Footy tradition back

Patience of a saint: John Robson, Jason Pendergast and Dianne Worrell line up outside Morwell Newspower for tickets to the AFL Grand Final. photograph liam durkin



THE dust was blown off the ticket-printing machine at Morwell Newspower last week.
Footy fans eager to get their hands on AFL Grand Final tickets lined up patiently outside, waiting for the golden tickets to go on sale.
A group of ticket hunters got their deck chairs out as early as last Wednesday, wanting to be first in line when tickets went on sale on Sunday.
The time-honoured tradition of camping outside for Grand Final tickets is still alive.
After being unable to do so in the last two years, fans once again stood out day and night to try their luck.
Even in this day and age of online ticketing, there are those who prefer the old-fashioned way, believing it is still safer and more reliable.
Those who camp out for tickets form a small community, and there are some who have been doing it for years.
Churchill’s John Robson was first in line.
The Carlton supporter has been part of ‘the queue’ for many years, and said he was looking forward to getting back to the MCG for the last Saturday in September.
“We’re all in it together,” he said of others who join him annually to line up for Grand Final tickets.
“We help each other out and have never had any arguments.”
Alongside Robson when the Latrobe Valley Express wandered past the queue was Traralgon’s
Jason Pendergast, a Brisbane Lions fan, and Dianne Worrell, who had travelled from Melbourne.
Morwell Newspower’s Christian Burgess said the store often gets enquires from Melbourne punters wondering how long the line is.
Worrell, a Collingwood life member, has been to all Magpie deciders in her lifetime.
She said her favourite was the drought-breaking 1990 triumph, while Burgess said the 2010 Grand Final between Collingwood and St Kilda that ended in a draw had been the hardest to get tickets to.
“Generally if two Melbourne-based teams get into the Grand Final it is pretty much organised and unorganised chaos!” he said.
When asked how quickly tickets would have gone in 2019 if Richmond and Collingwood made the Grand Final (Collingwood missed by four points), Burgess said “20 minutes at most”.
In years gone by, those walking down Commercial Rd during Grand Final week may have come across Peter Dell.
Dell went to every Grand Final from 1969 to 2020, even going through three weeks of quarantine in 2020 to make the Grand Final.
His run was broken last year when he couldn’t get into Western Australia.
He was understood to be shattered at the time.
Dell has since moved to Bendigo, but his friend Robson said he was eager to “keep the tradition going” in Morwell.
Those lining up find ways to pass the time, and Morwell Newspower generously provides electricity to help run a TV out in the street.
Unfortunately, for the first time in Robson’s experience, a number of chairs were stolen from the line.
A number of ‘gentleman’s agreements’ are employed by those lining up, and people are able to swap in and out of the line with friends and relatives in order to sleep or get something to eat.
Most people will sleep in their cars during Grand Final week.
There would have been some cold Morwell nights over the years