How To Host the Perfect AFL Grand Final Party at Home

How to Host the Perfect AFL Grand Final Party at Home. 

The 2014 AFL Grand Final will be held on Saturday 27 September 2014. Bounce down is about 12.30pm Perth time. Pre-game entertainment includes Tom Jones and Ed Sheeran.

Are you holding a Grand Final day party? Everything you need to know is here….

1. TV Screens

Home theatre room in Ventura Homes' 'The Allure'
Home theatre room in Ventura Homes’ ‘The Allure’

Main TV screen in-doors, typically in the living room or theatre room. This has to be a big screen, or even projector. Don’t think about hosting a big sporting event watch party without one.
Get yourself a 60-inch HD TV at least – if you don’t have one yet, there’s never been a better time to invest in one.

TV screen outdoor by the BBQ (more on the BBQ next) – Set up an outdoor TV as well, so anyone running the BBQ and those wanting to get outside and take in some sun during the game won’t miss a moment of the action. It can also be a good idea to run the radio commentary out here as well to generate a good atmosphere, however, sometimes the radio can be a couple of seconds ahead of the TV, sometimes this can be a good thing so you know when to focus on the action between those bites of hot dog.

2. Catering

Images from Taste.com.au, photographer Ben Dearnley
Images from Taste.com.au, photographer Ben Dearnley

Any AFL Grand Final Party in Perth is going to be a lunch time affair, with bounce down at 12.45 pm WA time, your guest will no doubt be hungry for snacks and lunch. This is the perfect occasion for a great Aussie BBQ, and generally late September weather in SW Western Australia is quite beautiful, so your guest are going to want to enjoy some time outside (hence the need for an outdoor TV area).

Alcohol and Soft Drink:

First of all, your guest should be expected to bring their own drinks, especially beer, wine and expensive spirits. Because it’s typically a warm day, you’re beer stocks are going to be depleted fast. Unless you’re extremely generous, and you own some huge fridge and esky space, you’re not going to have enough decent cold beer to cater for all.

Ask your best friends to bring a carton to help with the demand, and make sure you go easy on the full strength beer. Always, always have a mid-strength or light beer option for the Grand Final. A choice mid-strength for AFL footy is Rogers by Little Creatures, and a great tasting light beer is a Cascade Premium Light.

You wan’t your guest to be sober enough for the day to a) be able to remember the bloody thing, and b) not get so drunk that your mates end up hitting on your girlfriend or sister, and/or make a nasty mess in your toilet.

Encourage your guest to drink soft drink and water (fill up cups  with ice even if nobody asks) between booze and importantly, you’ll need lots of food to keep your mates from drinking on empty.

Food Ideas:

Encourage guest to bring their own BBQ food (expensive steaks, chops etc), you’re not expected to pay for these. Also encourage guest to bring big bowls of salads for communal consumption, and make sure someone makes up a big potato salad for carbs to keep the hunger pains away.

Cheese Platters and water crackers for the yuppies and wine drinkers in the party are ideal. Throw in some cheap supermarket dips, olives and antipastos to keep ’em happy.

Sausages & Bread Rolls. The guest should always provide plenty of snags for the barbie and high quality bread rolls. A trip to Bakers Delight or other decent bakery will be needed in the morning. Get in early and buy their stocks before some other AFL Grand Final Party host gets in before you. Avoid cheap Supermarket rolls, nobody likes mass produced hot dog rolls from Coles. Nobody.

Party Pies are expected. Beef and chicken frozen pies are ideal. Buy in bulk and throw into the oven around 11p m. Do not over cook.

Chicken Wings. Football and chicken wings, essential. Don’t forget napkins and bring out the old refresher towelettes’ you’ve been accumulating from fast food outlets.

2 litres of Tomato Sauce + plenty of Mustard. You’ll need these for your finger food and hot dogs. Sweet chilli sauce is also a smashing addition.

