Lewis Jetta avoids Cyril Rioli on a blistering run down the wing.

Lewis Jetta avoids Cyril Rioli on a blistering run down the wing. Photo: Justin McManus

FINAL SCORE: Hawthorn 11.15 (81) Sydney 14.7 (91)

Martin Blake JAKE'S TAKE:  WHAT can you say? Nearly all the numbers - shots, clearances, contested ball - say Hawthorn should win comfortably. But the Swans found a way. There's all sorts of individuals you can single out - Goodes, Hannebery, Malceski, even Teddy Richards, who was thrashed but won enormous contests when it counted against Buddy. Perhaps when we examine what happened, in the inquest, it will be that the Swans won fewer contests, but won the ones that mattered - such as Mike Pyke's mark that led to the game's most significant goal from the boot of Goodes. Would any other team manage to get so much out of Mitch Morton, who beat two Hawks? The Swans are greater than the sum of their parts. A team.

Q4 - 33.29: SIREN!
Swans taste premiership glory ...  Their last premiership in 2005 broke a 72-year drought. The next one came seven years later. Scenes of pure joy for the Bloods now out in the middle of the MCG.

Q4 - 32.06: GOAL!!!!
Malceski snaps an unthinkable goal over his head. Simply amazing. One of the great stoppage goals. Swans will win! Thirty seconds left.

Q4 - 28.42: MISS!
Sewell again ... won't be a draw now.

Q4 - 27.53: MISS!
Sewell with a snap out of the pack ... off line. Five points now.

Q4 - 24.53: MISS!
Gunston hits the post with a set shot ... only six points the difference.

Q4 - 22.29: GOAL!! Goodes bounces one through. Swans in front!

 Rohan ConnollyRohan Connolly - 23 mins: Scores level! Great work Morton to win a one on two, handballs, Jack kicks forward and Young slips over for the Hawks letting the Swan tie it up. What a classic this game is, one of the best of the modern era!

 Q4 - 19.10: GOAL. Swans scramble forward. Jack ends up with the pill in the square. No mistake. SCORES ARE LEVEL!  An unexpectedly great grand final finish looms. Eight minutes left.

Michael Gleeson - 18 mins:
Massive smother by Alex Johnson on Sewell kick. Crucial as kicking into forward line. Johnson off with hurt wrist.

Q4 - 12.53: GOAL!!
Hannebury shows so much composure, kicking truly from the left flank. Swans right back in the game. Just six points the difference.

Q4 - 7.46: MISS. Reid's effort is off target ... Critical couple of minutes coming up.

Michael Gleeson Michael Gleeson - 26 mins: Sydney has been hurt by a couple of unpaid frees this quarter. Frees now more than double in Hawthorn favour (20-9) in a game that is so tight.

7am. Hardy members queue in their thousands for the remaining grand final seats.

7am. Hardy members queue in their thousands for the remaining grand final seats. Photo: Will Brodie

 
Q4 - 2.21: GOAL. Hawks again. The cream rises .... David Hale again. Huge danger signs.

Q4 - 0.57: GOAL!
Bruest gets the first one of the final quarter. Can't downplay at all just how important that was.

3QT: Hawthorn 9.10 (64) Sydney 10.5 (65)

  Martin Blake JAKE'S TAKE:  What an extraordinary game - have seldom seen such sustained swings in momentum. Can a team lose a grand final after eight unanswered goals? Or after five in a row in the third quarter? Grant Birchall's run through the middle and long kick to Buddy one out was the turning point. Note that Franklin prefers to play on when he has a shot - most dangerous from outside or the edge of 50m playing on. Buddy, of course, was instrumental - Hawthorn's best thus far - but the centre clearances, where Mitchell, Sewell etc lifted, were also critical to the swing. Two questions now - what's the city end worth as an advantage and which team has more left in its legs. Ellis subbed out for Savage shouldn't hurt Hawks too much.

Q3 - 27.29: GOAL.
McVeigh gets one back. Swans snatch back the lead. That came after a 50m penalty ...

Rohan Connolly Rohan Connolly - 18 mins: Buddy! Smith! Unebelivable double for Hawks puts them back in front! Franklin marks and plays on and dobs it from almost 60 metres out, beating a despairing lunge. From the next bounce, Mitchell's clearance finds young Isaac, whose bomb sends the crowd made. What an amazing game of twists and turns this is.

Michael Gleeson Michael Gleeson - 26 mins: Birchall run out of half back huge in Hawks' come back. Franklin important. Roughead has lifted. 


