2021 AFL Grand Final
2021 AFL Grand Final.png
2021 AFL Grand Final, Perth Stadium, Simon Goodwin and Max Gawn hoist up the cup together, 25 September 2021.jpg
Optus Stadium (pictured) where the 2021 AFL Grand Final was played at the moment Simon Goodwin and Max Gawn raise the premiership cup together.
AFL Melbourne Icon.jpg

Melbourne
AFL Footscray Icon.jpg

Western Bulldogs
21.14 (140) 10.6 (66)
1 2 3 4
MEL 4.5 (29) 5.9 (39) 12.11 (83) 21.14 (140)
WBD 1.2 (8) 7.5 (47) 9.5 (59) 10.6 (66)
Date25 September 2021, 5:15pm AWST
StadiumPerth Stadium
Attendance61,118[1]
FavouriteMelbourne
UmpiresMatt Stevic, Brett Rosebury, Jacob Mollison
Coin toss won byMelbourne
Kicked towardTrain Station End
Ceremonies
Pre-match entertainmentBaker Boy, Eskimo Joe, John Butler, Abbe May, Gina Williams & Guy Ghouse, Stella Donnelly, Vikki Thorn & Donna Simpson, Colin Hay (Performed from Los Angeles), Mike Brady (Performed from Melbourne)
National anthemAmy Manford
Halftime showBirds of Tokyo with the West Australian Symphony Orchestra
Accolades
Norm Smith MedallistChristian Petracca
Jock McHale MedallistSimon Goodwin
Broadcast in Australia
NetworkSeven Network
CommentatorsJames Brayshaw (host and commentator)
Brian Taylor (commentator)
Luke Hodge (expert commentator)
Daisy Pearce (expert commentator)
Abbey Holmes (boundary rider)
Basil Zempilas (master of ceremonies)
Nathan Fyfe (analyst)
Nic Naitanui (analyst)
← 2020 AFL Grand Final 2022 →

The 2021 AFL Grand Final was an Australian rules football match contested between Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs at Optus Stadium in Perth, Western Australia, on Saturday 25 September 2021. It was the 125th annual grand final of the Australian Football League (AFL), staged to determine the premiers of the 2021 AFL season. As the top-placed side on the ladder at the end of the 2021 home-and-away season, Melbourne finished minor premiers, whereas the Western Bulldogs faded in the final four home-and-away games to finish 5th, thus needing to win all of their finals games to qualify for the grand final.

The match was played at Optus Stadium in Perth because an ongoing COVID-19 lockdown prevented the match from being played with spectators at its contracted ground, the Melbourne Cricket Ground in Melbourne, Victoria.[2] It was the first grand final played in Perth and the second consecutive grand final to be played outside Victoria.[3] The event set a new attendance record for Australian rules football in Western Australia, eclipsing the previous record set in 2018 despite not featuring any WA-based teams and being played during the COVID pandemic.

Melbourne won the match by a 74-point margin, defeating the Western Bulldogs 21.14 (140) to 10.6 (66). Christian Petracca won the Norm Smith Medal. The win was Melbourne's first premiership since 1964.

Background

Host selection process

Optus Stadium, host venue of the 2021 AFL Grand Final.
Optus Stadium, host venue of the 2021 AFL Grand Final.

For the second consecutive season, the COVID-19 pandemic caused alterations to the grand final scheduling. As the 2021 AFL finals series approached, the state of Victoria was under lockdown restrictions that made mass gatherings at stadiums impossible; the Victorian lockdown had commenced on 6 August, and case numbers continued to rise through August, resulting in repeated extensions of the lockdown. Although the league had been playing matches behind closed doors in Victoria right up to the end of the home-and-away season, it was committed to playing the finals and grand final in front of a crowd.[4] Throughout August, contingency arrangements for the 2021 Grand Final were explored.[5]

