Main content

Anthem blunder: What you might have missed from the Grand Final

Norm Smith: Cyril's stunning showreel An incredible display by the Hawks' superstar
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 3: Jordan Lewis of the Hawks receives his premiership medal with his baby boy after winning the 2015 Toyota AFL Grand Final match between the Hawthorn Hawks and the West Coast Eagles at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne, Australia on October 3, 2015. (Photo by Sean Garnsworthy/AFL Media)
Jordan Lewis with six-day-old son Freddie

• Ten things we learned from the Grand Final
• Match report: Hawks secure historic three-peat
• The Kennedy assassination: How 'Chip' stopped JK

King Cyril
Has there been a more popular Norm Smith medallist? Hawthorn supporters have always been spoiled by the opportunity to be awed by the antics of Cyril Rioli, and on Saturday they got the chance to chant his name in unison as he marched towards a commanding two goal, 18-possession best afield performance. The "Cyril" chant that echoed around the ground in the last quarter after he landed his 12th mark was only superseded by the noise generated when football great Andrew McLeod announced him as the game's best. The best part about Rioli's game was that it was so genuinely enjoyed by the Hawks' fans in the 98,633-strong crowd – and no doubt at least appreciated by the Eagles' supporters on a day otherwise bereft of highlights.

• Norm Smith Medal: Rioli inspires Hawks to new heights

Australian anthem faux pas
It rates nowhere near pre-match entertainment debacles of the past but songstress Kate Ceberano will want to forget her rendition of the Australian National Anthem. Tasked with singing the popularly known first verse, the seventh line – "In history's page, let every stage" – got away from Ceberano and became "In history's stage, let every state" instead. It was an otherwise excellent performance of the anthem, which in previous years has fallen down at times with many artists intent on adding unnecessary touches of personal flare and decoration.

Apart from a small lyrical hitch, Kate Ceberano did a great job with the National Anthem. Picture: AFL Media

Breakaway Gibson
Immediately after Ceberano reached crescendo and the crowd exploded into rapturous applause, Hawks defender Josh Gibson broke out of his team's arm-locked line up and sprinted away from the group and into the forward 50 at the city end for a quick warm up. As he belted away and darted left and right, the rest of the players from both teams dutifully shook hands with the umpires as they walked down both lines. The slight didn't seem to hurt Gibson on a karma level too much though, as he spent the rest of the afternoon wandering around in the Hawks' defensive 50 gathering possessions at will as his fellow backs successfully locked down the Eagles' goalkickers.

• Analysis: How the Hawks unravelled the Eagles' web

One of the more popular pre-game betting categories, and a big conversation point at Grand Final barbeques around the country, is who kicks the game's first goal. With Friday's odds not listing West Coast's Luke Shuey in the top nine options, it's fair to say anyone who got on the midfielder before the game would have made a pretty packet. Shuey nailed the first goal after he won a free kick just inside the Eagles' forward 50 when he was caught high by Jordan Lewis, and calmly slotted the angled set shot from 45m out. CrownBet paid $26 for his efforts, which would have set up a terrific Grand Final afternoon for anyone lucky enough to back him.

• Devastated Priddis: Eagles will 'stay united'

Keeping cool
On an unseasonably warm October day, the temperature soared to 29 degrees in the first quarter and hit a high of 31.3 during the second term, which saw it etched in the record books as the hottest Grand Final on record. Both clubs did what they could to seek respite from the unexpected heat, with giant fans blasting cool air onto the interchange bench and players being handed wet towels as they came off for a rest. Fitness staff moved the groups into the shade for the duration of the on-field breaks, while the Gatorade cart – more often deployed during summer cricket matches – also made an appearance. None of it mattered much for Isaac Smith, however, with the Hawks winger running off in the first quarter and vomiting on the boundary before wrapping a cold towel around his neck. With the opening two terms stretching longer than 30 minutes each, the heat was certainly a test of the players' endurance when combined with the usual speed of Grand Final football.

Burn the vest
AFL players rejoice – the dreaded green and red vests have been permanently shelved. For trivia buffs around the country, Matt Suckling and Matt Rosa will go down in history as the last players to start a game wearing the dreaded "Kermit suit", with David Hale and Callum Sinclair the duo to don the final red ones. Both subs were deployed in the third quarter when the game was won, but Suckling got to celebrate their imminent victory with an immediate left-foot snap goal he's sure to remember more than the fact he spent the first two and a bit quarters in fluorescent green.

• Every Hawks premiership player rated

A new smother of the century?
Heath Shaw's title for his smother of Nick Riewoldt's certain goal in Collingwood's premiership win in the 2010 Grand Final replay is now up for grabs. In the last quarter, West Coast forward Josh Hill found the ball deep in the Eagles' attack and was nonchalantly about to kick a rare goal for his team from point-blank range when Brian Lake came out of nowhere. The veteran Hawks backman launched himself sideways to get his fingertips to his former Western Bulldogs teammate's kick and successfully thwart the certain goal, drawing jeers from the crowd given the Eagles' persistent scoring woes.

The youngest person ever to grace a premiership podium
You can put down the record books and stop searching – Freddie Ross Lewis is officially the youngest to have been involved in receiving a premiership medallion. The sleeping six day-old son of four-time premiership Hawk Jordan Lewis rushed into the world in time to enjoy Grand Final week with his first-time parents, and was an extremely cute accessory as Dad was adorned with his latest piece of silverware in the middle of the MCG. While Freddie won't remember any of the post-match celebrations, he'll certainly have some cracking photos of the occasion to show his future schoolmates in years to come. 

• Clarko hails triumph after year of human tragedy

Grand Final week glory
There was doubt, there was concern and there were many, many talkback callers, but the people of Melbourne voted with their feet – the revamped Grand Final week, coupled with the controversial State Government-led Friday public holiday, were roaring successes. No doubt helped along by the summery spring weather, football fans turned out in force from Wednesday to Saturday at the AFL Live Site, which moved from Federation Square to the MCG's car park, and the traditional Friday parade that snaked along a new route from the Spring Street Treasury building to Yarra Park and was attended by an estimated 150 thousand. It was a bold move to dramatically change the site of the week's festival and direction of the parade, but was one that clearly paid off, with plenty of fans sticking around to enjoy the post-match Virgin Australia Premiership Party concert, headed by Bryan Adams and Ellie Goulding.

• From the outer: How you saw history's hottest GF

That's the way it's gonna be
After the cameras were switched off and most of the media had retreated back to the press box, the Hawthorn players gathered behind closed doors to reflect on their success together for the first time. As fans and family members trickled out of the MCG's change rooms, which were littered with streamers, empty bottles and discarded strapping tape, the audible sound of iconic Australian song The Horses was piped out from the meeting room. The Hawks sung along with gusto to the Daryl Braithwaite classic, which has become the team's unofficial anthem to mark significant victories.