Q3 - 24.35: GOAL!!!
Hawks in front! Smith the latest goal-scorer for Hawthorn. Five in a row ....

Q3 - 23.34: GOAL.
Franklin with his third. This match has turned big time. Hawks now back within just two points. Just a matter of minutes it took.

Q3 - 21.59: GOAL!
Gunston. Hawks are sizzling. Amazing footy.

Rohan Connolly Rohan Connolly - 18 mins: Hawks back in it! Goal to Hale from free but next play super important, Reid went long into Swans forward line, rebound came to Birchall who ran and smashed it into the Hawk forward line. Franklin outmarked Richards, turned on to his left and dobbed it from just on 50 metres. Back to 16 points and game on again!

Q3 - 16.15: GOAL.
Hawthorn with consecutive majors. Franklin spun around after marking on the arc and in typical fashion his kick came back and split the posts. Hawks back in the game.

Q3 - 13.29: GOAL.
Hawthorn. Absolutely critical. David Hale snags it.

Q3 - 10.22. MISS.
Kennedy's snap in close hits the post! A slight let off for Hawthorn. They need an injection of something ... and quickly.

Q3 - 8.10: GOAL.
Guess who? Swans with yet another. This grand final is fast running away from Hawthorn. That latest goal was too easy. LRT marked in the forward 50, almost uncontested, and his slightly shaky kick split the sticks. It's now a 27-point margin.

Q3 - 3.46: GOAL!
Kennedy with his second. Swans with seven goals straight! Huge danger signs here for Hawthorn. Swans look desperate at every contest.

Martin Blake  JAKE'S TAKE: 
Sydney's turnaround in the second quarter was astounding. It started in the middle with O'Keefe and Kennedy getting touches, but the most critical factor was John Longmire's decision to go man on man, rather than permitting a loose man behind the ball - the Hawks like to play that way, since it allows them to use their foot skills. Jetta's pace was significant in the second quarter - that long ball to McVeigh was sublime - and Goodes gave them a) a focal point and b) the ability to tie up and contain Gibson. O'Keefe has had the better of Mitchell and Buddy Franklin disappeared that quarter. O'Keefe is ahead for Norm Smith on my reckoning and is one of the game's greatest big gamers. How can the Hawks get back in to this? It will be a test of their character, above all, rather than any tactical change. Sydney's mettle is beyond doubt. Hawthorn 4.6 (30) Sydney 7.4 (46)

ANALYSIS:
That second term revival didn't seem on the cards. Six goals to zip. Astonishing. Swans getting plenty of drive from Hannebury and O'Keefe.

Jarrod, left, and Glen had spent four hours in the queue, and had three strong coffees, by 7am, when this pic was shot. Jarrod barracks for Essendon. Like many MCC members, he is just keen to see a great game of footy.

Jarrod, left, and Glen had spent four hours in the queue, and had three strong coffees, by 7am, when this pic was shot. Jarrod barracks for essendon. Photo: Will Brodie



Rohan Connolly Rohan Connolly - 24 mins:
Six in a row for Swans! Another transition from defence, great enterprising roost from Mattner, and superb scrambling from Goodes who got his hands to the ball at the bottom of the pack and fed out the handball to Morton, who almost in slow motion ran around on his right and snapped truly. Sydney's really taken the momentum here. Now Morton snaps a second! More great work from Goodes, recovering from a fumble to find the former Tiger, who balks and snaps. Swans by 16 points, Hawks in trouble!

Q2 - 22.39: GOAL!
Morton again! Almost a carbon copy. Slightly closer to goal. Six goals in a row to Sydney. Extraordinary.

Q2 - 18.54: GOAL.
Morton finds some space up forward and snaps truly. With poise. Hawks are somewhat rattled here. Four goals to three this quarter.

Q2 - 16 mins:
Doctor on Triple M says Goodes has 'cruciate strapping and some painkillers'. Star two-time Brownlow Medallist off the ground as the Swans get on top.

Rohan Connolly Rohan Connolly - 15 mins:
Sydney's come out firing with three goals in eight minutes, midfield's taken control, Goodes having some important touches, as is Jetta, who pumped another one to the goalsquare where Jarrad McVeigh has marked and goalled from the angle to make it just one point the difference. Great answer from Sydney, Hawks look a little taken aback momentarily.

Q2 - 13.25: GOAL.
Swans with three this quarter and they hit the lead! Reid accurate with a running kick from  the arc. Swans are playing smart footy.

