It’s that time of year in Melbourne.
The parade is over, the Brownlow has been awarded, and the WAGs have had their moment on the red carpet. Tomorrow the city of Melbourne will stop for two and a half hours and the premiership team will be decided.

For most Melburnians, it’s the day they’ve waited for since March and they’ll be ready and waiting to engage in any manner of discussion about the upcoming game or the season past. However for those who’ve managed to live under a rock for the past five months, opportunities for social interaction can be limited unless you’re up to scratch on a few basics.
So here, may I present, my official “Oh bugger, I don’t fancy being a social outcast but the truth is I haven’t bothered watching a game of footy all year” conversation cheat sheet for the last Saturday in September:
– Which teams are even playing? The two teams duelling it out tomorrow are Hawthorn and Sydney. Hawthorn are otherwise referred to as the Hawks, and Sydney are the Swans.
– But how will I know which team is which? Hawthorn wear brown and gold and Sydney wear red and white. The shirts they wear aren’t called jerseys they’re called guernseys. The shorts are very short but not as short as they were in the 60s.
– Which players should I be watching? In the red and white keep your eyes on Buddy Franklin. He played for Hawthorn before defecting to Sydney, so he’s got a massive target on his back from the perspective of the Hawthorn faithful (see here) In the brown and gold all eyes will be on Cyril Rioli, Hawthorn’s rising star to see if his injured hamstring can hold up to the pressure. Drop in a comment about Bryan Lake (“can he go back-to-back on the Norm Smith”) and you’ll have everyone convinced you’re an expert.
– Okay okay, which team is going to win? It’s likely to be a tight match. Sydney finished on the top of the ladder at the end of the round of heats, and they beat Hawthorn in the final two years ago, but being a Melbourne team Hawthorn have the home ground advantage.
– How will I console my Hawthorn friends if Sydney wins? Do yourself a favour, don’t criticise the playing. Blame it on the ref or blame it on the salary cap.
Public service announcement over till next year!