THE FIRST Toyota AFL Grand Final held outside of Melbourne - and the first one at night - was one we'll never forget. 

It was wet. It was bright. It was loud. It had drama. And it even had a couple of oval invaders. 

TIGERS v CATS Full match coverage and stats

Above all, it was a ripping contest between Geelong and Richmond that showed us the value of tradition, but also that a stretch of our imagination isn't a bad thing. 

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Highlights: Richmond v Geelong

The Tigers and Cats clash in the 2020 grand final

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Ultimately the Tigers reigned supreme, overcoming a big first-half deficit to launch themselves into the conversation of best teams this century.

Fittingly, in a year like no other, the entire event was also nothing like we'd seen before. 

From the moment Brisbane woke up to a deluge of rain, to the neon-light entertainment extravaganza to two players needing to be stretchered off after horrifying collisions, it was theatre befitting the final match of the most extraordinary season.

The Gabba isn't the MCG and Brisbane isn't Melbourne, but the makeshift Grand Final venue and host city brought an intimate, festive and vibrant atmosphere with its own charm.

Of course, there was the (bad) weather. Have we mentioned that already? 

After more resembling the Simpson Desert since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic than the "beautiful one day, perfect the next" slogan, Brisbane copped a battering from rain on game day. 

You could, cheekily, say it was a tip of the hat to Melbourne, a way of bringing the south to the north. 

Heavy rain hits the Gabba ahead of the 2020 Toyota AFL Grand Final. Picture: Getty Images

Thankfully, for one of the rare times this year, we copped a break and the skies parted before the first bounce. 

It allowed not only a high standard of football, but the pre-game and half-time entertainment, so dependent on a spectacular lighting show, to take full effect. 

The walk to the ground was a different one, though. 

Geelong fans show their pride outside the Gabba ahead of the Grand Final. Picture: AFL Photos

Although not like the traditional strolls along the Yarra River from Flinders Street or down Brunton Avenue from Richmond station, among supporters from the competing teams that so many are used to, it had its own allure. 

With rain drizzling two hours before the game start, a man played the bagpipes for passers-by on Main Street, while the hospitality tent at the German Club on Vulture Street that sits opposite the Gabba was pumping as spectators streamed into the ground. 

Soaked Richmond fans get fired up before the Toyota AFL Grand Final at the Gabba. Picture: Getty Images/AFL Photos

Many wore ponchos, but any wearing a Richmond or Geelong guernsey, of which there were many, were too full of pride to cover their colours. 

Just a month ago, games at the Gabba not involving Brisbane were quiet affairs. With a facelift of the stadium still ongoing, you almost needed a hard-hat to navigate between spectator sections. 

But for the ground that has been packed for everything from Ashes cricket Tests to Lions' AFL finals to Adele concerts, the Gabba was remarkably well fitted-out for its moment in the sun - or moon, if you like.  

After a quiet start to the pre-game entertainment from Cub Sport and DMA'S, Wolfmother lead singer Andrew Stockdale whipped the crowd of 29,767 into a frenzy with the pulsing Joker and the Thief.

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Enjoy the stirring pre-game package for the AFL Grand Final

Check out the best bits from the Toyota AFL Grand Final's pre-game entertainment

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Once the Tigers and Cats hit the field, Tim McCallum kept the tingles coming with a booming rendition of the national anthem. 

He can be proud of his performance and it should lead to many more. 

It could not have been in greater contrast to the first quarter though, where the crowd was quickly silenced following a shoulder injury to retiring great Gary Ablett and a head knock to Nick Vlastuin. 

Grandstands that minutes earlier were a hive of buzz and excitement turned to stunned silence. 

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Footy world in shock as Ablett and Tiger helped off

An extraordinary and devastating start to the Toyota AFL Grand Final with both Gary Ablett and Nick Vlastuin forced to leave the field early following two heavy collisions

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Then there were the two ground invaders. The less said the better. The remarkable return of Ablett to the field certainly got more cheers, and deservedly so.  

Whether whiz-bang, neon-lit entertainment is your go or not, it couldn't be denied that the half-time performance from local band Sheppard was visually spectacular.

Although the scores got close at three-quarter time, the crowd never had a chance to reach a true crescendo, as the Tigers left the Cats flailing in their wake in the fourth quarter. 

It was the first - and likely the last for a very, very long time - occasion the Gabba will host a Grand Final, but it did so with dignity and a touch of class. 

Although all footy fans will love nothing more than to see the decider back at its rightful home, the MCG, next year, if you put any preconceived ideas aside of what a Grand Final 'should' look like, this was a huge success.  

George and Emma Sheppard perform with their band at half-time of the Toyota AFL Grand Final. Picture: Getty Images/AFL Photos