On 16 August, the league brought the finals one week forward, dropping the conventional pre-finals bye from the fixture; this provided flexibility for a number of COVID-impacted finals scenarios, and in particular allowed enough time for a mid-finals bye which would allow clubs to serve Western Australia's quarantine requirements without impacting the grand final date.[6]

While the Melbourne Cricket Ground remained the default host of the game if it was possible, the State Governments of Western Australia and South Australia put forward pitches to host the game at Optus Stadium or Adelaide Oval, respectively.[5] The Queensland Government kept the Gabba available, but it made no active pitch to host the game.[5] On 25 August, Optus Stadium was officially announced as the standby venue for the match, in the event that the Melbourne Cricket Ground was not capable of hosting a crowd larger than Optus Stadium's 60,000-seat capacity.[7][8] The reasoning given for the selection of Optus Stadium over Adelaide Oval was the restricted capacity of the latter with the South Australian Government only permitting 30,000 spectators for the match.[9] The 'Dreamtime Game' held in Round 12 also helped the Western Australian Government's pitch, with 55,656 spectators attending the fixture that featured two Victorian clubs, Essendon and Richmond.[10] On 31 August, shortly after Victoria's lockdown was extended into October, the switch of the venue to Optus Stadium was officially confirmed; the originally fixtured date of 25 September was confirmed, with the mid-finals bye week scheduled for the week between the preliminary finals and grand final.[11] No back-up venue to Optus Stadium was announced, with the league intending to play the match one week later in Perth should local COVID-19 cases have resulted in a lockdown during grand final week.[12]

The change of venue required the permission of the Victorian Government and Melbourne Cricket Club, which was contracted to host the grand final until 2058;[3] this was obtained, in exchange for the long-term contract at the Melbourne Cricket Ground being extended by one year to 2059, eight additional home-and-away matches scheduled for the ground between 2022 and 2026, four additional AFLW matches per season scheduled for regional Victoria between 2022 and 2024, and Victoria to host the 2022 and 2023 AFL drafts.[11]

Other impacts

The start time for the game was 5:15 pm AWST / 7:15 pm AEST,[13] making it the first grand final played in the twilight timeslot and second consecutive grand final in the east-coast night timeslot. The league opted for this over the traditional and originally scheduled start time of 2:30 pm AEST because this would have resulted in an impractically early local start time of 12:30 pm AWST.[14]

At the time of the announcement, Western Australia had no spectator restrictions on major events at outdoor stadiums, as well as the strictest entry quarantine restrictions on interstate travellers. The Western Australian Government's border restrictions allowed only for those essential to the staging of the game to travel into the state, meaning guests of the clubs and league who would usually attend—such as the families of players and coaches,[15] non-critical media or administrators,[16] etc.—were absent. The Norm Smith Medal and Jock McHale Medal were presented by 2006 winners Andrew Embley and John Worsfold, respectively; under the convention that the medal be awarded by prior winners in chronological order, Nathan Buckley or Chris Judd would have been next in line to present the Norm Smith Medal, and Paul Roos to present the Jock McHale Medal, but they, too, were denied entry.[17] Two Victoria-based Melbourne fans, Mark Babbage and Hayden Burbank, were convicted and spent three months in prison for illegally travelling from Melbourne to Perth via Darwin for the match.[18]

The AFL elected not to host a full-scale grand final parade featuring the competing teams, citing threats from COVID-19, staffing availability, and terrorism, despite the state government and the Western Australian Police Force considering it safe to hold the event.[19] The city put on a smaller-scale "people's parade" in Forrest Place on the Friday before the game, celebrating the game but not featuring the clubs.[20]

Qualification

Round-by-round ladder positions of the two teams during the season.

