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Sport Bailey Smith and Max Gawn steal the show

09:40  24 september  2021
09:40  24 september  2021 Source:   aap.com.au

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a group of people posing for the camera: More than 10,000 fans flocked to watch training at Perth's Optus Stadium on AFL grand final eve. © Richard Wainwright/AAP PHOTOS More than 10,000 fans flocked to watch training at Perth's Optus Stadium on AFL grand final eve.

Bailey Smith's mullet and Max Gawn's bucket hat were the two biggest hits as Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs hit the track in front of more than 10,000 fans in Perth on the eve of the AFL grand final.

With the traditional grand final parade scrapped, both clubs held open training sessions at Optus Stadium on Friday to give fans the chance to see their heroes up close.

Melbourne were the first to make their way out, with players looking relaxed as they did some light skill work and took shots on goal.

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Demons skipper Gawn was clearly the fan favourite, with requests for his bucket hat coming thick and fast.

At one point Gawn took off the hat and was about to frisbee it into the crowd before having a change of heart.

Fans were desperate to get their hands on anything - with one youngster asking Demons defender Christian Salem for his boots.

"I need them for tomorrow," Salem replied, before the fan quipped: "buy new ones".

Melbourne players received large cheers as they walked around the field applauding their fans at the conclusion of the one-hour session.

The Bulldogs hit the track about an hour later to similar adoration.

It's hard to know which has grown quicker - Smith's reputation as a genuine match-winner, or the popularity of his mullet.

Numerous fans were spotted wearing a replica Smith mullet in the crowd, and he was also a hit with the ladies. 

"He's a popular young man," Bulldogs head of football Chris Grant said.

"There's a lot of Bailey chants going on out there."

Fans quickly hit the exits once the session finished, but grand final fever will hit peak levels on Saturday night when more than 60,000 fans pack into Optus Stadium for the premiership decider. 

Gawn leads Demons to historic AFL flag .
Max Gawn has become Melbourne's first premiership captain since 1964, joining the legendary Ron Barassi in leading the Demons to the ultimate glory.The towering ruckman has helped break the club's 'Norm Smith curse' with Melbourne powering to a stunning 74-point AFL victory over the Western Bulldogs at Perth's Optus Stadium.

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