Each year in autumn and winter, Melbourne catches “footy fever”. The game of choice is Australian Rules Football, and the AFL (Australian Football League) is the highest level at which the city’s favourite sport is played.
The AFL Premiership Season begins in March and runs through until the end of September or – in recent years – early October. For 24 weeks, competing clubs fight it out to secure their spot in “the final eight”. From there, they have the chance to progress through the finals series and win a place in the AFL Grand Final, one of the biggest sporting events on Melbourne’s calendar.
On Grand Final day, around 100,000 fans squeeze into the iconic MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground) to see the match up close and experience the electric atmosphere. Millions more tune in from home as the city comes to a standstill, celebrating the event at backyard barbeques, glitzy functions and impromptu street parties.
The origins of the AFL Premiership Season date back to 1897, beginning with eight local teams based in Melbourne and surrounds. Today, AFL clubs come from all over the country, with most major states fielding at least one team.
The majority of matches are still played in Melbourne at either the MCG or the newer Etihad Stadium on the edge of the CBD. Games are mostly played on Friday nights, Saturdays and Sundays, although special matches are occasionally played on public holidays.
Only a stone’s throw away from both of Melbourne’s major AFL venues, Clarion Suites Gateway places you right at the centre of the action. Enjoy this unique and truly “Melbourne” sporting experience from the best seat in the house.