Melbourne finished the home-and-away season as minor premiers with a 17–4–1 record, its best finish since 1964. The club then recorded comfortable victories in both of its finals—by 33 points against Brisbane Lions in the qualifying final and by 83 points against Geelong in the preliminary final—to qualify.[21] It was Melbourne's first grand final appearance since 2000, and the club was attempting to win its first premiership since 1964 and break a 57-year premiership drought, the longest active drought in the league and fourth-longest drought in league history.[21]

The Western Bulldogs, for their part, spent much of their season in a battle with Melbourne for the minor premiership; however, after losing its last three home-and-away games, the Bulldogs slipped to fifth place on the ladder, with a record of 15–7. The club then showed strong form in the finals, defeating Essendon in the elimination final by 49 points, Brisbane Lions by one point in the semi-final, and Port Adelaide by 71 points in the preliminary final to qualify.[22] It was the Bulldogs' first grand final berth since its victory in the 2016 decider.

The match was the second grand final between the two clubs; they had previously contested the 1954 VFL Grand Final, which was won by the Western Bulldogs (who were at the time known as Footscray). After the conclusion of both preliminary finals, Melbourne were backed as favourites, with bookmakers paying out $1.67 for a Melbourne victory;[23] it was the first time Melbourne had entered the grand final as the favourites since 1964.[24][25][26]

The two sides faced each other twice during 2021: Melbourne winning by 28 points at Marvel Stadium in Round 11, and the Bulldogs winning by 20 points at the Melbourne Cricket Ground in Round 19. Due to COVID-19 lockdowns in Victoria being in place at the time on both occasions, both of these matches were played behind closed doors.

Teams

The Western Bulldogs made two changes to its starting 22 from the preliminary final: Cody Weightman and Alex Keath returned from injury, while Laitham Vandermeer and Ryan Gardner were omitted. Melbourne's starting 22 was unchanged. The teams' medical substitutes were not announced until immediately prior to the match.[27] James Jordon was the medical sub for Melbourne, and Vandermeer (despite being omitted from the main 22) was selected as the Bulldogs' medical sub. The medical sub of the winning team (Jordon) was awarded a premiership medallion despite not being activated.[28][29]

Both clubs wore their regular home guernseys, with the Western Bulldogs wearing white shorts as the lower-seeded club.[30]

Melbourne
Western Bulldogs
Umpires

The umpiring panel—comprising three field umpires, four boundary umpires, two goal umpires, and an emergency in each position—is given below.[31]

2021 AFL Grand Final umpires
Position Emergency
Field: 8 Brett Rosebury (9) 9 Matt Stevic (9) 32 Jacob Mollison (1) 21 Simon Meredith (6)
Boundary: Michael Marantelli (5) Christopher Gordon (5) Matthew Konetschka (4) Michael Barlow (1) Ben MacDonald
Goal: Steven Axon (3) Stephen Williams (2) Sam Walsh

Numbers in brackets represent the number of grand finals umpired, including 2021.

Entertainment

Birds of Tokyo accompanied by the West Australian Symphony Orchestra provided the half-time entertainment.
Birds of Tokyo accompanied by the West Australian Symphony Orchestra provided the half-time entertainment.

The entertainment for the 2021 AFL Grand Final was centred around artists from Western Australia due to COVID-19 restrictions. The Welcome to Country was given by Noongar man Richard Walley. Mike Brady performed "Up There Cazaly", a song traditionally sung at AFL grand finals, remotely from Melbourne. The pre-match live entertainment began with a performance of AC/DC's "Thunderstruck" by Abbe May from the roof of the stadium. Baker Boy performed a mashup of Kylie Minogue's "Spinning Around" and Baker Boy's "Meditjin", including a didgeridoo solo in the middle. John Butler performed Icehouse's iconic 1982 hit "Great Southern Land", joined in by Stella Donnelly, Donna Simpson and Vikki Thorn of The Waifs, Gina Williams, and Guy Ghouse. Eskimo Joe performed "Black Fingernails, Red Wine" and INXS's "Kick", featuring saxophonist Erin Royer. Colin Hay from Men At Work performed "Land Down Under" from a beach in Los Angeles, joined in by the rest of the performers live at the stadium. Soprano Amy Manford performed Australia's national anthem, "Advance Australia Fair".[32]

At half-time, Birds of Tokyo and the West Australian Symphony Orchestra performed "Lanterns", a cover of Silverchair's "Straight Lines", and "Unbreakable".[33]

Match summary

There were no late changes for either team.[34]

First quarter

Stefan Martin (Western Bulldogs) and Max Gawn (Melbourne) contest the opening bounce of the game.
Stefan Martin (Western Bulldogs) and Max Gawn (Melbourne) contest the opening bounce of the game.

