AFL banners back after COVID-19 stoppage

·2-min read

Missing in action for more than a year, the humble footy banner will be back on show for Saturday's AFLW grand final.

The AFL has ticked off the return of the Australian football tradition, allowing Adelaide Crows and Brisbane Lions cheer squads to erect banners for the blockbuster clash at Adelaide Oval.

From next round, men's teams will also run through the crepe paper and sticky tape creations as part of pre-game festivities.

"Banners are a special part of footy and have a deep and meaningful connection to supporters and clubs across the country," AFL footy boss Steve Hocking said.

"The club banner is a great tradition and a real connector for cheer squads, supporters and their teams across the country."

Banners or "run-throughs" have been part of footy culture for generations, with AFL designs typically featuring words of support from club fans.

But the best-remembered ones use the opportunity to take pot-shots at the opposition of the day or contain typos.

At the grassroots level, banners are usually reserved for finals or player game milestones.

The weekly tradition has not been sighted in the AFL since the 2019 grand final between Richmond and Greater Western Sydney because of coronavirus concerns.

AFL Fans Association president Cheryl Critchley had been lobbying for banners to make a COVID-safe return, emphasising their importance to supporters.

"Cheer squads spend many hours each week designing and creating banners. Constructing them together offers a sense of camaraderie among fans and connection to their clubs and the players," she said.

"We understood why banners have been missing, but not having them left a big hole on game day.

"This move also helps to restore more normality for fans who have endured so much over the past year due to the pandemic."