If Victorian footy fans weren’t already devastated about the AFL grand final being played in Brisbane, the sight of Mike Brady singing ‘Up There Cazaly’ at an empty MCG really did the trick.
Saturday’s grand final between Richmond and Geelong is the first ever to be played outside of Victoria, with the coronavirus crisis in Melbourne meaning the MCG wasn’t an option.
‘REALLY HARD’: Jordan Ablett opens up on son's tragic battle
'SUSPICIOUS’: AFL star's house catches fire on eve of grand final
As has been tradition for decades, Brady still sang his iconic AFL tune ‘Up There Cazaly’ at the MCG during the pre-game entertainment.
However the fact that he had to do so in front of nobody left fans feeling rather sad.
— AFL (@AFL) October 24, 2020
Brady’s performance was played on the big screen at the Gabba, with a choir at the ground in Brisbane helping.
Melbourne radio host Dee Dee Dunleavy wrote on Twitter: “With apologies to Mike Brady, who always does a ripper version of Up There Cazaly, I think it was a mistake to show the empty MCG. It's just making me sad.”
Another fan wrote: “Watching “Up There Cazaly” playing to an empty stadium made sick to the stomach and quite emotional. And I’m not even a big footy fan.”
While another tweeted: “If that just isn’t salt in the wounds of Victoria! Up there Cazaly sung to an empty MCG.”
With apologies to Mike Brady, who always does a ripper version of Up There Cazaly, I think it was a mistake to show the empty MCG. It's just making me sad.
— Dee Dee Dunleavy (@DeeDeeDunleavy) October 24, 2020
Watching “Up There Cazaly” playing to an empty stadium made sick to the stomach and quite emotional. And I’m not even a big footy fan #DanMustGo
— Ange Melas (@ange_melas) October 24, 2020
— tiffany simpson (@chillimiss) October 24, 2020
— Tony Egan (@r3tony) October 24, 2020
Totally agree, I thought the same. Compare that to Brisbane. How could the Vic Govt ever have stuffed up so badly so as to this have to happen.
— Matthew Guy MP (@MatthewGuyMP) October 24, 2020
Me today: “It’s all fine seeing the AFL Grand Final in Brisbane!”
Me now: Crying like a baby at the sight of Up There Cazaly being sung to an empty MCG 😭😭😭#AFLTigersCats
— Joanne Cleary (@joclearycomms) October 24, 2020
Up there Cazaly to an empty G made me quite teary 😭
— louisekanis (@louisekanis) October 24, 2020
— Tony Baloney (@CampCounsellor) October 24, 2020
It only added to the frustrations fans were feeling all day after the AFL decided to play the 2020 decider at night.
It was the first time in AFL history the grand final was played at night instead of the traditional 2.30pm timelsot.
Wild weather wreaks havoc at the Gabba
The first AFL grand final to be played outside of Melbourne looks set to be won in the wet after heavy rain hit Brisbane just hours out from Saturday's decider.
And with the possibility of lightning later in the evening there was a very real chance the game could be delayed, in one final twist to a season like no other.
Up to 89 millimetres had fallen since 9am near the Gabba, sweeping through to soak the playing surface just as the Bureau of Meteorology delivered an official thunderstorm warning for a host of regions including Brisbane city.
The AFL's first night final could be a blessing given the initial storms will have passed by the 7.30pm AEDT first bounce, however more rain is expected later in the evening.
If there is lightning within 10km of the ground, the game would be stopped in line with AFL protocols for up to an hour and players sent inside.
It would then resume if there was no lightning within 10km of the ground for 30 minutes.
Rain and slippery conditions would add another layer to Richmond coach Damien Hardwick's theory that the grand final will be a tough, contested affair.
Richmond have won two of the last three flags and Geelong have played four preliminary finals in five years.
The Tigers won lead-up finals against the Cats in 2017 and 2019.
But the two clubs have not met in a grand final since Richmond won a thrilling VFL decider in 1967.
“We're two pretty good sides who have been playing a great brand of footy for a long time and I'm looking forward to the challenge,” Hardwick said.
“They've been a yardstick, along with our football club, for a number of years and it's about time we played off in a grand final.”
Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.