Tom Jones, Ed Sheeran to sing at AFL grand final

The AFL has unveiled its grand final day entertainment, and as has long been speculated, it will be headlined by Welsh rock and pop legend Sir Tom Jones.Jones, 74, will be complemented by 23-year-old English pop star Ed Sheeran, in an MCG lineup that has a distinctly British feel.

AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan also announced that the entertainment was being pushed back to its traditional pre-game slot, following a two-year experiment with an American-style half-time show.

Jones, who was knighted in 2006, has sold more than 100 million records over the course of a career now in its sixth decade.

"He is one of the world's most successful and endearing singers, and he still has women throwing their underwear on stage," McLachlan said at the AFL's finals series launch.

Sheeran rose to worldwide prominence in 2011 following the raging success of his debut single The A Team. Six of his singles have reached the top-10 of the Australian charts.

The CEO joked that the league would seek to have Sheeran's name changed to "Ed Sherrin" for grand final.

Australian music great Olivia Newton-John will sing the national anthem, while Mike Brady will appear in a nod to grand final tradition to sing Up There Cazaly.

A curtain-raiser will be played between under-17 representative teams.

The presenters of grand final day awards were also revealed, with North Melbourne champion and 1996 Norm Smith Medalist Glenn Archer to crown the 2014 winner on the MCG dais. 1988 and 1991 Hawthorn premiership coach Alan Joyce will give the Jock McHale medal to this year's winning coach, while former Footscray spearhead and 1985 VFL leading goalkicker Simon Beasley will present Lance Franklin with the Swan's third Coleman Medal at the All-Australian awards ceremony in a fortnight.

When Beasley won his Coleman Medal, he did so with a tally of 93 goals, and was able to reach triple figures during the ensuing finals series. Franklin is the only player in the last decade to have kicked 100 goals in a season, booting 113 in 2008, and he secured the award this year with just 67 goals.

"It's sort of changed, the emphasis on forwards. They move up the ground a lot," Beasley said.

"They play up the ground a lot, Buddy plays up the ground a lot, so the days of forwards kicking 100 goals may be numbered. It may change again...but it'll be a tough gig to get a 100 goalkicker again."

Joyce described the feeling of holding the premiership cup aloft as one of "relief".

"After 12 months, it's really hard work," he added.

Archer has been in contact with his former Kangaroos teammate Brent Harvey, who is suspended for the Roos' elimination final date with Essendon.

"I spoke to him last week, he's obviously very upset, but he said 'there's nothing I can do now. I've just got to do my best at training, give some advice to the boys'," Archer said.

Daniel Cherney, 1 September 2014