For the BBQ:

Kangaroo Sticks. A healthy, lean addition to the meat fest of the BBQ.

Prawns. Please your guest with 2 kg of cooked prawns from the supermarket, smothered in chopped garlic cloves and olive oil, and thrown them on the barbie.  You cant go wrong.

Don’t forget:

Sausages at a rate of 2.5 per guest, 2 bread rolls per guest, 1 medium sized esky full of ice for every 6 adult guests.

3. Know Your AFL Grand Final Schedule

The AFL Premiership Cup
The AFL Premiership Cup is worth celebrating at an AFL Grand Final Party. Via The Flak.

This is going to be a long day. AFL Games are typically 2 hours and 40 minutes from first bounce down to final siren. However, you will want your guest to arrive an hour before bounce-down, as the AFL pre-game entertainment has now become the center piece time-slot outside the main event. So, if you’re mum’s a big Tom Jones fan, the 2014 AFL Grand Final pre-game entertainment might be the biggest part of the day.

Make sure your fire up the BBQ at about 12pm, and have all snacks, drinks ready to go, have the TV’s on and sound taken care of well before the start of the afternoon.

The official 2014 AFL Grand Final Day Schedule will be at AFL.com.au

4. Know the social mix of the party.

Note who you have invited to the party. There are several types of AFL Grand Final Party, based on the type of attendee.

Football Fans V Non-Football Fans:

If you’re a hard-core AFL fan, chances are you’ll want to share the game with other fans who understand deliberate out of bounds, holding the ball, Razor Ray’s reputation and the context of ‘Delicious’ from the Seven commentary team. Make sure you arrange the football fans to get to know each other well before bounce down.

Encouarge one of the more tolerant footy fans to talk through the the ins and outs of the game before bounce down. The strategy is to avoid non-football fans from asking annoying questions during the tension of the TV coverage.

Family v Friends:

It’s always a good idea to have a mix of family and friends, but maybe only invite those friends that will get along with your mum and dad, or grandma. In this case, avoid inviting your overly emotion or loud mouthed friends.

Young Families:

If kids are in attendance, you’re going to need to think of ways to keep them occupied outside of the football, most young kids will need some other sort engagement outside the game. Set up a PlayStation of X-box in another room for the kids not inclined to watch sport. Or keep them in the back yard with mini sherrins from Kmart, cricket sets, tennis balls etc. Make sure your outdoor TV is protected from being knocked over.

Singles and Couples:

If you’re going to have a few couples at the party, make sure you also have a heap of singles to mix it up a bit. Couples are boring, too many couples and you’re party will be boring. Awkward tension between the singles is always an enjoyable part of any AFL Grand Final Party at home.

Other social aspects of your party to keep in mind. There will be fans of both teams, even for the day. Make sure you don’t alienate fans of either side, buy some balloons, streamers or other party paraphernalia in clashing team colours.

5. Preparing for the post-game.

Some AFL Grand Final parties are bound to kick on into the evening.

Don’t think it wont. Like a good pack mark on the MCG under intense defensive pressure, you need to anticipate this eventuality. The situation may arise when you and your guest become too intoxicated, this is also a strategy  to make sure nobody drinks and drives!.

Another reason your party may kick on hours later is if you have an urge to party on if your team wins. This is not to be frowned apon.

So, make sure you have bulk food left over from lunch. Have lots of back up snags and make sure you have put any leftover sausages and hot finger food in a hot oven.

In this situation, you’ll need to make sure there is plenty of light and mid-strength beer left, discourage the consumption of full strength beer, encourage guest to drink water and soft drink and make sure the hard liquor is under lock and key. You’ll thank us on Sunday morning.

Call cabs for people who can’t drive or encourage your friends to crash for the evening so everyone is safe.

Enjoy, and may the best team win.

Prepared with help from ‘The Flack’

(Post Photo Credit: BENDIGO ADVERTISER)