Whatever your plans this Grand Final Day, the general idea is to rock up in your team colours, scream your lungs out for The Holy Grail and have a terrific time. Whether you're after the best seats in the house, the biggest screen, or just great catering, this list is sure to help you find what you're looking for...
1)Traditional Style - A barbie at yours or a mates house. No topping this one; gathered around the TV all Saturday with family & friends, chow down on pies and other meat based dishes with drinks all 'round. Just try not to block the screen while growling at one another over the commentators, the players or at the refs.
2) The MCG - Suites or Stands. If you've already reserved your spot for this year's Grand Final you're bloody lucky, with the best tickets and bookings nearly long gone and remainders selling out super fast. Private boxes seem a little cut off from the real MCG atmosphere to me, but if that's your thing, enjoy. For those of us who like the bleachers and run the risk of marking the ball. I'm so envious of your ticketed status. Spare a thought.
3)Federation Square - If there's room. Show your support in those jerseys and scarves with hundreds of fellow footy fever sufferers and catch every second of the action on the Big Screen. Picnic blankets and an esky will serve you well too. Your best bet for good seats is to get there early morning. The Square is also hosting the Toyota AFL Grand Final Week Live Site.
4)Bars & Pubs hosting GF theme days are plentiful here in Melbourne - just don't overdo the drinks and get kicked out mid-match. My top 3 picks:
* The Exchange, Port Melbourne. Doors will open 11am on final day; with upper level's entry priced at $90 pp - includes a BBQ buffet lunch and four-hour beverage package. Live entertainment for the night will include a performance by Patty Bourke and DJ's til closing time. Entry to the main bar is free and yes, there will be many screens available for your viewing pleasures.
* Republica, St Kilda. Along with being the Interstate game site for St Kilda FC; Republica shows all AFL finals on giant screens in their massive courtyard and lounge which holds up to 900 people. The bar/restaurant is superbly located right on St Kilda beach serving a modern Australian menu and wine list to match.
* The All Nations Hotel, Richmond. This classic pub goes back 137 years and is still standing strong as are its traditional food, drinks and laid back old-world charm. Add in footy friendly mod-cons like the retractable roof as well as multiple plasma screens located in the Nations courtyard and beer garden. They also offer a free shuttle bus to the G and back for all matches played there.
5) Book a room. Many hotels around the city offer week or weekend long GF & footy package deals (some of which are also available through premium MCG ticket bookings) :
* Crowne Plaza, 'Float to the Footy' package. Cruise down the Yarra to the MCG with two return water taxi passes included, and kids under 13 travel free of charge. once the final sirens' gone and the winning team's songs been sung your gang can retreat to the Plaza for celebrations or sorrow-drowning in your rooms, or choose to take in the post-game scene at the hotel's Lobby bar. A full buffet breakfast for two at the Clarendon Grill restaurant the next morning is also included in this stylish package. From $300 per room per night, this offer is available for all MCG games this season.
* The Park Hyatt's "Before the Game". This overnight package comes with some Radii bar credit to calm those pre and post-game tensions, valet parking and a full buffet breakfast. The luxury hotel is also located a mere 15-minute walk from the MCG. Rates are from $365 per night with a $45 bar credit per stay.
* Rydges Melbourne, who, in their own words are 'just a drop punt away from the action' are offering a Footy Fever package from $209 a night (less for members). This includes a buffet breakfast in their Locanda restaurant, welcome drinks for before or after the game and a copy of Inside Football magazine. The booking period for this offer ends 26th of September.