Sat. Dec 3rd, 2022

A tribute to cricket legend Shane Warne, bagpipes and sparkly disco balls have featured in a jam-packed pre-match musical performance by UK singer Robbie Williams.

Williams was joined by Delta Goodrem in front of tens of thousands of fans readying for the 2022 AFL grand final between Geelong and Sydney.

Williams was locked in as the headline performer back in July, saying at the time he was “so excited” to be performing at the MCG. 

He and the AFL had teased a star-studded line-up for the rest of the final’s entertainment, which in the weeks leading up to the game led to rumours he might be joined by Kylie Minogue.

It was confirmed on Thursday he would be joined on stage by another homegrown pop star in Goodrem.

A wide shot of Robbie Williams performing on a stage in the middle of the MCG, with pyrotechnics behind him.
Pyrotechnics and a moving stage were highlights of the show.(AAP: Joel Carrett)

After a Welcome to Country by Uncle Colin Hunter Jr, the day’s first musical act was, of course, Mike Brady performing Up There Cazaly.

It wouldn’t be a grand final at the ‘G without him.

Dressed in hot pink, Williams started his set atop a gold podium which descended down to ground level.

As he performed hit Let Me Entertain You, surrounded by gold-clad dancers, he made his way to the stage in the middle of the ‘G.

Robbie Williams is ferried across a football ground during a live performance.
Williams was ferried across the ground by a moving bit of stage.(AAP: Joel Carrett)

Despite a few minor technical hiccups – some backup singers’ microphones were off for a call-and-response introduction to Rock DJ — Williams and his spandex-covered dancers commanded the crowd.

Robbie Williams dances on a stage with shiny silver costumed performers.
A carefully choreographed combination of stagework and song saw a grand final act many have described as one of the best of all time.(Channel Seven)

Ahead of new album track Lost (XXV), Williams told the crowd they would get through the “obligatory new song” together.

After a rousing rendition of Feel, he dedicated next song Angels to cricketer Shane Warne, who died unexpectedly this year.

“Love you Warney,” Williams said of his friend, who he called “one of Australia’s greatest rockstars”.

It was the second time this year a rendition of the song rung out across the ‘G, with Williams dedicating a video performance of the song to Warne during his state funeral.

In another nod to Australiana, he then covered John Farnham’s You’re the Voice, which he called the unofficial national anthem of Australia.

A bagpipe band joined the chorus as archive images of Farnsy flooded the screen.

Robbie Williams and Delta Goodrem perform during the 2022 AFL grand final pre-match show.
Delta Goodrem joined Robbie Williams to sing the duet Kids, which Williams and Kylie Minogue released in 2000.(Getty Images: Quinn Rooney)

He welcomed Delta Goodrem on stage for a rendition of the 2000 hit Kids — a duet he originally performed with Minogue.

In a shiny hot pink jumpsuit even more eye-catching than Williams’s own getup, Goodrem held her own during the song that finally quashed the Kylie rumours.

From there, all eyes were on the real event, with tension building as the umpires entered, the ball was delivered and the teams made their way onto the hallowed turf.

The national anthem was performed by ARIA-winner Katie Noonan after Premiership Cup Ambassador Bachar Houli delivered the 2022 Premiership Cup.

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Footy ‘obsessed’ G Flip says playing at AFL Grand Final a dream come true

The half-time entertainment boasts big names like G Flip, The Temper Trap featuring Budjerah and Ngaiire, Goanna with Shane Howard, Christine Anu, Emma Donovan, Tasman Keith and William Barton and The Australian Girls Choir.

The energy was high at the MCG for the first grand final in Melbourne in three years.

The biggest game of the year has been marred by a review by the Hawthorn Football Club which unearthed accusations that key figures at the club intimidated and separated young First Nations players from their families.

The AFL has committed to an external investigation into the allegations.

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