Michael Gleeson Michael Gleeson - eight mins:
Hawks are yet to take a mark this quarter, surprising for the clean kicking contested possession side they are.

 
Q2 - 5.22: GOAL!
Swans with another. Jack after an uncontested mark. Margin slashed to just seven points.

Q2 - 1.00: GOAL.
Kennedy with the crucial first goal of the second term. It came after only one minute of play. Significantly the Swans don't look panicked despite their first quarter deficit.

Michael Gleeson Michael Gleeson - QT:
Franklin 10 touches first quarter for 1.2. That keeps up and Buddy will kick double figures. ted needs to tighten up. Hawks doing massive job of keeping ball trapped in forward 50.

Q1 - 28 mins: GOAL. Hawks on fire late. Gunston gets their fourth. Hawthorn out to a 19-point lead just before quarter-time.

Michael Gleeson Michael Gleeson - 27 mins:
Killer turn over from Nick Smith kicking inside 50, ball goes end to end and Bruest dribbles through goal. Centre clearance and Gunston goals. massive swing in space of a minute after LRT misses set shot.

Q1 - 26 mins: GOAL! Bruest snags one. Hawks finding some momentum.

The members' queue stood in the muclh beneath the Elm trees, as if the club had planned to soften the load on the foot-weary.

The members' queue stood in the muclh beneath the Elm trees, as if the club had planned to soften the load on the foot-weary. Photo: Will Brodie

Rohan Connolly Rohan Connolly - 24 mins: Huge moment for Hawthorn. Hannebery had taken courageous mark for Swans, but pressure forced a turnover, which found Franklin just outside 50 metres on a 45-degree angle. No problems for Buddy, a beautiful curling kick found the target. Hawks needed it, they'd dominated the inside 50s without scoreboard reward.

Q1 - 23.20: GOAL!
Buddy finds his range. Set shot from right forward pocked at City End bended back beautifully. No doubt a shot of confidence for the big fella. 

Michael Gleeson Michael Gleeson - 21 mins:
Is Hawthorn doing a Geelong of 2008 - failing to take first half chances?


Q1 - 19.24: MISS.
Hale slides a kick to the left from 30 metres. Significant let-off for the Swans. Hale had marked after a wondeful weighted spearing kick from Hodge. Game nicely poised.

Rohan Connolly Rohan Connolly - 15 mins: Nick Malceski's goal was one of the best of the season! It squared up the scores. Unbelievable curling left foot snap from only a metre inside the boundary and about 40 metres out. Swans are holding their own here, look every bit as dangerous as the favourite, that might have been the little extra spark needed.

The end of the queue started with a queue for coffee.

The end of the queue started with a queue for coffee. Photo: Will Brodie

Q1 - 10.50: GOAL!! Malceski with an amazing left footy snap from the pocket. Such are the tricky wind conditions, it may have gone past the boundary line ... but it came back and went in!

Q1 - 9.20: GOAL!
Ellis snares one for the Hawks. An unexpected first goal scorer. A great result for trivia buffs.

Q1 - 7.05:
Hodge has copped a knock and he's bleeding from the wound. O'Keefe with plenty of early touches. Sewell in the thick of the action too.

Q1 - 1.43: MISS.
Franklin juggles a mark and his shot from just inside 50 metres is off-line. Kick looked to have held up a touch in the wind. A typically tough and testing start to the grand final. Clean possessions hard won.

Rohan Connolly 2.25pm - Rohan Connolly: So we're nearly there. Weather looking good right now. All that speculation on what the wet means might be immaterial. Been a great lead-up here, thought the entertainment really hit the mark this time. Swans out nice and early, Hawks a minute or two ago, both look relaxed and confident. No surprises with subs, both Savage and Parker offer plenty of flexibility. Two best teams of the year for mine, all ready to go! Have a great grand final everyone, let the game begin!

Scott Spits

Swans fans Neville, Aiden, Michael and George had been in line since 3.30am. Neville praised the preparedness of fellow queue inhabitants: "They had their weet-bix ready!"

Swans fans Neville, Aiden, Michael and George had been in line since 3.30am. Neville praised the preparedness of fellow queue inhabitants: "They had their weet-bix ready!" Photo: Will Brodie

2.19pm - The sun is out! The MCG looks in great nick. Where do all those grand final rumours start anyway? Mumford may have aggravated a hammy but the big man is playing. Both Hodge and Sewell walked up the race for the Swans with heavily strapped knees. It has been a long season for all. Hodge's year, in particular, has been fascinating. Really restricted. Out of the prelim with gastro. Probable captain of a premiership team. My tip for the Norm Smith.

