No more sand in face of Dockers
No more sand in face of Dockers

Not that long ago the AFL grand final entertainment was simply a 100m sprint.

Players from clubs not involved in the premiership decider, some a little worse for wear following a couple of weeks of rest and recreation, show off their speed in a half-time race.

Then it was time to put the kettle on. Or go and get another drink. Maybe even down a pie.

Now the announcement of the entertainment line-up for the big day is almost as keenly anticipated as knowing which teams are in the match.

The AFL grand final is no longer just a football contest. It is a major extravaganza that management believes has to appeal to as much of the country as possible. After all the Super Bowl is almost as famous for what happens during the long break than for the result of the NFL’s biggest moment of the year.

The Aussie league has tweaked the format in 2012 to throw most of the non-football festivities into the half-time break, even extending the interval to get more of the stage show into the format.

After testing oversees acts, Andrew Demetriou and his panel of hip executives have decided on the Australian-developed talents The Temper Trap, Paul Kelly and Tim Rogers.

But what should be the golden rules for the AFL grand final entertainment?

Should it be cast in stone that the bands/singers on the bill be from our shores, particularly if we are trying to showcase our wares to the world? Or do we need a foreign headliner to sell the occasion around the globe?

Seasoned football watchers would more likely prefer the razzamatazz to be before the game so the stageshow doesn’t detract from the match. Some would prefer just to have the match without distracting fanfare at all.

And is it possible that within the crowded card of events and the desire for non-competing players to have an end-of-season break that the AFL HQ could consider adding some skills-related activities, like what happens at various All-Star matches in the US?

Since the AFL doesn’t have a best-against-the-best match anymore maybe the sprint, which remains on the schedule even if it is no longer as prominent, could be held alongside a kicking competition – maybe involving accuracy and distance. It could be similar to the NBA’s three-point shooting competition.

Or then, maybe we could just worry about the game that was the reason for us watching in the first place.

Follow Ross Lewis on Twitter - @R_Lewis_thewest

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