointed.
Huge crowds of fans gathered on the banks of the Yarra River to see the stars.The reaction to the parade being pulled from the CBD was sometimes brutal, with many fans complaining they couldn’t get up close and personal with their heroes.
Finals fever has kicked in as footy fans descend on Melbourne’s Yarra River for this year’s history-making AFL grand final parade – but some angry fans have condemned the city’s streets for taking away from hosting the event.
The main feature of footy’s biggest week usually takes the players to downtown Melbourne, but this year the Sydney Swans and Geelong Cats floated down the waterway affectionately known as the ‘Inverted River’ because of its murky brown waters. .
The AFL canceled the event in 2020 and 2021 when the interstate grand final was played in Melbourne due to the Covid-19 lockdown.
This year’s parade sees the players travel down the Yarra from Swan Street Bridge to Princes Bridge at 10.30am, before returning to the MCG to enjoy the state public holiday.
The history-making parade saw Grand Final stars float down the Yarra River for the first time – and fans weren’t happy about the switch
A large number of footy fans turned up at the riverside but were disappointed not to see the star up close and personal.
The players were presented to the crowd outside the ground with the 2022 Premiership Cup on display.
However, the switch from CBD street to riverside has gone down like a lead balloon with many fans.
One of the main gripes from fans was that it was difficult to watch the players, whereas in previous years it was up close and personal with the stars.
Sydney Swans players wave from a barge over the Yarra – angering many supporters and prompting radio host Tony Jones to call the parade’s new take a ‘disaster’
Alex Baskin tweeted, ‘No contact with player or coach.
‘A key element of the AFL Grand Final Parade is for fans to get up close and personal with the players. The idea of needing binoculars to spot your hero from the river bank is not ideal,’ writes Adam White.
One Twitter user, Millie, wrote: ‘Too bad. Anyone in this picture has waited in your ‘viewing areas’ for hours before the boats turned around.
Geelong fan Sue Garlick says parade organizers need a ‘good kick up the bum’.
‘It was the biggest mess. There was no cheering from anyone. There were kids crying because they couldn’t see anything,’ he told The Age.
A key element of the AFL Grand Final Parade is for fans to get up close and personal with the players. The idea of needing binoculars to find your hero from the river bank is not ideal.
— Adam White (@White_Adam) September 23, 2022
‘Says a lot about the AFL that anyone thought this would be a good idea,’ Ashley Little tweeted.
Tony Jones of 3AW radio was outraged, branding the new parade a ‘disaster’ and saying: ‘I’d put it in the same category as Meatloaf, AFLX and the Batmobile… In 10 years we’ll be looking at pictures of it and using it as a punchline. .’
The grand final has already drawn thousands of people to the city with 75 per cent of Melbourne’s hotels, motels and serviced apartments booked for the weekend.
The parade attracted huge turnouts, but one fan spoke for many when he branded the Yarra test ‘the biggest phaser ever’
“It’s a really great development for us,” Victorian Sports Minister Steve Dimopoulos told reporters on Friday.
‘It’s really important but it’s also fundamentally important to who we are as a community of Victorians.’
Mr Dimopoulos said allegations of racism at Hawthorn Football Club would not tarnish the excitement of grand final week.
‘They are sad and really disturbing allegations,’ he said.
‘But the AFL is firmly committed to an independent external investigation, which is the right thing to do.
‘It’s given us clean air and some real opportunities for Victorians to enjoy the country’s greatest sport.’