Albany Shantymen to welcome punters to historic Perth AFL grand final

Headshot of Sarah Makse
Sarah MakseAlbany Advertiser
The Albany Shantymen.
Camera IconThe Albany Shantymen. Credit: Karen Timmins

The Albany Shantymen will be part of WA sporting history when they perform at Saturday’s AFL grand final.

The Shantymen’s campaign to be part of the day’s entertainment has reaped results, with the group set to welcome punters to the stadium by performing for crowds outside the gates.

The humble, hairy heroes have gone national this month, appearing on prime-time television in a bid to get themselves a gig at the big dance.

The group had the hosts of The Project in stitches, and belted out a tune for Today Show Extra.

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With the help of Albany MP Rebecca Stephens, they took their pitch to Premier Mark McGowan, delivering him a signed CD as a sweetener.

“On Saturday, the AFL have got us down to help cheer on the crowd as they head in for the biggest day on the sporting calendar,” The Albany Shantymen’s John Henderson said.

Albany MP Rebecca Stephens and Premier Mark McGowan with a signed Albany Shantymen CD.
Camera IconAlbany MP Rebecca Stephens and Premier Mark McGowan with a signed Albany Shantymen CD. Credit: Rebecca Stephens Member for Albany

“We hope our songs can rev up the fans as they head in the gates.”

The Shantymen will also perform on the eve of the big game at the Fremantle Dockers AFL Grand Final Experience, a cocktail event at Optus Stadium.

“We do this as a hobby — one of the lads describes us as a Men’s Shed for blokes who don’t like woodwork — and to see ourselves on national TV for a fleeting moment is great fun,” Mr Henderson said.

“We were obviously taken aback by the response to the idea of us singing at the grand final.

“We had just sung at the Fremantle v Brisbane game at Optus, which was a fantastic experience, and when it was confirmed that the grand final was going to Perth, our main man Gary Greenwald put a post on Facebook asking the AFL to give us a shot.

“Then, when a couple of Melbourne DJs started a campaign to get us there, it all went a bit crazy.”

After the grand final, the Shantymen will turn their attention to hosting the International Folk N Shanty Festival in Albany from October 1-3 — the only festival of its kind in Australia.

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