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Sunday, January 17 2021 @ 05:46 pm ACDT

Footy Wrap's Jeff Wortman reflects on Grand Final day

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The following article is from Jeff Wortman, well known to many of our readers as one half of the comedy duo that deliver the weekly Footy Wrap posted on YouTube. Here Jeff recounts his memories of watching "the grannie" far from home and sympathises with the many people around the world in search of their footy fix on the big day.

On the last Saturday in September two years ago, I was negotiating the Tokyo subway with two mates, looking for the Clubhouse. I’m not usually an advocate of wearing your footy jumper to a game your team isn’t playing in but I felt desperate to find a way to be parochial in a city full of people who were blissfully unaware of the significance of the AFL Grand Final.

The owner of the bar provided Aussie beer to authenticate the experience. Streamers in teams’ colours stretched across the ceiling. Speakers had been set up so the commentary was audible. Pies were provided at a cost of 700 yen each. A little expensive but it had been so long since I had eaten one it was worth the premium.

Despite all this, the TV on which the game was screened was quite a modest size. The Colonel, who played for the Tokyo Goannas as a rover, battled for a vantage point. He commented on how he had forgotten how tall Australians were. No longer were we peering over the tops of heads like we had done in the train on the way down.

Hundreds of thousands of ex-pats living overseas will face the same dilemma on Saturday the 30th September. Where to find a TV showing the AFL grand final. I asked the question on a footy forum, ‘where have you watched the Grand final?’ and the responses were diverse. Imagine how Daniel felt in 1998 when he flicked through the channels in his New York hotel room only to stumble across his team playing the Kangaroos in the Grand Final. The Crows finished 5th and lost their first final but the complicated finals system that year meant that depending on other results, the Crows could get a second chance. This permutation had escaped Daniel, who placed a quick call home to confirm the details. There must have been some shouting in the hotel that night. I wonder if the neighbours would have been more forgiving if they had understood the gravity of Adelaide taking the premiership cup home for the second year in a row.

There will barely be a country on the globe that doesn’t have an AFL fan frantically searching for coverage of the game this weekend. Even the troops in Iraq will scream and shout when the national anthem draws to a close and the umpire bounces the ball.

Two years ago, the grand final did not disappoint, the Swans beating the more favoured Eagles by four points. It made me miss home. Mum sent me smarties and vegemite while I was living in Japan. My Dad sent me newspaper cuttings about the Tigers which I carefully read and pinned on my corkboard but nothing will made them feel closer to home than sharing the moment of the Grand Final.

Catch Jeff Wortman and Paul Hogan's latest Footy Wrap at Jeff's YouTube page.

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