AFL grand final parade: Yarra’s grand final farce, all Gill(igan)’s idea, writes Peter Ryan Loading 3rd party ad content Loading 3rd party ad content Loading 3rd party ad content Loading 3rd party ad content

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Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale, a tale of a fateful idea. That started on the Yarra River, a grand final parade with 50 players on a barge. The coaches sat in tiny ships, and the skippers brave and sure. Nearby were millionaires, a couple at least in their shiny seats, hoping not to run ashore with mascots aboard. They headed off on a half-hour tour, yep, a half-hour tour.

All Gill(igan)’s idea. All Gill(igan)’s idea.

Perhaps the fact the above, sung to the tune of the Gilligan’s Island theme, neatly fits the schemozzle that occurred in Melbourne on Friday says enough about how the grand final parade up the famous Yarra River went.

Waiting time: Geelong’s Joel Selwood and Chris Scott.

Waiting time: Geelong’s Joel Selwood and Chris Scott.Credit:Phil Hillyard

To be blunt, the idea sank like a stone and should be an automatic entry into the grand final entertainment’s Hall of Shame alongside the Batmobile that appeared at Waverley in 1991 and Meatloaf’s performance before the 2011 grand final.

There had been trepidation with Gill (igan)’s idea before the players left on the barge with Geelong’s Zach Tuohy - who is from Ireland - using his trademark humour to describe what he thought about jumping on a boat the day before the biggest game of his career.

Luke Parker and John Longmire cruised up the Yarra River ahead of the grand final

Luke Parker and John Longmire cruised up the Yarra River ahead of the grand final

“I am not much of a pirate, I am basically made of lead so if I go overboard I am in strife,” Tuohy said. “Water is not for me. I’m generally much more at home on the golf course.”

His coach Chris Scott is more at home on fairways too, which is why when he was floating on a speedboat with Joel Selwood and the Cats’ mascot for 20 minutes before taking off he must have been wishing he had trod the same path he did in 2001 when, as a Brisbane Lions’ player, he played golf instead of attending the grand final parade.

The look on the face of Selwood and Parker’s teammates when they saw from their own barge their fearless leaders heading off in speedboats was priceless with Geelong’s Isaac Smith almost falling into the water he was laughing so hard.

It was hysterical but ridiculous too, the participants part of a footy flotilla that won’t be forgotten for some time.

The nervousness about the event such that sources said the Cats’ players had been asked to fill out waivers on the bus before hitting the water in case the grand final parade turned into The Poseidon Adventure.

Off the barges and boats went up the Yarra from Swan Street towards the city where crowds were lining the banks waiting for a calamity (sorry, to see their heroes) up close (if they had binoculars).

Alas, those people standing five deep on the Princes Bridge that connects the CBD to St Kilda Road were left high and dry when the barges turned around early and their chance to see the floating Swans and Cats was denied.

Geelong’s players sat on a barge and headed up the river

Geelong’s players sat on a barge and headed up the riverCredit:The Age

They might have been angry but you could only laugh as Melbourne tried to make their waterway the centre of attention on a weekend other than Moomba.

The failure was particularly stark when you consider the Swans live in a city shaped around one of the world’s best harbours.

To be fair, ‘Horse’ Longmire would later say he enjoyed the experience as the players and the coach went from water to the more traditional position in the back of utes that wound their way past crowds of Cats and Swans’ fans into the MCG precinct to the back of the stage.

Rightfully, Longmire said it was great to see so many people back in Melbourne ahead of a grand final at the MCG.

It might have been hilarious but not an idea to repeat as participants and fans were left bemused.

Save the Yarra for Moomba, not those playing in a grand final the next day.

We’re lucky the heroes were not lost, the heroes were not lost all due to Gill(igan)’s idea.

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