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‘Re-imagined’ grand final parade to see teams take to the Yarra River

Two-time premiership star Tom Lynch has welcomed the return of the AFL grand final parade in a new “hybrid” model as the season decider moves back to Melbourne for the first time in three years.

A “re-imagined” route will take players on a boat parade down the Yarra River and through Birrarung Marr on the back of utes on the morning of grand final eve.

It will finish in Yarra Park at a “festival of football”, with three AFLW matches to be played at nearby Punt Road Oval and Olympic Park on the public holiday.

A fourth AFLW match will be played at Ikon Park that night.

It is only the fifth time the parade route has been changed since it was first staged in 1977.

The grand final parade was scrapped for the COVID-affected 2020 and 2021 seasons, when the season deciders were held in Brisbane and Perth respectively.

Richmond gun Lynch, who featured in the most recent grand final parade before the Tigers smashed GWS at the MCG in 2019, gave the event his tick of approval.

But the sixth-placed Tigers will have to engineer something special to get there this year, having to navigate three straight knockout finals if they are to reach the decider.

The first hurdle is an elimination final against Brisbane at the Gabba on Thursday night.

“I don’t care where we’re going, as long as we’re on it,” Lynch told reporters on Saturday.

“I’ve been involved with it once and it is amazing to connect with fans.

“I’m sure at the forefront of (the AFL’s) mind is getting fans back and into the CBD, so I’m sure it will be a great show.”

AFL commercial boss Kylie Rogers welcomed the grand final’s return to Melbourne and declared the new parade route an “improved family friendly layout”.

“As we have all bounced back from two really challenging years, footy has helped bring the heartbeat of the city back,” Rogers said.

“Grand final week in September will bring together all things great about our game and the city of Melbourne.”


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