For the second year in a row heavy-hearted, football loving Victorians will be watching the biggest match on the calendar played at an interstate venue.
The mighty MCG sits empty once again as two largely success-starved Victorian clubs, Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs, battle for premiership glory in the west after Richmond defeated Geelong in Brisbane last year.
COVID-19 has cruelled the chances of long-suffering Demons supporters filling their team's homeground in pursuit of a first premiership since 1964 and Bulldogs fans want more after savouring a drought-breaking flag of their own in 2016.
Like Brisbane 12 months ago, Perth will do a great job hosting the big match, but the grand final belongs at the MCG and must return next year.
That can only happen when more of the Victorian population gets vaccinated and presently, in football parlance, the state is trailing in the second half after well documented hesitancy and supply issues in the rollout.
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The time for excuses to get the jab has ended for Victorians.
In a normal year, Melbourne would be in party mode heading into the grand final with the knowledge the spring racing carnival would immediately follow with the Boxing Day Test cricket and Australian Open tennis.
But until jab rates get to double dose rates of 80 per cent of the eligible population those events, and many others, we desperately want to return to will remain off-limits.
Melbourne is a magical city, but has endured one of the worst weeks in its history with protesters of all different stripes uniting in their opposition to being vaccinated.
But what other alternative is there in emerging from this funk we've been in since March last year?
There is none.
In the meantime, enjoy the grand final and importantly for residents of Albury-Wodonga, where COVID-19 has arrived after such a long run avoiding it, heed the advice of Albury mayor Kevin Mack and play it safe this weekend.
We don't want another lockdown.
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