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23 Oct 2021 10:49
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  •   Home > News > International

    Sporting history is made in Western Australia as Perth hosts 2021 AFL grand final with style

    Sporting history is made in stunning fashion in Western Australia as more than 61,000 people watch the Melbourne Demons claim the 2021 AFL premiership at Perth Stadium, many of whom jumped aboard the red-and-blue bandwagon ahead of game day.


    Sporting history has been made in stunning fashion in Western Australia as more than 61,000 people packed into Perth Stadium to watch the Melbourne Demons claim the 2021 AFL premiership.

    The Melbourne Demons defeated the Western Bulldogs by 74 points, breaking a 57-year premiership drought.

    It was the first AFL grand final to be held in Perth and only the second to take place outside of Melbourne, after Brisbane hosted the 2020 final at the Gabba.

    Despite neither local side making the finals this season, West Australians did not shy away from celebrating the occasion.

    WA hops aboard Demons bandwagon

    It looked as if just about everyone in Perth had found something red and blue to wear for the day.

    The majority appeared to opt for navy blue as people were swept up in the romance of a Demons flag after so many years.

    Many had also been won over by the display Melbourne put on at Perth Stadium when it defeated Geelong in the preliminary final.

    The stores at the ground sold out of Demons and Bulldogs merchandise many hours before the game started.

    Staff said Demons gear "went in a flash", but many people happily bought Bulldogs attire when they could not get anything in Melbourne colours.

    Inside the ground, the roar was equally deafening for both sides.

    There was a festival atmosphere at the stadium precinct throughout the day as people began streaming in about midday for the 5:15pm opening bounce.

    The pre-game musical entertainment brought cheers from the stands, with a strong line-up of local acts including Abbe May, Stella Donnelly, Eskimo Joe and John Butler. 

    But it was Yolngu artist Baker Boy who dazzled in a sky-blue tracksuit and delighted the crowd with a tightly choreographed performance, featuring a mob of dancers and him playing didgeridoo.

    Public transport seemed to run smoothly before and after the game, but many reported huge spikes in the price for ride-share services.

    Police were pleased with the behaviour of people at the event, barring one man who was expected to be charged with trespass after streaking onto the field.

    An anticipated boon for the local hospitality industry also appeared to come to fruition.

    Venues throughout Perth were booked out for grand final functions and hotels filled with people visiting from the regions and the few COVID-free states.

    Ticket-less fans flock to stadium vicinity

    Near the stadium, in East Perth, queues to get into venues stretched for hundreds of metres, with people hoping to get a pre-game drink or to watch from somewhere near the action.

    Many also gathered outside of the stadium itself, where the game was broadcast on a large screen.

    Hundreds of people sat on the grass or stood and watched the game from there while, behind the screen, the sun set over the Swan River and the Perth CBD skyline.

    A small flotilla of boats anchored in the river next to the stadium and the people aboard could hear the crowd roaring from the stadium and their on-board TVs.

    They also had front row seats to the half-time fireworks display which accompanied a performance by local band, Birds of Tokyo.

    Earlier this morning, the Demons were presented to the public in an event at Forrest Place in Perth's CBD.

    Former captain Garry Lyon welcomed the players onto the stage before the crowd heard from captain Max Gawn, coach Simon Goodwin and Norm Smith medallist Christian Petracca. 

    More than 1,000 supporters — new and old — turned up to see the cup and celebrate the players before they return to Melbourne. 

    Gawn thanked the Perth crowd and the club's long-term fans back in Melbourne.

    Melbourne Demons chief executive Gary Pert said the club had sold two years' worth of merchandise since last night's historic win.

    © 2021 ABC Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved

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