“I am absolutely desperate,” she told InDaily, brandishing her hand-scrawled sign begging for tickets for Saturday’s Big Dance.
“I’ve got a son who’s an avid Crows supporter and has been since birth… he lives over in Macau, so he’s flying over [to Melbourne] on Saturday without a ticket – just on the chance he might get one.
“He’s prepared to pay whatever needs to be paid.”
Keen’s story is one retold many times over this Grand Final week, as supporters take to online trading sites and social media desperate to pay whatever it takes to secure a seat at the MCG.
Fans are paying 10 times the booking price for tickets, calling in whatever favours they can from friends – and friends of friends, and strangers – to witness Adelaide’s shot at premiership glory in person.
“I’ve been on Gumtree, I’ve been on eBay… I had my ad taken down off Gumtree,” Keen laments, as authorities crack down on the AFL’s sole annual ‘declared event’ – for which it is illegal to on-sell tickets at over-inflated prices.
“I did have the word ‘urgent’, so maybe that was what they didn’t like,” she ponders, regretfully musing that having held season tickets since day one “I let that subside last year due to work commitments and things”.
If all else fails, at least the Keen family can say they’ve been there before.
“We went to the 1997 final in Melbourne, so that was fantastic – and I suppose that also created more enthusiasm for my children,” Elizabeth reflects.
Just recalling that day still gives her goosebumps.
“The hairs on your arms [stand on end]… just an amazing feeling, to think such a new team to the game could actually take out the Grand Final was just unbelievable…
“The crowd was unbelievable; the feeling was unbelievable – and so memorable… I can still feel it now when I think about it.”
It’s a feeling today’s Adelaide Oval crowd – which the club estimates to number around 10,000 – can only anticipate for now, as they unite under the banner that’s become a near-mantra for supporters since the death of coach Phil Walsh in 2015 – ‘We Fly As One’.
And as the week unfolds, fans will fly as one – and drive, bus and surge as one – to the spiritual home of Australian football, hoping to see their team hold aloft the code’s proverbial holy grail.
It’s a pilgrimage Elizabeth Keen desperately wants her son to be a part of.
And for whoever helps make that happen, she says: “I would give you the world!”
“I would be eternally grateful, and would put you in my prayers for a very successful life.”
For now though, a very successful weekend would be enough to satisfy most Adelaide supporters.
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