IT’S impossible to wipe the smile from Blake Cooke’s face.
The Richmond fan has never seen his side in a grand final, and was on the 50-mark arc at the MCG on Saturday to see the Tigers down the Giants.
“We sat down just as the ball went up, it was so loud,” the Leitchville local said.
“As soon as the ball went forward for us the crowd just went up. It was all Richmond.”
And now, on Sunday morning, Blake is lining up at a central Bendigo newsagent for his ticket to the big game.
He is one of about 15 AFL members staking out their place on Lyttleton Terrace, waiting for 2pm to roll around when the owner unlocks the door and they get their chance to secure a seat to see the Tigers take on the Adelaide Crows.
Some have been lined up since Friday.
More than 20,000 tickets are available for AFL members from 2pm today.
For many country footy fans, Bendigo is the only place to go for a ticket. The next closest Ticketek outlet is in Shepparton, or down in Melbourne.
Joanne Dehne, also from Leitchville, has used her AFL membership to attend more grand finals than she can remember.
She said lining up in person in Bendigo almost always guaranteed them a seat.
“I just don’t trust the internet at home,” she said.
“The other half has been here since 9am Friday.
“Before it was the AFL, we used to head down to Carlton and line up there for a grand final ticket.
“I’m looking forward to seeing Richmond in it, they haven’t been there for a while.”
Others travelled from as far as Navarre, Wedderburn and Cohuna. While they wait in line in person, most have a relative refreshing the Ticketek page.
Most were hoping for a Tigers win, although one Collingwood fan was still undecided.
For Blake, it was simple.
“They’ll win,” he said.
“Confidence is the key.”