After a few early misses by Melbourne early in the first quarter, the first goal was scored by Melbourne's Christian Petracca from the 50-metre (160 ft) arc from about a 40-degree angle. Cody Weightman collided with a goal post after attempting a mark near the goal line. A fumble by the Bulldogs' Bailey Williams in Melbourne's forward half allowed Charlie Spargo to pick up the ball and score a goal – Melbourne's third overall. Williams would then drop a mark and give another goal to Bayley Fritsch two minutes later. The quarter ended with Melbourne 21 points ahead, having scored four goals to the Western Bulldogs' one.[35][36]

Second quarter

The momentum of the game shifted to the Bulldogs in the second quarter. Adam Treloar started off by kicking back-to-back goals. Just after that, Aaron Naughton kicked the Bulldog's third goal in four minutes. Melbourne's Max Gawn scored what he initially thought to be a goal, but the goal umpire deemed it a behind as it had passed over the goal post. Ultimately, the Bulldogs scored six goals to one in the second quarter to take an eight-point lead at the main change, including two goals from Marcus Bontempelli.[35][36]

Third quarter

The Bulldogs continued their good streak through the first half of the third quarter. Jason Johannisen took an impressive mark next to the goal posts, resulting in a goal to extend the lead for the Bulldogs. Bontempelli slotted his third goal with a snap shot from 35 metres out to extend their lead to 19 points and firming up his Norm Smith Medal chances in the process.[37] However, the momentum shifted again, this time towards the Demons. Fritsch kicked back-to-back goals, and Ben Brown kicked another, bringing them within one point. Melbourne players Angus Brayshaw, Petracca, Tom Sparrow and Clayton Oliver each scored goals, giving Melbourne a four-goal lead at three quarter time.[35][36]

Final quarter

Melbourne ran away with the win, kicking nine goals in the final quarter compared to the Bulldogs, with just one. Fritsch added multiple goals to bring his tally to six; it was the first time a player had scored six goals or more in a grand final since Adelaide's Darren Jarman's six-goal performance in 1997. Adam Treloar kicked the only Bulldogs goal for the quarter. Tom McDonald kicked a goal after the siren to bring the margin to 74 points, the largest-ever grand final win for Melbourne.[35][36][38]

Post-match

The victory was Melbourne's first VFL/AFL premiership in 57 years, ending the longest active premiership drought of any team in the competition. The television broadcast showed reactions from many interstate Melbourne supporters who were precluded from attending the match due to COVID-19 restrictions, including former Melbourne Coach Neale Daniher, who was seen draping his scarf over a TV in celebration of Melbourne's long-awaited premiership.[39][40][41] The Bulldogs statistically led Melbourne with the total number of kicks (207–206), handballs (172–160), and marks (76–68), but the Demons had six more free kicks (19–13); however, the Demons had 15 more inside-50s (64–49), including 13 more marks inside 50 (17–4), and 11 more clearances (44–33).[42][43] The premiership cup was awarded by Melbourne Hall of Fame member and Melbourne Team of the Century member Garry Lyon.[44] Master of ceremonies Basil Zempilas received criticism for failing to allow Melbourne premiership coach Simon Goodwin to speak after the win.[45]

Due to Optus Stadium's extensive corporate facilities, the AFL generated A$40 million from hosting the AFL Grand Final in Perth.[46]

Norm Smith Medal

Christian Petracca, Norm Smith Medallist
Christian Petracca, Norm Smith Medallist

