NRL vs AFL: Entertainment Line-ups Head-To-Head

29 September 2023 | 1:26 pm | Dan Cribb

"A performance that will be remembered for years to come.” 

Mark Seymour with Kate Miller-Heidke and ‘TINA - The Tina Turner Musical’

Mark Seymour with Kate Miller-Heidke and ‘TINA - The Tina Turner Musical’ ('TINA' image by Daniel Boud)


Two of the most highly anticipated sporting events in the country will take place this weekend, both with an incredible, but very different soundtrack.

The AFL Grand Final’s entertainment line-up once again boasts some of the best local talent around, with international headliners KISS thrown in for good measure, while the NRL Grand Final has opted for something a little different with its musical offerings, including an actual musical in the form of TINA - The Tina Turner Musical

Footy fans are butting heads over whether Collingwood or Brisbane will take home the Cup on Saturday (September 30), while NRL die-hards are preparing for Penrith Panthers and the Brisbane Broncos to face off on Sunday (October 1), but we’re more concerned about which entertainment line-up takes home the trophy.

Ahead of this weekend, we take a closer look at the stats.


Footy and music fans wait with bated breath each year for the AFL Grand Final entertainment line-up reveal. People can’t wait to see who will be performing at the G, to the point where rumours and leaks start to appear months out. 

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Our first taste of that this year was news that Crowded House were in talks to headline the pre-match entertainment, but reportedly pulled the pin back in August. That’s when rumours of KISS taking the coveted spot began to circulate before they were officially announced earlier this month.

“We cannot wait to create rock 'n' roll history playing at the iconic MCG in Melbourne for one last time,” the band said upon their announcement.

“We’re absolutely thrilled to be performing in front of 100,000 footy fans at the biggest and best sporting event in the country! Be ready to ROCK as we’ll be coming full throttle into the 'G. See you for that One Day in September!”

Given the performance is part of their final trip to Australia, their set promises to be fire… literally if they bring their usual fanfare to the G.

Prior to their announcement, Gillon McLachlan, the CEO of the AFL, revealed that they had tried their best to secure Bruce Springsteen for the line-up, stating they “offered him the kitchen sink, and he's not available”.

If they had managed to score The Boss it would have been a major win at the time, but trouble this week, with Springsteen recently postponing all 2023 performances to deal with ongoing health issues.

Outside of KISS, the rest of the line-up features some of the biggest names in Aus music. 

Mark Seymour & The Undertow, with special guest Kate Miller-Heidke, lead the halftime entertainment. Miller-Heidke will also perform the Australian National Anthem before the match begins.

Seymour revealed this week that Boom Crash Opera would be joining them on the big day too.

The pre-game entertainment also features world-class didgeridoo player William Barton and Jess Hitchcock, and Mike Brady leading the traditional motorcade to farewell retiring players.

“I'm very excited to be back at the MCG to perform on this great day on our national sporting calendar and to have the opportunity to sing songs in celebration of our game,” Seymour said.

Pre-game excitement starts at 1:30pm AEST, while the halftime entertainment begins at 3:15pm.

You can watch the AFL Grand Final this Saturday, 30 September, from the MCG, live on Channel 7, or in your local pub.


While the AFL boasts a stacked line-up, the NRL’s entertainment bill will be powerful in its own way. Calling Tina Turner’s 1993 Grand Final pre-match entertainment performance iconic is an understatement. When the music icon took to the stage before the Brisbane Broncos and St George Dragons went head-to-head, she delivered one of the most memorable performances of all time, so it’s fitting that the NRL is paying tribute to her this year, following her passing in May.

Celebrating her unique association with the game and marking 30 years since that iconic performance, the NRL confirmed earlier this month that the cast of smash hit musical TINA – The Tina Turner Musical would be bringing Turner’s music back to Rugby League’s biggest stage at Sydney’s Accor Stadium this Sunday.

The acclaimed production, which tells the story of Turner’s life and features Simply The Best, Nutbush and more, is currently showing at Theatre Royal Sydney.

“Thirty years on, Tina Turner’s 1993 performance remains one of the great Grand Final moments,” NRL CEO Andrew Abdo said. 

“This collaboration is a perfect way for Rugby League to pay tribute to Tina and everything she did for our game, and it will be a special moment for fans amongst the outstanding entertainment on offer on Grand Final day.” 

Producers Paul Dainty AO/TEG Dainty and Stage Entertainment added: “To have our production as the centrepiece of the NRL Grand Final entertainment is testament to the enduring power of Tina's music and her indomitable spirit. 

“Tina Turner is an icon in the world of music and entertainment, and her incredible journey from adversity to superstardom has inspired countless individuals around the globe.

 "Our cast and crew have worked tirelessly to deliver a performance that will be remembered for years to come.”

Tina – The Tina Turner Musical will headline the pre-game show, while local favourites King Stingray perform twice on the day, playing the NRLW Grand Final pre-game show before also building hype ahead of the NRL Grand Final.

The NRL pre-game entertainment begins at 7:30pm AEDT (daylight savings kicks in on Sunday) and will be broadcast via Channel 9.