Entertainment

Robbie Williams locked in to play at AFL Grand Final

“I am so excited to be performing for all the fans, on the hallowed turf of the MCG, for the biggest game of the year,” Williams said. “I can’t wait to see you all on that last Saturday in September.”The AFL grand final has not been played at its traditional home since 2019, as Covid-19 forced the game’s biggest day to be transferred interstate.Richmond beat Geelong to win the 2020 premiership at the Gabba, Brisbane, before Melbourne broke its 57-year premiership drought at Perth Stadium last year, thrashing the Western Bulldogs.Having Williams headline this year’s grand final is a huge coup for league bosses.AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan said: “We are back at the MCG, back in front of 100,000 fans, and no better performer than Robbie Williams to help amplify the atmosphere ahead of the biggest sporting event in the country.” The Let Me Entertain You showman has sold 80 million albums worldwide, with hits including Angels, Rock DJ, Feel, Kids and Better Man.UK superstar Robbie Williams got the crowd to chant “Warnie” at his Melbourne show.The British singer has a longstanding love affair with Australia.He shot his biopic Better Man in Melbourne in April, and performed two shows at Rod Laver Arena for concert footage to be used in the movie. Williams also slipped into Melbourne last month to play a corporate show for a group of bankers. “When I get to Australia I am allowed to be myself and I am applauded for it,” Williams told the Herald Sun ­recently. “I am not pandering to the locals when I say this, I have a love affair with your country and I love going down there.”Mushroom Group chief executive Matt Gudinski, who signed Williams for the grand final gig, said: “We’re absolutely thrilled to confirm international superstar Robbie Williams will play at the AFL grand final this year on its return to Melbourne and its home at the MCG.”Mr Gudinski said his company and the AFL was “working to produce one of the greatest grand final pre-game spectacles of all time”.The AFL is also working through plans to reboot the popular grand final parade, and footy festival events leading up to the premiership match.Williams will hand pick his band, to be composed of local musicians, for his MCG set. “I’m really looking forward to performing with a cast of very talented local Australian musicians,” he said.Kylie Rogers, the AFL’s customer and commercial boss, said Williams was “one of the world’s greatest showmen” and would be the “perfect way to open the AFL grand final”.Past international headliners to perform at the grand final have included Ed Sheeran, Bryan Adams, Lionel ­Richie, The Killers, Meat Loaf and Black Eyed Peas. Mr Gudinski said the halftime segment would turn the spotlight on local talent.

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