Rob Dominutti said it took him about a week to create his gladiator-style costume. (ABC News: Emily Hua)
A sea of yellow and black, with smaller splashes of orange, has flooded Melbourne beneath grey skies as thousands of AFL fans line city streets for the grand final parade.
The city’s hyped football community is showing and shouting its passion ahead of tomorrow’s clash between the Tigers and the Giants at the MCG.
Anticipation is reaching a crescendo, with Richmond dropping a selection bombshell yesterday when it named 27-year-old Marlion Pickett in the side — making him the first player in 67 years to make his AFL debut in a grand final.
Fans at the parade were wary of the grey and moody Melbourne sky above. (ABC News: Dylan Anderson)
The parade began outside the Old Treasury Building at the intersection of Collins Street and Spring Street about midday.
While the local team of Richmond had many supporters, Giants fans made their presence felt. (ABC News: Dylan Anderson)
Rob Dominutti, part of Richmond’s official cheer squad, said he had spent about a week preparing his costume.
He said he was confident the Tigers would come out on top.
“We’re lucky that we’ve got a revolving door, now the bad players are going out and the good ones are coming in,” he said.
Meanwhile, GWS fan Sebastian Dell’Orefice had gone for orange hair dye and face paint as he prepared for the march.
Sebastian Dell’Orefice drew inspiration from pop icon David Bowie for his costume. (ABC News: Emily Hua)
“The lightning bolt is a reference to when the Giants beat the Sydney Swans for the first time in 2014,” he said.
“The game was stopped because of the weather and lightning struck. Plus a shameless reference to David Bowie.”
‘People say we’re mad’
Even before the parade crowd began to gather, footy fever was ramping up at the MCG as about a dozen fans camped out to buy exclusive Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC) members’ tickets on Saturday morning.
Kathy Parsons was set up with her swag as she told the ABC her husband was coming along to bring her breakfast and sandwiches to keep her sustained during the long wait.
Kathy Parsons said she loved seeing the AFL community come together at the grand final. (ABC News: Emily Hua)
“It’s part of the fun. People say we’re mad but it’s just fun,” she said.
Ms Parsons said she probably attended her first grand final while her mum was still carrying her in the womb and appreciated the way the sport had become more inclusive over her lifetime.
“Before the 80s you had separate ladies’ and men’s tickets. You couldn’t sit on the same level,” she said.
“I’m glad people crawled in and broke those structures.”
Maddison Sims and Miles Stukenborg were both preparing to back Richmond in the grand final. (ABC News: Emily Hua)
Maddison Sims and her boyfriend Miles Stukenborg said they were “exhausted” by the wait but it would be worth it come the big game.
They were joined by Mr Stukenborg’s mother Danielle, who said she had a long family connection to Richmond, with her great-grandfather playing for the team in the 1890s.
News Breakfast tweets: “I’m not sure quite if you’ll be able to tell who Rob is cheering for in the #AFLGF tomorrow”
A moment of calm as a pink sunrise illuminates the statue of Olympic running champion Betty Cuthbert outside the MCG. (ABC News: Emily Hua)