AFL Grand Final 2023: Mike Brady touching tribute to Ron Barassi at MCG

Aussie singer Mike Brady has spruced up his iconic footy tune “Up There Cazaly” to feature the late Ron Barassi, who died two weeks before the 2023 grand final.

“Up there Cazaly, and Barassi too,” Brady sung to a full house at the MCG.

“We love you No. 31, we’ll never forget you.”

Barassi was a central figure in the AFL, winning a combined 10 flags as a player and coach.

He spent the bulk of his playing days at Melbourne Football Club before finishing his career at Carlton. He would later coach those two sides before doing stints with North Melbourne and Sydney before retiring in 1995.

The AFL has considered renaming the premiership cup after him in time for today’s game.

“The AFL will continue to work with the Barassi family on a fitting tribute to Ron,” the league said in a statement on Saturday.

“(CEO elect) Andrew Dillon and his team will do that during the off-season.”

“Up There Cazaly” was written in 1979 to promote Channel 7’s coverage of the Victorian Football League (VFL).

It was first performed by the Two-Man Band, a duo of Brady and Peter Sullivan, and has since become an unofficial anthem of Aussie rules.

The Barassi family confirmed his passing in a statement on September 16.

“After a full and extraordinary life, Ronald Dale Barassi, aged 87, left us today after complications from a fall,” the statement read.

In stark contrast to Brady’s emotional tribute, KISS put on the biggest production the AFL Grand Final has ever seen.

But many were far from impressed with the 70s rockers.

The iconic American rockers were the headline act before the AFL Grand Final and belted out their tunes from a stage in the centre of the MCG, after the show started with an orchestra staged on top of the roof of the venue.

The star-studded act bucked the trend of appearing to win over the majority of fans on social media — following on from Robbie Williams’ hit performance before the 2022 Grand Final.

The AFL was widely criticised for going with such an old-school act, but the veteran performers, led by rock god Gene Simmons, showed they were still capable of putting on a show for a live stadium audience.

“Just about as good as it gets the Telstra pre-game entertainment,” Channel 7’s Hamish McLachlan said.

“A world-class act for the world’s best game. That was something else. Hope you enjoyed that as much at home as the 100,000-odd here at the MCG did. The a massive thanks to Mushroom Events. I’m told that was the biggest staging and production for an Australian sporting event outside of the Olympics and Comm Games ever. Huge effort.

“It was unbelievable. What a thrill for all these KISS disciples.”

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