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It’s gonna be a very different AFL Grand Final Day than the one everyone in Melbourne is used to, and that’s fine. It’s in late October, for starters. The game’s being played in Brisbane. Two Victorian teams are in it for the first time since 2011, which is definitely a bit different. But most of all, gatherings at pubs and houses are off the cards thanks to the on-going global pandemic.

Though restrictions in Melbourne are being gradually eased, the long-awaited re-opening of pubs isn’t going to arrive in time for the big game this Saturday. Nor will indoor gatherings be permitted.

So what does that mean for AFL Grand Final Day gatherings? Basically, you’re gonna have to get creative.

The current restrictions state that up to 10 people from two households only can gather outside for social reasons. That’s virtually the only option for people to gather in the Metro Melbourne area at the moment, as the city grapples with the absolute last stages of the horrific second coronavirus wave.

So while the pessimist in you might think that that means Grand Final gatherings are totally off the cards, the optimist says crisis and opportunity are two sides of the same coin.

Those rules means there’s nothing stopping your sharehouse and the inhabitants of one other shraehouse gathering in a park to put all your tinnies in a big pile and mow through them while watching the game.

But how the hell do you watch a football game in a public park where there are no big screens? Glad you asked!

BRING YOUR TV TO THE PARK

You might think that a mere laptop and a hotspot will get the job done as far as watching the game in an usual outdoor space goes. You’d be wrong. 7Plus is only making the live stream of the Grand Final available to select devices such as Apple TV, Android TV, or PlayStation. Web browsers aren’t among that lot, and unless all ten of you are willing to crowd around someone’s phone while they stream it via AFL Live Pass, you’re gonna have to think outside the box.

So that leaves you with the rather unique option of simply taking your TV and associated device to the park.

All TV’s are portable, if you think about it. In terms of schlepping it’s not that much different to, say, lugging a portable grill or a full esky along with you.

But of course a TV sitting in a patch of grass isn’t gonna turn on and go by itself. You’ll need a few things.

PORTABLE TV AERIAL

Unless you’re willing to put in the ground work by climbing a tree during a day prior to install a proper park aerial, you’ll need a portable number to get the job done.

Given you’ll be in the outdoors there shouldn’t be too many issues using an indoor portable fella to grab a signal from somewhere; the walls of a house are usually the biggest hinderance to finding a good signal, so just because it says “indoors” doesn’t mean it’s strict. Although power amplified versions also exist if you’re an Always Take More Club kinda person. These aren’t waterproof, but. So consider that if the weather gets janky.

Crest Indoor Digital TV Antenna, $29.95

Crest Indoor Digital TV Antenna Power Boosted, $49.95

Crest Indoor Digital TV Antenna Concealable White, $69.95

‘Course a TV and and a PS4 or whatever aren’t gonna run on good vibes alone. But there’s creative solutions to those power problems.

REALLY LONG EXTENSION CORDS

Statistically speaking, most of you know someone who lives near a park or useable nature strip. You might even be lucky enough to be that house. And failing that, now’s as good a time as any to start making friends by knocking on a park-adjacent door, striking up a conversation, and seeing if they’d be willing to lend up a front room power outlet for a few hours on Saturday night.

A couple of industrial-length heavy duty extension cords daisy-chained together should be enough to get you some juice on the grass. Just keep the plug bits off of any roads and you’ll be right as rain. Will this potentially give you 100-odd metres of otherwise useless power cable? Yes, but that’s Sunday’s problem. Is this advisable on a safety level? Great question, couldn’t tell you. Reading this sentence constitutes legal indemnity on our behalf.

Ultracharge Neon 20m Heavy Duty Extension Lead, $29.99

Ultracharge 25m Heavy Duty Extension Lead Cable Reel With 4-Way Power Board, $46.95

PETROL GENERATORS

The door-knocking project didn’t pay off? Not to worry. A portable petrol generator will get the job done without having to worry about a passing bus knocking out your juice supply in red time. They’re a little more on the expensive side, but consider this: It’s the most unique AFL Grand Final of all time. Seems silly to not go all out for it. Pool some cash together between the ten of you (again, ten of you from two households only) and splurge. Are they a bit loud? Yes. Will that annoy the piss out of any other groups gathering in a responsible and socially distanced manner in the park? Also yes. Does that just mean you’ll have to turn the Grand Final up to drown all the engine rumbling and people complaining out? Also also yes.

Fuji-Micro Inverter Generator, $429.00 plus shipping

GenForce Inverter Generator, $509.00 plus shipping

PORTABLE PROJECTORS

Now there’s some of you out there who may not be too keen on the idea of lugging an entire TV to the park, in addition to 100-odd metres of extension cable or a full-on petrol generator. And, look, that’s fine. Really, it’s ok. You have options.

If you’re going to be responsibly gathering in an outdoor space where there’s a conveniently flat wall nearby, consider the option of a portable projector instead. It’s space efficient, the image you’ll wind up with will be bigger, and you’ll still be able to hook your Apple TV up to one without any dramas at all. Some of them even come with the Android TV platform built in nowadays. What a time to be alive.

Devanti Mini Video Projector 2800, $205.95 plus shipping

ViewSonic M1 Portable DLP Projector, $449.00 plus shipping

Anker Nebula Capsule Portable Projector, $649.00

BIG ASS SHEETS

‘Course if a big wall isn’t nearby then you’ll need to rig up a screen for yourself. You could rely on a professional grade portable screen for this. But consider the simpler alternative: A big-ass white flat sheet.

String it up between trees, hang it from an adjacent house’s balcony, bully two mates into holding it up. Whatever gets it done for you, really.

5-Star Hotel Flat Sheet, $19.00

Tencel 380TC White Flat Sheet, $49.95

The good news is that everything featured here is available for either Click & Collect or expedited shipping in Melbourne, so you’ll be able to get hold of it all before the end of the week if you move fast.

The bad news, naturally, is that none of these setups are what you’d call “ideal.”

But with a bit of creativity and a lot of positivity, there’s hope yet for a socially distanced and responsible AFL Grand Final Day, sitting outside in a park somewhere, with a mate or two from one other household.

And to be honest? That’s probably better than nothing.


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