2.08pm - That rain is staying away. Paul Kelly has come and gone. A great choice for pre-match entertainment. So appropriate. Cheer squads are out on the ground with this year's creations lying flat on the turf. You wouldn't want to risk the felt paper in the wind.

1.55pm: Melbourne's classic 'four seasons in a day' weather a huge talking point. The falls falls. Will it persist? Is there still a chance of hail? Does it really matter that much? The MCG drains so beautifully anyway. Nerves are increasing. At a rapid pace. Not just for those 40 of so footballers in the bowels of the 'G. 

Hawks pranksters struck in Swan Street Richmond during the week. Local authorities were reportedly happy to accept the temporary re-naming until after the big game.

Hawks pranksters struck in Swan Street Richmond during the week. Local authorities were reportedly happy to accept the temporary re-naming until after the big game. Photo: Getty Images

1.39pm: The final teams are in. Forget those rumours about Shane Mumford being a late withdrawal. Sydney has Dan Hannebery, Nick Malceski, Mitch Morton on the bench with Luke Parker as the substitute. Hawthorn opts for Xavier Ellis, Clinton Young, Liam Shiels on the interchange. 'Super Sub' Shane Savage gets that duty again.

1.35pm: With just under an hour to go, storm clouds are rolling across town and the weather is starting to look very ominous. After some teasing glimpses of blue sky and sunshine this morning Melbourne has pulled through once again, whipping out a fourth season to complete the day's weather.

Will Brodie - 1.20pm: Melbourne's weather has played a final joke on grand final patrons. It is hot at the MCG. Bright. Sunny. And as the layers come off, the storm front comes closer, apparently.

Scott Spits

The MCC members on grand final day resembles Myer Stockate Sale hordes on Boxing Day, only more civilised.

The MCC members on grand final day resembles Myer Stockate Sale hordes on Boxing Day, only more civilised. Photo: Will Brodie

Scott Spits - 1.10pm: Just walked past the one and only Leo Barry as I got off the train. Great omen for the Swans. Who can forget his game-saving mark at the end of the 2005 decider? One of the best grand finals for mine. Was great to watch parts of it again on replay last night.

1.15pm

The grand final sprint has just been run and Adelaide's Patrick Dangerfield has gone back-to-back! He won comfortably ahead of Sydney's Harry Cunningham and in Hawthorn's Angus Litherland who came in third.

Photo of Hawks mascot parading outside the  MCG  before the AFL Grand Finals on Saturday September 29, 2012. Click for more photos

AFL Grand Final 2012 - Fans arrive to support their teams

Photo of Hawks mascot parading outside the MCG before the AFL Grand Finals on Saturday September 29, 2012. Photo: LUIS ENRIQUE ASCUI

1.05pm

Teams are in and there have been no late changes made to either side. Hawthorn's sub will be Shane Savage and wearing the green vest for the Swans will be Luke Parker.

Lance Franklin celebrates a third-quarter goal.

Lance Franklin celebrates a third-quarter goal. Photo: Paul Rovere

12.50pm

HOW THE EXPERTS SEE IT

Michael Voss explains how the Hawks can win today's game and Mark Neeld looks at how the Swans can finish premiers.

Tim Rogers performs at the AFL grand final.

Tim Rogers performs at the AFL grand final. Photo: Pat Scala

12.45pm

Rumours flying about that Shane Mumford may miss the game today with a hamstring injury. Channel 7 is reporting that he is currently undergoing a fitness test.

12.35pm

Stewart, second from right, and his Hawk crew, wait for the Cricketer's Arms to open at 8am.

Stewart, second from right, and his Hawk crew, wait for the Cricketer's Arms to open at 8am. Photo: Will Brodie

Tim Rogers is entertaining fans at the MCG and the heats for the grand final sprint have been run and won. The final for the sprint will happen just after 1pm and after an impressive heat could Patrick Dangerfield go back-to-back?

12.23pm

Hawthorn players and officials will wear black armbands today to recognise the service and friendship of support staff member 'Scotty' Finlayson, who passed away last Saturday.

Scotty started at the Club in 1984 in a statisticians role and moved to the Property department in 1985, where he worked for 26 years until his retirement at the end of 2011.

He was presented with a service award in 2003.

12.20pm

COLD BREAKFAST

The North Melbourne Grand Final breakfast was always a symbol of the resourcefulness of one of the league's smaller clubs.

