Shepparton News

Fans will not be partying

GRAND FINAL WILL BE FOCUS FOR MELBOURNE SUPPORTERS AS LOCKDOWN TAKES CARE OF CELEBRATIO­N

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Spare a thought for Melbourne supporters.

After a success-starved 57 years, Demons fans will be locked down and under a 9pm curfew if the club ends the third-longest premiershi­p drought in VFL/AFL history.

The COVID-19 restrictio­ns in metropolit­an Melbourne are likely to be almost identical to last year’s grand final, when the Gabba in Brisbane hosted the historic first AFL decider held outside of Victoria.

No friends and family around for a barbecue or celebratin­g at a pub afterwards.

A consecutiv­e night grand final will also be the second time in a row two Victorian teams have contested the showpiece game.

The difference last October was Richmond lapped up its third premiershi­p in four seasons and the Tiger army had already got the emotional and wild celebratio­ns out of its system in 2017 when it broke its 37-year run without a f lag.

Instead of raucous parties shutting down the busiest streets in Australia’s second-biggest city, Melbourne supporters will have to come up with creative and innovative ways to soak up a historic achievemen­t.

The Western Bulldogs already had their own special time in 2016, when Melbourne’s western suburbs erupted at the end of a 62-year premiershi­p drought following a surreal run to the flag from seventh.

The obvious option this year is a video call, but after living through 18 months of a pandemic, Zoom fatigue is starting to take its toll.

Lifelong Demons diehard Clare Murphy will focus most of her attention on the action, rather than simultaneo­usly navigate yet another online meeting.

But there will be some sense of normality as she will still tweet out her themed gifs during the game amid the tension of watching the Demons attempt to win their first premiershi­p since 1964.

‘‘It will be a tricky one in terms of staying in touch with people on the day, but also making sure it doesn’t take you away from the actual game,’’ Murphy said.

‘‘My whole family and a lot of my friends go for Melbourne, so it does break my red and blue heart that we can’t be together for this because footy for me is about being with those people as well as the game.

‘‘I do miss the finals season office conversati­ons that you usually have around this time.

‘‘After years of gentle teasing from my colleagues about my choice of football team, I can’t believe I’m missing the chance to be a bit smug for a change.’’

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