The MCG is one of the cathedrals of world sport. Hosting its first Aussie Rules game in 1859, it was also the home of the inaugural international test cricket game in 1877, the first ODI cricket game in 1971, as well as the 1956 Olympics, not to mention a host of other events. Today, it hosts the most AFL games per season, and is the home ground of Melbourne, Richmond, Collingwood and Hawthorn, as well as the joint home ground of Essendon and Carlton (along with Etihad Stadium).

The playing field dimensions of approximately 164 metres long by 139 metres wide make it the biggest playing surface of any AFL ground in the country. The huge amount of space on offer, especially out wide in the wings, means that there is a tendency for low-scoring games at the G. The ball can get bogged down in the vast width of the ground, especially when combined with the rainy Melbourne climate.

Of all its home teams, Hawthorn are the ones who have used the colossal proportions of the MCG to their advantage, evidenced by their success in the past decade. Keeping the opposition trapped in their own half, while scoring easily through excellent kicking skills and counterattacking footy which made the most of the space, the Hawks demonstrated the formula it takes to win at the G. 

Established in 1853, before constant expansions and redevelopments have resulted in the 100,024-capacity coliseum we have today, the MCG is one Australia’s most impressive constructions. Even the Queen made a visit to watch a game of footy between Richmond and Fitzroy in 1970. The perennial home of the Grand Final, any AFL club wanting success needs to be capable of coping with both the literal and historical greatness of the MCG.