CEO Cameron Vale continued that tradition today when turning a possible negative into a positive at today's 46th edition of the time-honoured grand final day institution. Noting that many guests, including guest of honour Sally Pearson, were shivering in the cold confines of Etihad Stadium, Vale said heating the 3000-plus guests adequately was something the club would continue to address as it looks to "grow the event". (How much bigger can it get?) But his short-term solution?

"We've had Ted Baillieu with a (North Melbourne) scarf on, Tony Abbott with a scarf on. In 2013 I think the aim is to have Eddie McGuire there wrapped up beautifully in a North Melbourne scarf ...."

Freezing Melbourne weather: Nothing that a bit of promotional Kangarooos attire can't fix.
-JARED LYNCH

12.15pm

North Melbourne's famous football breakfast was missing footballs this morning. Jared Lynch has the story.

11.30am GRAND MEMORY 2: ANDREW TATE

Now a mild-mannered, even-handed, highly-respected pillar of the world of letters, once upon a time as a teenager, Andrew Tate was a key member of the Essendon cheer squad....

Sunday Age editor Andrew Tate recalls his incredible apprenticeship as a serial ground invader on grand final day.

11.15am

BOLTON THE BOLTER IN NORM SMITH MEDAL BETTING  

On Friday afternoon, punters took note of the wet conditions and backed hardened Swans pack specialist Jude Bolton to win the Norm Smith Medal. He was in from $41 to $14 with Sportingbet Australia. he firmed from $21 overnight into into $18.75 with TAB Sportsbet. Many punters somehow felt Bolton’s courageous bull-at-a-gate style would be prominent in his 301st game. However, both teams are brim-full of pack animals, extractors, inside midfielders, hard nuts, and stoppage specialists. Messrs Kennedy, Mitchell, Lewis, and Jack head a long list of players who could see plenty of contested ball. So which roughie should you pick now that the value is gone from the illustrious Swan? How about Ted Richards ($51). He held Buddy Franklin to 0.3 in round five, the only man to keep him goalless this season. If he did so in the grand final, we’re tipping it will have proved decisive in the outcome. Ryan O'Keefe ($13.75 with TAB Sportsbet) is our pick of the midfielders for Sydney, and Jordan Lewis, always a man for the big occasion, is our tip for the Hawks at the same quote.

NORM SMITH MEDAL VOTING

The judges for the 2012 Norm Smith Medal for best player on the ground in the grand final are Brett Ratten (chairman), Michael Malthouse (Channel 7), Drew Morphett (ABC Radio), Tim McGrath (K Rock) and Neil Cordy (The Daily Telegraph). The accepted format is now to includes a person with senior coach experience in 2012 (Brett Ratten), alongside the views of retired players and senior media staff. The much-revered award is still presented after the match even if the game ends in a draw. Lenny Hayes won it in the 2010 draw, and Scott Pendlebury in the replay a week later.
The Norm Smith Medal cannot be shared between two players. In the event of a tie, the tie is broken as follows:
- Number of three votes received
- Number of two votes received
- If still unbroken, votes cast by the Chairman will break the tie.

Will Brodie 11.05am - Well, if you got up late, let me tell you that it was a beautiful day today in Melbourne. Until about ten minutes ago. Now it is dark, grey, and getting cooler. Rather than sunny, clear-skied and bright. It seems there will be no escape from the predicted deluge and cold winds. One more time with that forecast... (I think Melburnians secretly have a fetish for such dire forecasts) Showers, local hail, 14 degrees. Read on here.

10.55am

COINING A NEW GLORY

Not even legal tender is immune to the reach of AFL premiership marketing. This year, for the first time, the AFL will celebrate the premiership-winning team with three types of limited edition 'Premiership Coin'.

They will be legal tender, uncirculating and struck by the Royal Australian Mint, for the numismatics amongst you who understand the importance of such matters. The $1 Premiership Cup coin was used for the toss to determine the home and away teams and will find further exposure when it is used at the official coin toss before the bounce for the big game today. Coins have been part of civilised culture for a long time and it’s really exciting to think that in 50 years not only AFL Fans, but coin collectors will be trying to find the first ever coin minted with the winners of the 2012 Toyota AFL Grand Final," says AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou.

When your team wins a grand final, you are vulnerable to anything that possesses the name of your clubs and the word 'premiers'. Now you can even buy money.

10.50am

GRAND MEMORY: MICHAEL LYNCH

When he first arrived in Australia, soccer-loving Age scribe Michael Lynch thought footy was thought "nothing more than structured fighting, with no tactics, shape, style or structure."
See how his mind was changed...

