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A Grand beginning

The Sydney Swans are the overwhelming favourites to take out this year's premiership if the tips of the guests at the Blackwoods North Melbourne Grand Final at Etihad Stadium on Saturday morning are anything to go by.
 
More than 3,200 guests packed into the event, kicking off football's biggest day in style.
 
The iconic event, in its 48th year, is the annual scene setter for the AFL's showpiece day.
 
Among the guests in attendance on Saturday morning were federal minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop (in place of Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who is overseas), federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten and Victorian premier Dr Denis Napthine.
 
Other prominent dignitaries included Australian cricket star Peter Siddle, retiring St Kilda legend Lenny Hayes and Australian netballers Julie Corletto and Bianca Chatfield.
 
Hayes was named as the 2014 sports personality of the year, following his retirement after an illustrious 297-game career.
 
The star Saint was welcomed to the stage with the tune Goodbye my Lover by British singer-songwriter James Blunt, in reference to his long farewell from the game.
 
The Grand Finalists were represented by Hawthorn president Andrew Newbold and Sydney Swans chairman Andrew Pridham.
 
The blockbuster game shapes as a tense affair, although the laid-back style of the breakfast went some way to easing some pre-game nerves.
 
Bishop, who was introduced to the Beatles' song Back in the U.S.S.R. in a cheeky reference to her gumption in standing up to Russian president Vladimir Putin during the week, tipped the Swans and delivered a few gags.
 
Shorten, who walked to the stage to the tune of rapper Nelly's It's Getting Hot in Herre, also tipped the minor premier Swans and was in fine form behind the microphone.
 
AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan and chairman Mike Fitzpatrick were also in attendance, with McLachlan poking fun at the Etihad Stadium roof and the League's bungled fixture in 2014 during his address.
 
The overwhelming majority of guests and panelists tipped a repeat of the 2012 Grand Final, where the Swans saluted over the Hawks.

North Melbourne coach Brad Scott said the battle is likely to be won through the midfield, and if the Swans get on top their star-studded forward line could prove to be the difference.
 
"I think the real strength of (Kurt) Tippett and (Lance) Franklin is their ability to isolate defenders," Scott said.
 
"If it is (Brian) Lake who is dominant, they can isolate (Josh) Gibson and open it up for another forward like (Adam) Goodes or (Sam) Reid.
 
"Sydney have got so many weapons that Hawthorn's defenders are all going to have to play well."
 
Scott tipped the Swans to win, with midfielder Josh Kennedy the North coach's pick to take out this year's Norm Smith medal.
 
Even Hawthorn great Dermott Brereton tipped the Swans to beat the Hawks in a close-run game