AFL Grand Final: Legendary singer Greg Champion roasts Gillon McLachlan over 20-year travesty

At a time when veteran US rockers KISS are stealing AFL headlines, another singing star sits quietly on the sidelines.

Well, not so quietly anymore.

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The AFL is constantly trying to find the right mix for its Grand Final entertainment.

Last year, Robbie Williams – and his enormous price tag – was lauded for his performance, complete with his hot pink suit.

The Killers, Birds of Tokyo, Ed Sheeran and Jimmy Barnes are also among the better performers of the last decade.

Then, of course, there is poor old Meat Loaf. His 2011 performance, if you can call it that, is the poster child for Grand Final fails.

Meat Loaf is lambasted virtually any time the game’s showpiece event is mentioned, with KISS even jumping on the bandwagon at Loaf’s expense this week.

“It’s an honour for us to be here,” lead singer Paul Stanley said on Thursday.

“Aussies are passionate and certainly about this game. It’s going to be a challenge for us to be louder than the crowd, but we’re going to do our best.”

Stanley then cheekily added: “We plan on blowing things up – and we promise you there’s no meat loaf on the menu.”

All good, harmless fun of course, we guess unless you are Meat Loaf.

Meanwhile, all this time, one of the great songs ever heard at an AFL Grand Final has gone deathly silent for more than 20 years.

There wouldn’t be too many Aussie Rules fans that couldn’t sing along to the tune “That’s the thing about football”.

Greg Champion wrote the song in 1994 and it was used heavily in Channel 7 broadcasts through the late 1990s.

Richmond football historian Rhett Bartlett posted a performance of the song on social platform X back in April last year, stating: “From the vault.

“The 2 men who wrote one of the greatest footy songs of all time – THAT’S THE THING ABOUT FOOTBALL – sing it on stage together at the 2002 Grand Final.

@gregchampion and Mike Brady.”

Whatever the reason, perhaps hoping to get the biggest reaction, Champion has waited all the way until now, 19 months later and just two days out from the 2023 Grand Final, to comment.

“And that was my most recent GF appearance,” Champion states in a desperately sad reply.

“I’m available, Gil, Dil and Co…”

That seemingly refers to outgoing AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan, his replacement Andrew Dillon and the rest of the AFL Commission.

The reply by Champion, who still does regular gigs and is also part of the legendary Coodabeen Champions comedy team, has received widespread support.

“That is exactly what the grand final pre-game entertainment should consist of!” wrote one user on X.

“If anyone is there to see Kiss, etc, well, quite frankly they are stealing a ticket from someone who should be there in their place.”

Another wrote “and it’s the best football anthem of all time”, while others commented the song “should be an annual occurrence” and “make this happen, AFL”.

So it’s over to McLachlan.

With roughly two days left of his decade-long reign, could he find a way to give the people what they want?

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