With a record-equalling grand final possession tally of 39 (shared with Simon Black in 2003)[47]—and despite six goals from Fritsch—Petracca secured the medal after unanimously being judged best afield by an expert panel chaired by Luke Hodge. The possession tally was initially reported as 40, which would have broken the grand final record, but this was revised after the match to 39.[48] Andrew Embley awarded the medal to Petracca; somewhat controversially, however, Zempilas announced the Norm Smith Medal winner before Embley had the chance, receiving further criticism.[45][49] The votes were as follows:

Norm Smith Medal Voting Tally
Position Player Club Total Votes Vote Summary
1 (winner) Christian Petracca Melbourne 15 3, 3, 3, 3, 3
2 Bayley Fritsch Melbourne 10 2, 2, 2, 2, 2
3 Clayton Oliver Melbourne 3 1, 1, 1
4 Christian Salem Melbourne 1 1
5 Caleb Daniel Western Bulldogs 1 1
Voter Role 3 Votes 2 Votes 1 Vote
Luke Hodge Channel 7 Christian Petracca Bayley Fritsch Clayton Oliver
Harry Taylor ABC Christian Petracca Bayley Fritsch Christian Salem
Tania Armstrong Triple M Christian Petracca Bayley Fritsch Clayton Oliver
Callum Twomey AFL Media Christian Petracca Bayley Fritsch Caleb Daniel
Andrew Krakouer NIRS Christian Petracca Bayley Fritsch Clayton Oliver

Scoreboard

Grand final
Saturday, 25 September (5:15 pm) Melbourne def. Western Bulldogs
Breeze-weather-few-clouds-night-48.svg
Optus Stadium (crowd: 61,118)
Report
4.5 (29)
5.9 (39)
12.11 (83)
 21.14 (140)
Q1
Q2
Q3
 Final
1.2 (8)
7.5 (47)
9.5 (59)
 10.6 (66)
Umpires: Rosebury, Stevic, Mollison
Norm Smith Medal: Christian Petracca
Television broadcast: Seven Network
National anthem: Amy Manford
Fritsch 6
B. Brown 3
Petracca, McDonald 2
Neal-Bullen, Salem, Spargo, Brayshaw, Sparrow, Oliver, Langdon, Jackson 1
Goals Bontempelli, Treloar 3
R. Smith, Naughton, Hunter, Johannisen 1
Petracca, Fritsch, Oliver, Brayshaw, Salem, Gawn, Jackson, Langdon, Viney, Neal-Bullen Best Bontempelli, Daniel, B. Smith, Treloar, Macrae, Liberatore, Dale
Nil Injuries Nil
Nil Reports Nil
2021 AFL Grand Final score worm
2021 AFL Grand Final score worm

Media coverage

Per the AFL TV rights, the Seven Network had the exclusive broadcast rights within Australia, with Fox Footy showing the replay of the match after the game despite broadcasting its own pre-game, half-time and post-game coverage.

Once streaming services were factored in, the match had an average national viewership of 4.11 million,[50][51] eclipsing the 2016 AFL Grand Final by just 21,000 and about 200,000 more than the 2020 AFL Grand Final.[52] It is the fourth most-watched VFL/AFL game in history, and it was the most-watched Grand Final since 2005, which averaged a national audience of 4.449 million.[53][54][55]

Due to quarantine requirements for Victorian residents to enter Western Australia, Seven Network commentators James Brayshaw, Brian Taylor and Daisy Pearce, and Fox Footy's Garry Lyon and Kath Loughnan, all quarantined for two weeks in the lead-up to the match. For Taylor, this was his fifth AFL Grand Final he called on commercial television, while for Brayshaw, it was his first, having been promoted to Seven's Friday night AFL commentary team at the beginning of the season when Bruce McAvaney scaled back his duties with the network.[56][57]