Read Age Michael Lynch's GRAND MEMORY here

10.40am

Pubs surrounding the MCG face a massive task dealing with the influx of fans. The Cricketer's Arms is closest, but smallest, and its cosy art deco bar is better suited to intimate Thursday nights housing a dozen locals, rather than thousands of hyped-up grand final attendees. But they adapt. Opening at 8am for breakfast, they eventually close off the neighbouring street and set up food and drink for the hordes under marquees. The Mountain View Hotel on Bridge Road also has a permit to close its neighbouring thoroughfare, and sets up screens and a barbecue outside. The All Nations Hotel in Lennox Street runs a shuttle service for fans to the MCG, opening at 10am. For some fans, that is too late on grand final day. At 7.50am, Stewart and his Hawk crew were impatient for the Cricketers to open. Their ritual is to have breakfast there, then proceed to the more ribald Royal Hotel just up Punt Road. Asked how they were feeling so early in the day, they roared in unison: "Thirsty!"

10.29am

There is a pattern to grand final selections so far this morning - sensible experts go for Hawthorn by three or four goals, saying they are the best team and will find a way to counter the Swans. And celebs go for Sydney by a kick. Hence Olympic gold medallist Sally Pearson, guest of honour at the North Melbourne Grand Final breakfast, tipped Sydney because a footy-literate friend told her to, and because "I'm just barracking for the underdog."

10.15am

Grand Final marathons are improtant to diehard footyheads, who are preparing to farewell the season which has sustained them for so many months. While the replays of past deciders may contain some painful memories - yes, that is a reference Collingwood fans will understand - the true fan loves marinating in the wall-to-wall footy coverage. With the AFL seemingly hellbent on eradicating live games from the grand final day telecast - the TAC Cup and VFL grand finals, both great spectacles, were completed last Sunday, and talking heads dominate Channel Seven’s thorough coverage, making the most of the old games is even more of a priority. And taking in a good GF can reveal some interesting insights. One we noted from the 7mate coverage, which began on Friday afternoon - tick to the Seven Network  for that - is that 1982’s Carlton were less fazed by naked women than 1982’s Richmond. In that year’s brutal decider, Richmond was still right in the game when infamous streaker Helen D’Amico infiltrated the arena during the third quarter. A moment later, the scores were level at 61 apiece. But the Blues kicked the next three goals and were never again headed. Football pundit Andrew Gigacz pinpoints the demise of the Richmond Football Club to the pivotal moment when the 17-year-old Adelaide stripper braved the elements, and the disbelieving eyes of 107,536 fans in the middle of the MCG, describing her as ‘"arguably the single most destructive influence the Richmond Football Club has ever known".

"Think about it," Gigacz continues. "Moments after she graced the field, the Blues kicked two or three quick goals. The Tigers never regained the lead. They never regained their composure. They never played in another Grand Final. And they never again filled opposition sides and supporters with fear and dread."
The other interesting fact about her streak is that an unhurried lone attendant provides her with a concealing white robe, and then accompanies her off the ground, at a leisurely pace, and at arm’s length. These days she would have been gang-tackled, pummelled and trussed before being raced off. Things have changed for grand final days, and security, in 30 years!

10.10am

It was cool, but lovely at the MCG early this morning, sunny and clear-skied. A Salvation Army collector described it as "pleasantly crisp". But everyone was prepared for, and talking about, the predicted holocaust of wintry weather supposedly moving in from the west. 14 degrees top, hail... cats, dogs and unicorns falling from the sky... Well, Fox Footy's Gerard Healy just announced that it is hailing heavily in Port Campbell. And puffy white clouds are now populating the sky above the Melbourne CBD. Overheard at 7.20am in the mmebr's queue: "My hands  are ice! Next year I'm rememebring the gloves and scarf, and leaving the sleeping bag in the cupboard!". The spirit of the member's queue reminds one of the days when it was footy fans only, and not sponsors and corporate package-holders who got into the game. And they didn't all barrack for either team in the big game. fans of other  teams able to get in would choose a team for the day. Listening to the crowd response to a first quarter Hawthorn goal in the 1984 decider on the grand final marathon last night, it was clear that the bulk of the crowd had sided with the underdog Dons, who had not won a flag for 17 years, and had been thrashed by the Hawks the previous season. There was barely a murmur when they got 28 points up late in the first term.

