Experts from RMIT are available to talk to media about a variety of topics ahead of Saturday’s AFL Grand Final between Collingwood and West Coast.
Topics range from which team might be better mentally prepared, to game-day entertainment and the longstanding anti-Collingwood mentality.
Dr Merv Jackson
Topics: effective behavioural coaching, stress/anxiety management in sport, sport motivation, sport personality, optimising performance in sport, crowd/spectator behaviour, game momentum, team cohesion, the role of coach once the game begins and the role of psychology in fit, skilful athletes
"Collingwood has the bigger mental challenge. The Pies' players have less finals experience - only three players from the 2010 premiership team remain - and their loss to West Coast three weeks ago in the first week of the finals will remain fresh in their minds.
"The key for Pies coach Nathan Buckley and his team is to identify the pressures for individual players during the week and on game day and put plans in place to handle them. Known as the inoculation effect, when someone knows what's going on and how it could disrupt them they're better able to handle it.
"West Coast will be boosted by their recent wins over Collingwood (second qualifying final and round 17) and the fact many of their players have played on the last Saturday in September before, even though Hawthorn ultimately grabbed the Grand Final glory in 2015.
"This edge will lose its significance as the game goes on."
Dr Merv Jackson is a senior lecturer in RMIT's School of Health and Biomedical Sciences. He is also a registered sports psychologist with more than 40 years' experience.
*Merv does not have a mobile number but is responsive on email*
Dr Michelle Noon
0433 810 910 or email@example.com
Topics: Home ground advantage
“If it’s a close game, Collingwood may have the home ground advantage and not just because the Grand Final’s being played at the MCG. The black and white army could have a big impact on Collingwood's potential to win a record-equalling 16th premiership.
“We used to think home ground advantage related to the home team being in their routine or not having to travel.
“But recent research from the US has found that the home game advantage only applies in close games.
“Researchers found that umpires had to make close calls and would be influenced by the response from the crowd.
“The researchers argued this wasn’t intentional, but was a response to our innate human desire to belong to a group of people.
"If 60,000 people are screaming at you, 'It was in!' it's human nature to go with the group. The challenge is that the group, in this case, have a bias: they want their team to win!
“The take away for footy fans generally is to show up to games and be a loud as possible. That’s never more important than on Grand Final day.”
Dr Michelle Noon is a psychologist and criminologist who started her career with Victoria Police and in Senior Advisory with KPMG. She lectures in forensic interviewing at RMIT and researches the community’s fear of crime, and how this fear can be reduced to improve community well-being.
*If no answer, Michelle may be in a client appointment. Please send a text message and she will reply when available.*
Associate Professor Con Stavros
0411 231 371 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Topics: sponsorship, fan behaviour, game day experience, consumptive practices, branding and promotion
"This Saturday will mark the 7th successive AFL Grand Final that an interstate team has faced off against a Victorian team. While this resonates well with the AFL's focus of a truly national and competitively balanced sport, the last five interstate teams have been on the losing end of the game. This puts extra pressure on the West Coast Eagles, who were themselves trounced by Hawthorn in 2015.
"The AFL Grand Final is one of the largest events on the Australian sporting calendar and provides a capstone to a season that the AFL has expertly crafted to provide an ongoing narrative of inherent drama, intrigue, competition and fan interaction that is well in line with the modern business practice of embracing sport as an ongoing and encompassing entertainment product rather than just a series of events.
"Collingwood's presence in the big game provides extra spice given their status as one of the premier teams in the pantheon of Australian sport. Despite calls from some within the club, non-Collingwood fans from Victoria may feel conflicted about supporting the Pies, given the traditional rivalry they have with many teams. Fans will need to balance that with the state rivalry that has been well-developed by the Eagles since they joined the AFL in 1987.
"For fans, watching at the iconic MCG or through the medium of television or digital platforms, this may be the last AFL Grand Final to be played in its traditional Saturday afternoon time-slot. It appears inevitable that we move toward a twilight or evening Grand Final in the very near future as the AFL seeks to broaden the audience and impact of the event.”
Associate Professor Con Stavros is an internationally-renowned sport marketing expert at RMIT University who can analyse both the marketing of sport and the business of marketing through sport. Associate Professor Stavros has a very strong understanding of the AFL and its clubs, has published extensively on the business of sport from consumer, sporting organisation and sponsor perspectives and is also the editor-in-chief of the international journal Sport, Business and Management.
Pre and post-game entertainment
Dr Gene Shill
0411 215 476 or email@example.com
Topics: AFL Grand Final pre-game entertainment, AFL branding, brand extension, global brand positioning and Jimmy Barnes v Meatloaf
“The AFL is officially out of touch with grand final performers.
“Australian rocker Jimmy Barnes will perform in the pre-game show as well as being the sole performer after the match. Barnes has been a fantastic performer for so long at big events, but it is 2018 – and that is something the AFL need to get its head around.
“So the Black Eyed Peas are playing the AFL Grand Final. The last time they chose an artist named after a food - Meatloaf - it didn't work out too well.
“Despite the AFL's status as a financial and commercial behemoth in Australian sports and entertainment, AFL research shows that winning the hearts and minds of young people is as tough as ever. If the organisation and the game doesn't evolve it will be left behind, no matter how big it is right now.
“The non-traditional AFL fan demographic is the target here.”
Dr Gene Shill is a Music Industry lecturer at the School of Media and Communication at RMIT University. He is an entertainment specialist and record producer researching contemporary record production and music entrepreneurship. As a musician, he has toured internationally sharing the stage with the likes of Simply Red, The Blues Brothers, Dionne Warwick and Cirque Du Soleil and has released music on Ministry of Sound (AUS), Defected (UK), Vicious Vinyl (AUS), Hed Kandi (USA).
Dr Sebastian Diaz-Gasca
0431 133 800 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Topics: AFL Grand Final Pre-Game Entertainment, Black Eyed Peas, Jimmy Barnes, music and entertainment
"AFL Grand Final performances have been a hit and miss in the past, and with the Black Eyed Peas and Jimmy Barnes combo, the organisers are hoping to replicate the success of last year's performance by The Killers.
“The Black Eyed Peas have been around for a while and are known for crowd-pleasing, party anthems, while Jimmy Barnes brings back the more traditional side of Grand Final performances.
“Both acts can see this performance as a commercial boon.
“The Black Eyed Peas have released three singles this year after the departure of Fergie from the group, so they will be promoting what few people remember to be the original line-up. We'll see how fans react to their greatest hits minus Fergie or if the band will promote their new material, which is much more mellow and political than the bangers from previous albums.
“Having Jimmy in the line-up adds the Australian classics element to the Grand Final. He'll probably perform well-known classics that the crowd can sing along to and it also helps him to promote his book and new film.
“The AFL has been changing the format of the pre-game show, taking it to the ground and adding an audience. This looks great on TV and it's a good experience for those in front of the band. These performances are essentially designed for broadcast, as fans at the MCG will most likely hear the songs through the main PA, which is not really concert-quality sound."
Dr Sebastian Diaz-Gasca is a Music Industry lecturer at the School of Media and Communication at RMIT University. He is researcher in popular music studies, popular ethnomusicology, Latin American studies, and videogame music.
For general media inquiries, please contact the RMIT External Communications team:
0439 704 077 or email@example.com .