Radio coverage

Station Region Play-by-play commentators Analysts commentators
Triple M National Mark Howard, Luke Darcy Jason Dunstall, Wayne Carey, Nathan Brown
Triple M Perth, Western Australia Dennis Cometti, Lachy Reid Andrew Embley, Xavier Ellis
6PR Perth, Western Australia Adam Papalia, Karl Langdon Will Schofield, Lee Spurr
3AW Melbourne, Victoria Tim Lane, Tony Leonard Leigh Matthews, Jimmy Bartel, Matthew Lloyd
ABC Radio National Clint Wheeldon, Ben Cameron Harry Taylor, Sharrod Wellingham, Kara Antonio
SEN Radio Melbourne, Victoria

Adelaide, South Australia

Gerard Whateley, Anthony Hudson Jordan Lewis, Kane Cornes, Gerard Healy
AFL Nation National Dwayne Russell, Andy Maher Adam Cooney, Nick Dal Santo
NIRS National Glenn Mitchell, Jacob Landsmeer Andrew Krakouer
K Rock Geelong, Victoria Tom King, Ben Casanelia Mark Neeld

Notes

See also

References

  1. ^ "Saturday night lights: Massive TV audience for Perth Grand Final". Australian Football League. 26 September 2021. Archived from the original on 30 January 2022. Retrieved 26 September 2021.
  2. ^ "Western Australians rewarded as Perth hosts historic AFL Grand Final". mediastatements.wa.gov.au. 31 August 2021. Archived from the original on 30 January 2022. Retrieved 6 September 2021.
  3. ^ a b "AFL grand final moves to Perth, will be played at Optus Stadium". The Age. Nine Entertainment. 31 August 2021. Archived from the original on 30 January 2022. Retrieved 31 August 2021.
  4. ^ "AFL rewards Tasmania with right to host maiden finals games". The New Daily. 22 August 2021. Archived from the original on 30 January 2022. Retrieved 25 August 2021.
  5. ^ a b c "Adelaide's 'compelling' pitch to grab grand final". PerthNow. 23 August 2021. Archived from the original on 30 January 2022. Retrieved 11 September 2021.
  6. ^ Mitch Cleary (16 August 2021). "Pre-finals bye scrapped but clubs brace for September break". Australian Football League. Archived from the original on 30 January 2022. Retrieved 16 August 2021.
  7. ^ "Perth's Optus Stadium poised to host AFL grand final if Covid rules out MCG". Guardian Australia. AAP. 25 August 2021. Archived from the original on 30 January 2022. Retrieved 25 August 2021.
  8. ^ Cleary, Mitch (25 August 2021). "THE GRAND BACK-UP PLAN: Stadium of choice revealed if MCG is out". AFL.com.au. Retrieved 25 August 2021.
  9. ^ "SA government's "massive own goal" over AFL Grand Final". www.sen.com.au. Archived from the original on 30 January 2022. Retrieved 11 September 2021.
  10. ^ Spagnolo, Joe; Dugan, Brianna (5 June 2021). "McGowan: Dreamtime match shows WA can host AFL grand final safely and within health guidelines". The Western Australian. Archived from the original on 30 January 2022. Retrieved 6 September 2021.
  11. ^ a b Schmook, Nathan (31 August 2021). "CONFIRMED: Grand Final heads west, Gill lets new Brownlow night slip". AFL.com.au. Archived from the original on 30 January 2022. Retrieved 31 August 2021.
  12. ^ Rebecca Williams (19 August 2021). "AFL finals 2021: Patrick Dangerfield desperate to play in front of crowds". Herald Sun. Melbourne, VIC. Retrieved 2 September 2021.
  13. ^ "2021 Toyota AFL Grand Final start time". afl.com.au. Archived from the original on 30 January 2022. Retrieved 8 September 2021.
  14. ^ Gates, Zachary (31 August 2021). "Perth's Optus Stadium wins battle to host 2021 AFL grand final as COVID-19 ruins MCG's chances again". Wide World of Sports.
  15. ^ "Western Australia's cruel requirement for hosting the 2021 AFL Grand Final". news.com.au. 16 August 2021. Archived from the original on 30 January 2022. Retrieved 6 September 2021.
