It might be the home of football but AFL grand final day will be a subdued affair in Melbourne if Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews gets his way.
The premier issued a stern warning that Melburnians can’t have others over to their house on Saturday to watch the all-Victorian decider between Richmond and Geelong at the Gabba.
“I know that many people would normally spend time with family and friends to celebrate that day, whether their team is in the grand final or not,” Mr Andrews told reporters on Sunday.
“But your household and only the members of your household, that is how grand final day has to be.
“You cannot have friends over into your home. You cannot pretend that it is over because we all desperately want it to be.”
Instead, Melburnians from up to two households can gather outdoors and potentially tune in to the clash via their phones.
Regional Victorians, meanwhile, will be able to enjoy far more normal festivities under their rules.
Mr Andrews said having “unsafe” home gatherings in Melbourne wasn’t worth the risk of undoing the community’s hard work to curtail COVID-19 case numbers.
Richmond fans memorably swarmed Punt Road after its drought-breaking premiership win in 2017, climbing on the roofs of businesses and drinking in the street.
But Mr Andrews indicated Victoria Police would announce increased enforcement measures this week to ensure there’s no repeat of the wild celebrations.
“I know people are very passionate about football,” he said.
“Both Richmond and Geelong supporters will be up and about this week, but it is not an ordinary grand final.”
He urged footy fans to follow the example set by Tigers and Cats players this season.
“They followed the rules. They have been in quarantine,” Mr Andrews said.
“They have had all sorts of different restrictions placed on them and we need to do the same.”
Victoria’s grand final eve public holiday will go ahead on Friday despite the traditional team parade also moving to Brisbane.
Meanwhile, Flemington Racecourse could potentially have limited numbers on course for the Melbourne Cup under eased rules from 11.59pm on November 1.
Mr Andrews said some connections would likely be allowed to attend the spring carnival’s signature event but flagged Racing Minister Martin Pakula would make further announcements.