10am

Don't despair if you missed Fox Footy's telecast of the 2012 North Melbourne grand final breakfast. All the wit and attemmpted wit of the occasion was missing, replaced by heavily edited snippets with celebs and pollies, and extended highlights and expert analysis with Fox Footy perrsonnel. It was as if the footyheads couldn't wait to start their hardcore analysis of the match. The time for frivolous hangers-on to get their grand final moments is 8am, live, at the end of 24 hours of grand final marathon, and replete with embarrassing comedians and awkward faux pas by footy ignorant pollies like Tony Abbott. It should not be shown on delay at 9am in a slick, heavily controlled package. Ah, well, back to the real thing now, with Channels Seven and Fox Footy now supplying hours of its experts dissecting the game.

9.57am

GRAND FINAL TICKETING ALERT

The Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC) advises that, as it appears full members will not fill the capacity of the Members Reserve for today's AFL Grand Final, entry tickets to access walk-up seating on Level 4 will go on sale to restricted and restricted junior members at 10.30am today. Tickets cost $299 for Restricted members and $192 for Restricted Junior members and may be purchased via the following:
- At the membership ticket windows to the right of Gate 2 at the MCG.
- Ticketek website - www.ticketek.com.au  
- By phoning Ticketek on 1300 136 961.

Tickets must be collected at the Gate 2 ticket windows upon production of a valid photo ID membership card and booking number. Restricted and Restricted Junior members must produce their membership card in conjunction with their ticket to gain entry to the Reserve. There is still limited seating on Level 4 of the Reserve for Full members and annual Guest cardholders.

9.45am

There is a perception that MCC members are somehow less fierce than the fan in the outer. They may be a little more difficult to rouse for  Mexican Wave, but the denizens of the fancy seats sure earn their keep come grand final day, proving their allegiance to the great Australian game. The queue outside the members began yesterday afternoon, braving downpours and cold change temperatures. The members came ready with tents, sleeping bags, and endless supplies off cofffee. Charlie attendant at the Hilton Hotel end of the queue, where it did its big sabout-turn before  hading back to the gates, said he had started his shift at 5am, and most of the line-up was already in place. "I don't think they know what home is!" he said.

9.36am

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott butters up to the breakfast set by admitting that he got Aussie Rules wrong. "It takes more athleticism than just about any sport," he says, before proceeding into a ramble about his support for GWS and how it will beat Gold Coast (on the ladder?) next season.

9.24am

The 46th annual North Melbourne grand final breakfast is underway, with 3000 guests being entertained by politicians, celebrities and elite sportsmen at Etihad Stadium. The telecast is a heavily edited, delayed beast this year, rather more controlled than usual, hence the usual satire and parody of the big wigs was muted. One notable song played while a luminary marched throught he crowd to the stage, was Madonna's Holiday... for AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou, who took a contentious European sojourn in the middle of the AFL season. Cameron Ling, the 2012 Premiership Cup amabassador, says his tip for today's game has "chopped and changed" depending on who he is talking to. But he eventually sides with the Swans by a goal. Hardly anyone is tipping a result with a greater margin than that.

9.15am

If you think we're starting early, you should have seen the exterior of the MCC member's reserve at the MCG this morning. At 7am, the queue for the remaining 8,500 grand final seats, and 1000 standing room places, snaked up Jolimont Hill and back to the concourse, a massive u-turn of rugged-up footyheads who had been lined up in the dark and cold for hours, some of them since yesterday afternoon.

GRAND FINAL DAY ACTIVITIES
  12.25pm Gillette AFL Grand Final Sprint Heats  
  12.30 – 12.35pm On-field presentation – AIS Academy Squad and photograph.  
  1.12pm Gillette AFL Grand Final Sprint
  1.40pm – 1.55pm Preliminary warm up opportunity  
  2pm  Pre-match entertainment presentation. Retiring players presentation  
  2.12pm Umpires enter arena on cue
  2.14pm Sydney Swans enter arena on cue/team photo
  2.17pm Hawthorn enters arena on cue/team photo  
  2.26pm National Anthem
  2.28pm Two Sirens – Toss of Coin
  2.30pm 2012 Toyota AFL Grand Final Commences
  3.40pm (approx) Half-time entertainment presentation
  5.15pm (approx) Post match presentation / team photo
  6.10pm (approx) Media Conference – Runners Up
  6.35pm (approx) Media Conference – Premiers
  7.15pm Premiers on-field presentation to public

HAWTHORN’S GRAND FINAL
Saturday 29 September
Grand Final day live site
What: Hawks members and supporters can watch the Grand Final live on the big screen with other Hawks fans
Where: Glenferrie Oval
When: 1-6pm
Details: Entry is free. Full coverage of the build-up and game on the big screen. Food and drink available. Dry venue – strictly no alcohol permitted. BYO picnic blanket or chairs.