  16. ^ Turner, Matthew; Clarke, Jenna (2 September 2021). "AFL grand final 2021: Eddie McGuire questions WA government after being denied entry". Geelong Advertiser. Retrieved 6 September 2021.
  17. ^ Chadwick, Justin (8 September 2021). "WA footy greats earn premiership honours for Perth's AFL grand final". Seven News. Archived from the original on 30 January 2022. Retrieved 8 September 2021.
  18. ^ "Melbourne bar owner Hayden Burbank apologises after jail time for breaching border rules to attend AFL grand final". 7 News. Retrieved 24 March 2022.
  19. ^ "The surprising reason why Perth WON'T hold an AFL Grand Final parade". 7NEWS. 6 September 2021. Archived from the original on 6 September 2021. Retrieved 7 September 2021.
  20. ^ Pip Christmass (15 September 2021). "Perth to hold 'people's parade' at Forrest Place in lieu of traditional AFL Grand Final procession". 7News. Archived from the original on 30 January 2022. Retrieved 24 September 2021.
  21. ^ a b McClure, Sam (10 September 2021). "Ruthless Melbourne obliterate Geelong, reach first grand final since 2000". The Age.
  22. ^ "The magic is back: Bulldogs into second GF in five years as Power totally shut down". Fox Sports. 11 September 2021. Archived from the original on 30 January 2022. Retrieved 14 September 2021.
  23. ^ "Party like it's 1954! Bulldogs stun footy world to book date with Demons: AFL Grand Final guide". Fox Sports. 11 September 2021. Archived from the original on 30 January 2022. Retrieved 11 September 2021.
  24. ^ "'It's a real thing': Will Dees finally shake the curse of Norm?". afl.com.au. Archived from the original on 30 January 2022.
  25. ^ "Australian Football - 1964 vfl grand final: melbourne v collingwood - gabbo's run in vain". australianfootball.com.
  26. ^ "From the firefighter to the 'low-key cruiser': Where are Melbourne's 2000 Grand Final players now?". Fox Sports. 25 September 2021. Archived from the original on 30 January 2022.
  27. ^ Max Laughton (24 September 2021). "AFL Grand Final teams: Semi-final hero axed as two Dogs cop ultimate heartbreak, Demons steady". Fox Footy. Archived from the original on 30 January 2022. Retrieved 25 September 2021.
  28. ^ "New rule reveal: AFL brings in 'medical sub' ahead of R1". afl.com.au. Archived from the original on 30 January 2022. Retrieved 25 September 2021.
  29. ^ Ryan, Jake Niall, Anthony Colangelo, Michael Gleeson, Peter (17 March 2021). "AFL's medical sub rule approved for round one". The Age. Archived from the original on 30 January 2022. Retrieved 25 September 2021.
  30. ^ "Looking good: What the Dees, Dogs will wear in the 2021 Grand Final". afl.com.au. Archived from the original on 30 January 2022. Retrieved 14 September 2021.
  31. ^ "AFL announces umpires for 2021 Toyota AFL Grand Final". AFL.com.au. 22 September 2021. Archived from the original on 30 January 2022. Retrieved 24 September 2021.
  32. ^ Iorio, Kelsie. "AFL grand final pre-show entertainment: Baker Boy, Eskimo Joe, John Butler, Stella Donnelley and more make for a strong start to finals footy". ABC News. Archived from the original on 30 January 2022. Retrieved 25 September 2021.
  33. ^ "AFL Grand Final 2021: WA musicians Birds of Tokyo and Eskimo Joe send crowd wild during Optus Stadium show". PerthNow. Archived from the original on 30 January 2022. Retrieved 25 September 2021.
  34. ^ "No late changes for AFL grand final teams". 7NEWS. 25 September 2021. Archived from the original on 30 January 2022. Retrieved 25 September 2021.
