Thousands gather for AFL grand final parade as players take to the water

The grand final parade has begun in Melbourne, with a leg of the festivities taking place by boat along the Yarra River for the first time.

Saturday’s clash between the Swans and the Cats at the MCG will be the first premiership match held in the city since the beginning of the COVID pandemic.

Players and coaches from both teams have travelled by boat along the Yarra, to disembark at Birrarung Marr.

They will then get on a fleet of utes and travel over the William Barak Bridge and make their way through parkland to Gate 3 of the MCG.

It’s estimated up to 250,000 people will take part in today’s events.

Among those in Melbourne this morning is the divided Chapman family.

Sydney Swans fan Matt is convinced his team will take out the win.

His seven-year-old son, Geelong Cats fan Rafa, is equally convinced his team will win.

A boy and a man wearing football memorabilia.
Sydney Swans fan Matt Chapman and his son, Geelong Cats fan Rafa.(ABC News: Stephanie Ferrier)

The family bought tickets to the grand final six weeks ago.

“To have both our teams in the game is pretty special,” Mr Chapman said.

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