"I have the ultimate excuse not to watch the AFL Grand Final and I'm secretly glowing."

It’s that time of the year again.

When everyone tugs on their footy gear, buys their favourite slab of beer, fires up the barbie and prepares to verbally abuse the guys in lime green. Welcome to the AFL Grand Final Day.

It’s basically a religious holiday, with its own traditions and rituals and hymns and of course, gods. And if you’re in Victoria, well it now gets its own public holiday. Halle-bloody-lujah.

Every day this week — and possibly even month — I’ve engaged in chatter about this sacred event and fielded questions about what I’ve got planned to celebrate.

And I get that. Because for a lot of my friends, their entire year has been leading up to this very moment. Google knows this.

I have mates in Europe who have mapped out what pubs they'll be able to hole up in to watch the game in the middle of the night.

And look, I admit a part of me got whipped into the excitement that washed over Melbourne when the Bulldogs broke a 55-year drought (see, I know facts) to secure a spot in the Grand Final.

But that part of me was very small, and very short-lived, and was probably just tied to the fact I fucking love four-legged bulldogs.

So, yeah, I still just don't get it.

Ever since moving to Australia seven years ago, I have tried. And I still try.

I used to work at a publication that was essentially a footy shrine. I'm in a relationship with a man who lives and breathes the sport, and I know full well would leave me for Gary Ablett or Patrick Dangerfield if he had the chance.

I've been to many footy games and had glimmers of enjoyment.


I can fix a tight-lipped smile on my face when a game is switched on the telly.

So much love for our fans...❤️❤️❤️ Thankyou to all that turned out to open training today. #bemorebulldog

A video posted by Western Bulldogs (@westernbulldogs) on

I more or less know when to scowl and cheer. But these are very much learned behaviours, not innate. David Attenborough would spot me a mile away.

Still, living in Melbourne, I've come to accept there is no escaping the Grand Final.

Unless of course, you have The Ultimate Excuse.

And I'm pleased to say I'm this year an accidental, proud owner of this excellent justification.

You see, I'm working this Saturday. Aaaall day. Aaaall afternoon.

I won't even have the telly on Channel 7. The extent of my engagement will be through the inevitable tweets and posts in my social media feeds.

And by the time I knock off, lo and behold, the game will be over, and all I'll get to do is hang out with my friends, minus footy. Sadface. (Jks.)

So while I feign sadness as I respond to people's questions about my Grand Final Day plans, and allow them to feel shock and pity on my behalf knowing I have no way out, just know that beneath my downtrodden look, I am glad.

Glad that this year, I don't have to force myself to watch, with the concentration of a brain surgeon, a game I usually struggle to understand - - both strategically and emotionally.

Any of you trying to get out of viewing the Grand Final, I encourage you to give The Ultimate Excuse a red hot go. Or try to catch yourself some aggressive gastro. Or jump on a plane.

To the rest of you, I wish you all a very merry Grand Final Day. I'll see you on the other side.

This man lives for #AFLFinals

A photo posted by Sydney Swans (@sydneyswans) on