Bollywood guide to the 2017 AFL Grand Final—from a Tiger insider

Bollywood guide to the 2017 AFL Grand Final—from a Tiger insider
Bollywood actress Sonam Kapoor at a Richmond game in 2015

Richmond’s marketing and fan development coordinator Rana Hussain is of Indian descent. She decided to take a fun “Bollywood” style look at the Grand Final.

If you’re not a footy nut, you could be forgiven for not caring all that much that the Richmond Football Club are playing in a Grand Final this Saturday. As a fairly new insider at the Richmond Football Club with an Indian heritage, I’ve come to realise that being a spectator of football is actually closer to a theatre experience than you may realise. More Bollywood actually. So for those of you not really in the know but keen to tap in this weekend, let me clue you in on everything you need to know about Saturday’s big game. I’ll tell you who the heroes and villains are and whether there will be dancing in the rain… This is your Bollywood guide to the 2017 AFL Grand Final—Richmond vs Adelaide.

The hunky hero: Dustin Martin. Dusty is the brooding, mysterious hero of this epic story. Adored by men and women alike, Dusty has dominated the playing field and the media landscape all year. His rise from hard done by country boy to (extremely rich) superstar has been well documented. He will as he has all year, dominate the game with intricate foot manoeuvres, and deadly accurate kicks. He rarely speaks, but boy you can imagine him standing atop a mountain cliff after singing (miming) an identity-defining ballad. He will (we hope) come up victorious with a Norm Smith (best on ground) to boot but not after being smacked around and held down for a while by the villain’s band of thugs. Think Salman Khan bad boy with silky smooth hand eye co-ordination and way more tattoos.

The heroine: The beautifully shiny, much desired heroine in this story is the Premiership Cup. Richmond and glory have for a while now been star crossed lovers. Two kids from different sides of town, rarely expected to meet. Until fate (and a lot of hard work) came along in 2017 and allowed for the two to cross paths. Adelaide as the tipped favourite is the villainous guy the Premiership Cup is arranged to be married to. No one expects the underdogs Richmond to storm in and steal the show (and the Cup). Hell finishing 13th last year means no one was expecting THIS. But if this wave of momentum, awards and accolades (Dusty’s Brownlow, Daniel’s goal of the year, Dimma’s Coach of the year, Alex Rance’s All Australian Captain…) is anything to go by, then clearly the Premiership Cup and Richmond are destined to be together, against all odds.

The Villains: It would be a little unfair to describe Adelaide as the stereotypical Bollywood villain. They too have not had a shot at the Premiership Cup since 1998. So instead of saying that Adelaide are the ugly guy the parents arranged for the beautiful heroine to marry, I’ll say they are the normal guy who would be great for someone else, just not quite right for the Premiership Cup. They don’t have the chemistry and frankly aren’t as good a story. Think Rani Mukherjee in Kabhi Khushee Kabhie Gham

The fight scene: Every Bollywood movie worth its salt has that moment where the hero and the villain and all their men meet to bare down once and for all—and what else is a Grand Final? With both sides excellent in defensive pressure, we’re in for a hard slog. Expect lots of tackling, lots of hard hits and plenty of ‘don’t argues’. Ultimately, though exhausted, bleeding and wounded, the Tigers with one last breath will seal the deal, with what I hope is a siren kick by our hero or Captain Cotchin to win the game. For the health and safety of all Tigers supporters though I hope it’s not THAT close. Think Ek Tha Tiger—mainly cause the name works…

The dancing in the rain scene a.k.a the money shot a.k.a the scene where the couple get together: Bollywood is notorious for having their talent dance in the rain. This will hopefully be the jubilant Tigers in a downpour of Yellow and Black confetti after the win.

The hero’s best friend: Trent Cotchin will play the loveable and at times silly best friend of the dreamy hero. This guy has a heart of gold and will do anything for the hero and heroine to make sure they live happily ever after. A true team guy, Cotchin will no doubt slog his heart out to win that cup and will then humbly step aside to let Dusty take the limelight once more. Bollywood Bromance at its finest.

The background dancers: Every Desi film has an army of background dancers. The Tiger Army makes these dancers pale in comparison. Loud and so proud the Tiger Army have been roaring throughout the finals and perhaps even influencing outcomes? Who can tell, but they sure make the main players look good. If you want to see them in action turn up to any Pub in Richmond over the next four days.

The strict parent: There’s always a strict parent around in a Bollywood movie. The AFL sure have that covered making the Tiger’s uphold inviolable rules and wear their away jumper instead of their coveted and well known black jumper with iconic yellow stripe. Nevertheless…the Tigers will play and the AFL will wish they had not cared so much.

The nice parent a.k.a Jaya Bhaduri: To balance out the negative Nancy that is the strict parent, every Bollywood movie usually has a nice parent that weathers the storm, stands up against the naysayers and is validated in the end. Cue Damien Hardwick. Despite years of solid performances as head coach, Damien Hardwick came under fire in 2016 after a lack lustre season and was almost on his way out. Credit to him and those who believed in him, he stood his ground, won coach of the year and has brought his team to a Grand Final. Now that’s validation.

Regardless of whether you know the game, or the players, the stage is set and Saturday’s Grand Final will be Melbourne’s finest show in town. I recommend you get on board the Tigers’ train and watch this saga play out. It’s bound to be epic.

Rana Hussain, Marketing & Fan Engagement Coordinator—Richmond Football Club. Website:


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