Grand Final weekends do not get much better than the 2023 AFL and NRL deciders, from the play on the field to the entertainment beforehand and everything in between.
Collingwood claimed a four-point win over the Lions on Saturday and the Panthers pulled off the greatest comeback in NRL grand final history to down the Broncos 26-24 — and Aussie sport lovers were in heaven.
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While entertainment is always divisive for some, the AFL erupted when rock legends KISS rocked the MCG in a 12-and-a-half minute showstopper before the premiership decider.
There was not much to fault on the day — although Mark Seymour was always set up to fail with a thankless job at the halftime break — but Channel 7 did cop some criticism after missing an iconic moment.
As KISS’ septuagenarian lead singer Paul Stanley wrapped up the show, he began threatening to smash his guitar.
Swinging his axe over his head several times to rile up the crowd, the director cut to shots of the rest of the band and over 500 kids dressed up as KISS.
While he kept cutting back, he smashed the guitar as Channel 7 coverage went to an aerial shot of the MCG.
When it cut back, Stanley was standing there holding the neck of his guitar.
The AFL did post the guitar smash on its YouTube account but it was an iconic TV moment missed, which many social media made sure Channel 7 realised.
One said the director “needs firing”, another called it “embarrassing” and many more were critical of the decision.
On Monday morning, Entertainment reporter Peter Ford spoke on 3AW and said KISS were “sensational”, adding the AFL got lucky that Crowded House pulled out of the gig.
“No disrespect to Crowded House but I could not see the MCG crowd get revved up like that to Don’t Dream It’s Over,” Ford said.
Ford praised both the AFL and the NRL Grand Final entertainment but hit out at the “big elephant in the room” — Channel 7 cutting away from guitar smash.
Ford said that it was either an accident or an artistic decision had violent connotations. But he pointed out that it was actually Frontier Touring who took over for the performance.
“If it was an accident, that director will have a lot of sleepless nights thinking ‘how could I have possibly allowed that to happen,” Ford said.
However, the creative director at Mushroom Creative House Tom McDonald has taken the blame for the blunder, despite not having his hands on the controls.
“I’m going to take the blame for that one because I guide the director and he’s not too pleased with me,” he said on 3AW’s Mornings with Neil Mitchell.
“We had so much going on at the time and in rehearsal, we didn’t do the guitar smash so I didn’t give him the heads up.
“There’s a bit of backlash for that but we’re going to release the footage and we’ll get it out there for the KISS Army. I’m sure they’ll see it one way or another.
“We had a lot going on, there was more pyrotechnics in that 15 minute show in their regular headline show so it was big.”
McDonald said the AFL wasn’t so sure about the mix of the kids and the pyrotechnics but that the children had a bigger cheer than the band.
When asked if the band was lipsyncing, McDonald said: “Not that I’m aware of, they still sing in their old age and are still putting on a show.”