  35. ^ a b c d Twomey, Callum. "It's a grand NEW flag: Demons finally exorcise 57 years of pain". AFL.com.au. Retrieved 26 September 2021.
  36. ^ a b c d McGarry, Andrew. "AFL grand final: Melbourne beats Western Bulldogs by 74 points in Perth for the team's first flag since 1964". ABC News. Archived from the original on 30 January 2022. Retrieved 27 September 2021.
  37. ^ Miletic, Ronny Lerner, Roy Ward, Daniella (25 September 2021). "As it happened: Rampaging Demons clinch 13th premiership, Petracca best on ground, Norm Smith curse broken". The Sydney Morning Herald. Archived from the original on 30 January 2022. Retrieved 25 September 2021.
  38. ^ "Where Melbourne Demons won the 2021 AFL Grand final over Western Bulldogs". 25 September 2021. Retrieved 2 May 2022.
  39. ^ "Login • Instagram". www.instagram.com. Archived from the original on 30 January 2022. Retrieved 25 September 2021. ((cite web)): Cite uses generic title (help)
  40. ^ Melbourne Demons [@melbournefc] (25 September 2021). "Neale. ❤️ #GiveEmHell | #AFLGF t.co/3ZinCUGxca" (Tweet). Retrieved 26 September 2021 – via Twitter.
  41. ^ Untitled (Photograph). Retrieved 27 September 2021.
  42. ^ "AFL Match Statistics : Melbourne defeats Western Bulldogs at Optus Stadium Grand Final Saturday, 25th September 2021". www.footywire.com. Retrieved 25 September 2021.
  43. ^ Sunday Footy Show team dissects thrilling 2021 Grand Final - Sunday Footy Show | Footy on Nine, retrieved 28 September 2021
  44. ^ 2021 AFL Grand Final: Premiership Cup Ceremony, retrieved 28 September 2021
  45. ^ a b "Andrew Embley reveals context behind Grand Final presentation snub". www.sen.com.au. Archived from the original on 30 January 2022. Retrieved 28 September 2021.
  46. ^ Law, Peter (27 September 2021). "Perth AFL grand final: Historic WA decider delivers AFL $40m windfall". The West Australian. Retrieved 29 September 2021.
  47. ^ "AFL Match Statistics : Melbourne defeats Western Bulldogs at Optus Stadium Grand Final Saturday, 25th September 2021". www.footywire.com. Retrieved 25 September 2021.
  48. ^ Cherny, Daniel. "The curious case of Petracca's 40th possession". WAtoday. Archived from the original on 30 January 2022. Retrieved 27 September 2021.
  49. ^ Christian Petracca wins the AFL Norm Smith Medal 2021, retrieved 28 September 2021
  50. ^ "2021 Toyota AFL Grand Final TV Audience". afl.com.au. Archived from the original on 30 January 2022. Retrieved 27 September 2021.
  51. ^ Bruce, Jasper (26 September 2021). "Insane stat proves AFL is king". news.com.au — Australia's leading news site. Retrieved 27 September 2021.
  52. ^ "Prime Time Grand Final Rakes in Big TV Ratings". SEN. Archived from the original on 30 January 2022. Retrieved 26 September 2021.
  53. ^ Styles, Aja (2 October 2016). "AFL Grand Final 2016 has highest footy ratings for Channel 7 in a decade". The Sydney Morning Herald. Archived from the original on 30 January 2022. Retrieved 27 September 2021.
  54. ^ "Grand Final TV viewership biggest in 10 years". westernbulldogs.com.au. Archived from the original on 30 January 2022. Retrieved 20 January 2022.
  55. ^ "2005 AFL Grand Final TV ratings - regional figures included". BigFooty. Archived from the original on 30 January 2022. Retrieved 20 January 2022.
  56. ^ Hussey, Sam (28 February 2021). "Bruce McAvaney to step back from AFL commentary in 2021". Seven News. Archived from the original on 30 January 2022. Retrieved 28 February 2021.
  57. ^ "SEVEN ANNOUNCES ITS FULL COVERAGE OF THE AFL GRAND FINAL". TV Blackbox. 23 September 2021. Archived from the original on 30 January 2022. Retrieved 27 September 2021.