The time is almost upon us. That one day in September where heroes are crowned, memories forged and bodies battered. You can smell the pies being baked already in anticipation!
The Hunters and Collectors have sung about it, millions of kids have dreamt about it – the Holy Grail. The AFL Premiership Cup. Years of hard work and dedication culminate in one glorious day each season. For the winner, it’s a day of unbridled ecstasy, genuine footy nirvana. For the loser, well, they get to drown their sorrows on Mad Monday.
The AFL Grand Final is arguably Australia’s biggest sporting event, celebrated by all fans of the game – even those whose team isn’t battling it out for Premiership glory.
There’s no escaping the build-up of excitement and betting before the match, the actual coverage (or fiercely competitive atmosphere if you’re lucky enough to score tickets to the MCG) and the post-game celebrations.
If there is one thing that we can guarantee in this world, it’s that there is nothing more Australian than a Grand Final party! Here’s our guide to everything you’ll need to host an epic Grand Final party.
Make a rocking playlist
Every party needs top notch music and the Grand Final is certainly no exception. Tom Jones may be playing at half time, but generally speaking an Australian theme is preferable, but not compulsory. Think a tall glass of Paul Kelly with a dash of Hunters & Collectors.
Set up the seating
The first thing you need to do is set up your viewing area so all your guests have a clear view of the TV – extra points if you’ve got a HD flat screen. Music icon Tom Jones will be belting out his hits at half time, so gird your loins, pump up the volume and just check that your surround sound is working.
Pre-game coverage starts before midday so make sure there are enough comfy seats for everyone, this means no plastic chairs allowed
There’s no such thing as over-catering for a Grand Final Party
This is important. When hosting one of these things, expect a long day. With the game starting at 2.30 you will find many people arrive around 12.30 or 1pm. Food should be served straight away.
Football in general demands a few Beef Pies but on Grand Final day, it’s an absolute must. Sausage rolls also go down well and there should be an ample amount of tomato sauce in stock.
Our award winning pies need around 40 minutes in the oven so while they’re cooking, have some bowls (within reaching distance of the couch, of course) of chips, mixed nuts and lollies ready for your guests to munch on.
People will then nibble during the game with a good host serving party pies and sausage rolls at half time. For the Vegetarians it’s important to make sure you have some good options, like a few wholemeal Tiddly Oggies, or a yummy Spinach Roll.
By 5.00pm, we’re sure that there may be a few wobbly party guests, either through excessive celebration, drowning the pain of losing or simply just getting into the swing of the day.
At this point, many hosts have no more food and think it’s over. This is a rookie mistake. At about 7.30 everyone will be hungry again and this is the time to bring out the big guns.
Pick up a few packs of Beef Pies from your local Ferguson Plarre Bakehouses to take home with you this week, and pop in the freezer, ready to heat up when the second burst of hunger hits the party!. People will think you are the Messiah at this point.
Be ready for another serving at 11pm and possibly a 1am sitting too. The 1am sitting is probably best for masses of Sausage Rolls to come out of the oven, along with some snack-sized Lamingtons to offer that sugar hit!
Show your support
If you’re not familiar with the game, shame on you, but for those who are not sure, all you need to know is to cheer at the top of your lungs when the team you are supporting kicks the oval shaped ball in between the white goal posts.
It’s not uncommon for voices to go hoarse on Grand Final day as throngs of fans scream and shout at their TVs in support of their team, or disbelief at a controversial umpire decision. Either way, don’t be afraid to get loud.
Most importantly of all, have fun with your friends and good luck to everyone whose team is involved!