The “Working Class Man” Jimmy Barnes will headline the NRL Grand Final entertainment as rugby league took an all-Aussie approach to the pre-match show.
Barnes has headlined the NRL decider previously as Cold Chisel rocked out the 2015 Grand Final between the Cowboys and Broncos.
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It’s been a wild week for Barnes, having been awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of South Australia earlier in the week alongside legendary Star Trek actor George Takei.
Barnes was recognised for his ability to “overcome adversity and countless setbacks”.
“If you want a gold standard for the unstoppable career, then Jimmy Barnes is it,” Vice Chancellor David Lloyd said.
Barnes took to Facebook writing: “I am both humbled and proud to be receiving an Honorary Doctorate awarded to me by the University of South Australia. What an Honour. The magnitude of this occasion has only just sunk in. You can see I can’t stop smiling.”
In a video of the end of his speech, Barnes, whose first job was pumping petrol after being born in the Adelaide suburb of Elizabeth, paid an emotional tribute to his roots.
“I accept it on behalf of all the auto workers in Elizabeth, all the petrol pumpers and the guys that pour molten metal, who weren’t lucky enough to escape,” Barnes said.
“May their children and grandchildren have the opportunity to enter great institutions like this one through the front gate and not have to jump the fence.”
His wild week will culminate with the headline slot at the Grand Final.
The NRL Grand Final is scheduled to start at 7.30pm and will be broadcast live on Channel 9 and Nine Now.
Who will perform?
The NRL Grand Final Pre-Game Show will be headlined by Jimmy Barnes with friends including ARIA-winning singer-songwriters Diesel and special guest Josh Teskey, alongside award-winning Indigenous singer-songwriter Emma Donovan and Eurovision star Sheldon Riley.
The NRLW will have a pre-game show as powerhouse soul and blues vocalist Mahalia Barnes, Western Sydney’s new queen of hip-hop and RnB A. GIRL and Emma Donovan team up to deliver a re-imagining of iconic Aussie classic, “The Real Thing”.
Australian hip-hop legends Bliss n Eso (featuring JOY.) will perform their hit, “Moments” as part of the tribute to the game’s retiring and departing players.
The NRL will acknowledge 21 retiring or departing players including 300-gamers Aiden Tolman and Josh Morris, who will retire alongside his twin brother and 274-gamer Brett.
“The retiring and departing players tribute is an important moment in our season and for our game, on our biggest day,” NRL CEO Andrew Abdo said.
“This is an opportunity to celebrate and thank the players who have provided so much to rugby league over their careers. We also acknowledge the contribution of their partners and families.
“The male and female players in our game are amazing athletes and they are also important leaders in the community. Their contributions are part of the wonderful story and history of rugby league and will be remembered and celebrated long into the future.”
NRL Grand Final Timetable
1pm – Gates Open
1.20pm — NRL State Championship, Penrith Panthers v Norths Devils
3:30pm — NRLW Grand Final Pre-Game Show — Mahalia Barnes, A. GIRL, Emma Donovan
3.55pm — NRLW Grand Final, Newcastle Knights v Parramatta Eels
6:30pm — NRL Grand Final Pre-Game Show — Jimmy Barnes, Diesel, Josh Teskey, Emma Donovan, Sheldon Riley
7.30pm — NRL Grand Final kicks off, Penrith Panthers v Parramatta Eels