Hawthorn coach Alistair Clarkson watches on intently.

Saturday 27 September 2014 — Cygnus vs Accipitrinae Melierax

Ornithologists, birders and all members of the avian nation will be flying high with enthusiasm tomorrow when graceful beauty locks talons with brawny predation in the skies above the Melbourne Cricket Ground in the muscly, inked cosmic ballet that is the Australian Football League (AFL) Grand Final.

After finishing the home and away season as minor premiers, the Sydney Swans Limited (nee South Melbourne Football Club and Swans Football Club) Swans/Bloods/Blood Stained Angels will be the nominal home team and slight favourites at the opening bounce against the Hawthorn Football Club Hawks.

The Swannies is looking for its sixth VFL/AFL Premiership Flag and the first since vanquishing Hawthorn by 10 points in the 2012 decider. Hawthorn is circling its 12th success and back-to-back titles for the club based in Launceston, Tasmania. Twelve premierships would see Hawthorn draw level with Melbourne as the equal fourth most successful club in history, though there is a case for the SANFL’s Port Adelaide to be the truly most successful Australian Rules football club in the world, what with its 36 titles.

Swans coach John Longmire takes a closer look at the MCG turf.

The match kicks off at 2:30pm local time. That’s the same time in Queensland, New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory and Tasmania; 2:00pm in South Australia, the Northern Territory and Broken Hill; and 12:30pm in Western Australia. The Australian National Anthem is being performed by English singer Olivia Newton-John, while pre-match entertainment is being provided by English performer Ed Sheeran and Welsh legend Tom Jones.

With such a British flavour it’s no surprise that the match is being broadcast live and in HD to Old Blighty on the BT Sport/ESPN TV collective. Australians are not so lucky, for broadcast partner Channel Seven has opted to only the show the match in standard definition, while showing — and you’ll like this — Bid America, Shannon’s Legends of Motorsport and Horsepower TV in glorious high definition on 7mate. The outstanding Fox Footy channel (Foxtel channel 504) has heretofore provided a paid, ad-free HD complementary broadcast offering to footy fans but, alas, Channel Seven is the exclusive live broadcaster of the Grand Final so the first HD replay won’t be shown until 7:30pm.

Retailers are encouraged to switch on their TVs in-store to the Grand Final to showcase this sporting event in all its magnificence. Nothing is a bigger turn-off for a consumer than walking into a store and seeing B-Roll vision on an otherwise beautiful, high-end panel. Unlike next weekend’s NRL Grand Final, which is played at a ridiculous time that suits nobody, the AFL Grand Final is played at a great time for retailers to showcase the latest and greatest OLED and Ultra HD panels.

This website has previously lamented Channels Seven, Nine and Ten not showing their premier sports assets in HD, explaining why this is a genuine disservice to suppliers and retailers. Here’s what we wrote regarding rugby league State of Origin:

Companies like Samsung, LG, Panasonic and Sony (yes, Sony too!) invest millions of dollars to make great panels and when you show world class sport on these screens in beautiful HD it looks absolutely spectacular. When you show the game in SD, it looks like a damp squib.

If you’re hosting your mates for dinner, a few drinks and the Origin on the big screen, everyone will be squinting as the screen juts and jumps and blurs and blubbers — sport looks especially poor in SD — and this certainly won’t encourage anyone to go out to a Harvey Norman or a JB Hi-Fi and part with their hard earned for a brand new model so they can host the next party.

Change ‘dinner’ to ‘lunch’ and ‘Origin’ to ‘Grand Final’ and we couldn’t agree with ourselves more there.

Patrick’s Tips:

Sydney Swans by 24 points
Norm Smith Medalist: Lance (Buddy) Franklin

This author is on Twitter: @Patrickavenell