‘Premiership Party’ - Official AFL after-match presentation (should Hawthorn win)
What: Should Hawthorn win on Saturday the players and coaches will be presented to supporters at the MCG as part of the ‘AFL Premiership Party’
Where: MCG stage positioned on the Southern Stand wing
When: 7.15pm
Details: There will be free public entry to the MCG – via Gate 3 from 6pm – for a live concert featuring Paul Kelly and The Temper Trap followed by the presentation of the 2012 AFL Premiers with the 2012 AFL Premiership Cup.

Official Hawthorn Grand Final Dinner
Who: President Andrew Newbold, CEO Stuart Fox, Senior Coach Alastair Clarkson and Captain Luke Hodge to address the room. The team will also be presented on stage.
When: 8pm onwards
Where: Crown Palladium

Sunday 29 September
Supporters’ Day
Who: Senior Coach Alastair Clarkson and Captain Luke Hodge to address the crowd and the side to be presented on stage
When: 12-4pm, the team to be presented on stage at approximately 2.20pm
Where: Glenferrie Oval

SYDNEY’S GRAND FINAL 
Saturday 29th
2012 AFL Grand Final
Details: It’s the culmination of the 2012 AFL season on the big stage at the MCG. Main game bounces at 2:30pm, broadcast live nationally on Channel 7.

2012 AFL Grand Final Live site - Melbourne
Details: AFL Grand Final shown live on big screens at Federation Square, Melbourne. Click here for more information.

The Premiership Party
Details: Party at the MCG from 6-8pm with live performances from the Temper Trap and Paul Kelly and winning team presented onstage. Free entry via Gate 3 from 6pm. Click here for more information.

2012 Sydney Swans Grand Final Dinner
Details: Celebrate the Swans Grand Final appearance at the Official Sydney Swans Grand Final Dinner. The event, at the Melbourne Park Function Centre, will commence at 7:30pm, dress code is lounge suit.
Tickets are $300.00 per person and include a three course meal, beer, wine and soft drinks. The evening will feature a full team appearance and live entertainment.
Tickets on sale 10.00am Monday, September 24 at www.sydneyswans.com.au/events
This event will go ahead win, lose or draw.  

2012 AFL Grand Final Live site - Sydney
Details: On Friday 28 and Saturday 29 September from 9am to 11pm Darling Harbour will have three giant screens—two at Harbourside and one at Darling Quarter—broadcasting the Grand Final.

2012 AFL Grand Final Friendly Venues
 Details: The 2012 AFL Grand Final shown live and loud at your favourite Swans Friendly Venues. Click here for more information.
2012 AFL Grand Final at the Randwick Ritz
 Watch the Grand Final on the massive cinema screen at the Randwick Ritz. See ritzcinema.com.au for more details
2012 AFL Grand Final at Event Cinemas, Castle Hill
 Watch the Grand Final on the massive Vmax screen at the Event Cinemas, Castle Hill. Click here for more details   

Sunday 30th
Sydney Swans Team Reception at Lakeside Stadium, Albert Park – Melbourne
 Free entry!
 Details: Congratulate the Grand Final team at their traditional home, Lakeside Oval in Albert Park from 7:30am. Free entry, family entertainment and full Sydney Swans Team Presentation and the opportunity to purchase Swans merchandise and memorabilia. This event will go ahead win, lose or draw. Entry is free and open to all, but for your chance to win Sydney Swans merchandise pre-register your interest in attending.
 This event will go ahead win, lose or draw.

Sydney Swans Welcome Home to the SCG
 Free entry!
 Details: welcome home the 2012 Sydney Swans team from their Grand Final campaign at the SCG from 11:30am-3:30pm. Free entry via SCG Gate A, hosted by Channel 7’s Mark Beretta the day will feature family fun activities, face painting, access onto the SCG for footy skills, on stage entertainment from Jelly Bean Jam and a full Sydney Swans Team Presentation. Entry is free and open to all, but for your chance to win Sydney Swans merchandise pre-register your interest in attending. This event will go ahead win, lose or draw.

Sydney Swans Club Champion Dinner
 Details: Celebrate the season and see the Bob Skilton Medallist awarded at the Sydney Swans Club Champion Dinner. The event will be held in the Grand Hall at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre, Darling Harbour. Event starts at 6:30pm and the dress code is lounge suit. Tickets are on sale now through www.sydneyswans.com.au/events