Excitement builds in week three, and the preliminary finals are upon us. In this structure, the winning team of the first qualifying final plays home against the winner of the second semi-final, while the winner of the second qualifying final plays home against the winner of the first semi-final.
Prizes, Trophies, and the Flag
The finals are close enough to taste, and it’s certainly worth discussing what’s at stake. It wouldn’t be a championship sporting event without a great big trophy. The champion club is awarded the AFL Premiership Cup, traditionally, the cup is silver and made by the same metalworks company each yeah, Cash’s International in Victoria. Introduced during the time of the VFL in 1959, the design has barely changed in over sixty years. The Edwin Lionel Wilson Shield, named after the original secretary of the VFL in 1897 and held at AFL House, also has the premiership winner engraved on it each year.
Another award to the premiers is the “premiership flag”, a large (currently blue) flag which features the year and the name of the premiers. Traditionally, it’s displayed at the premier’s first game at home in the next season. Even though the Premiership Cup is more celebrated, and often sensationalised to a greater extent, the flag tends to hold a higher weight symbolically for the participants.
The premiers are also awarded prize money, currently in the amount of one million Australian dollars. However, this is not deemed to be a significant amount, considering the huge costs involved in participating in the AFL. It is expected that the club winning the premiership sees a substantial increase in overall revenue due to the sale of merchandise and membership signings.
The Grand Final is a spectacle not to be missed, held in the Melbourne Cricket Ground each year, and with an estimated in-person audience of 100,000 each year. The top two teams battle it out for the title with great determination.