“White with one” with Tessie McManus from AFL

As the saying goes, there’s a first time for everything and that was the case when Peter interviewed Match Day Operations Manager at the Australian Football League, Tessie McManus – she doesn’t drink coffee. PJSE and the AFL have had a close working relationship, over many years, working together on the Grand Final Parade and Grand Final Day Entertainment. Find out what some of Tessie’s highlights have been over the years of her working at the AFL in this edition of ‘Mineral water with one’.

Peter: How do you take your coffee?


I actually don’t drink coffee – in fact, I don’t do any hot drinks.

Peter: Wow, you are the first person in our entire series of ‘White with one’ who has said that. We’ll change this one to ‘Mineral water with one’ then.


Yes, I’m a little unusual in that sense.

Peter: How long have you worked at the AFL and what is your background?


I’ve been at the AFL for 17 & a ½ years. My first job was with Port Adelaide, so I’ve worked in football my entire career. I actually did an AFL Traineeship straight after I finished school, so it’s been footy, footy and more footy.

Peter: What are some of your proudest moments/highlights while working at the AFL?


As I’m now responsible for match day operations, there are a number that come to mind. Back in 2008, the AFL played its first international game in Dubai on what was originally a polo field. To create a football oval in less than three months was a wonderful achievement. Also, back in 2006, we put together a charity game in Mildura to assist in raising funds for the 6 children killed in a tragic hit and run accident. This was all done in the space of 6 weeks and it really helped the Mildura community deal with the tragedy. I also have to say the 2010 Grand Final draw and then everyone coming together to get the replay organised the following week was also something I will never forget.

Peter: We remember that week well – amazing what can happen in a week! Why do you think Melbourne is such a great city to host major sporting events? 


I think it’s all about the talent and capability we have as an industry. We have so much experience built up over years of running major events of all descriptions. It’s great to see so much of our industry working overseas as leaders in their area. I also believe it’s part of our DNA as we love to support quality events whether it be sports, cultural or community.

Peter: What is your favourite event to attend in Melbourne, apart from the AFL Grand Final of course? 


I love a good concert and thought Adele was the best I have ever seen. The tennis is great too but my favourite is definitely the Spring Carnival. I like a bit of a flutter so I’m not just there to sip champagne in the Birdcage.

Peter: If you could attend any event in the world, what would it be?  


From a work perspective, definitely the Superbowl to see how its run – same with Wimbledon. I’d like to experience Royal Ascot as a guest in the Royal Box.

Peter: Nothing like aiming high Tess. So, we have to talk about the 2011 Grand Final and Meatloaf – I’m still traumatised by what happened.


It was a truly momentous occasion that’s for sure – for all the wrong reasons. My initial reaction was to laugh and say “Is he serious?”. The sad answer to that was yes. It’s become one of the most famous moments in a Grand Final and I’m sure will still be talked about in many years to come.

Peter: As they say, life goes on. Who have been some of your favourite Grand Final acts?


I thought Lionel Ritchie and Birds of Tokyo were great.

Peter: What do you think about a potential night Grand Final?


Honestly, I’m not a big fan – I guess you could say I’m a traditionalist. Amongst many things, I don’t like the idea of the game being played without a red ball. It will be interesting to see what happens over the coming years.

Peter: If the Grand Final was being played next week, who would win?


Sydney and it would be an amazing story if they did. They just seem to have all the momentum at the right time.

Peter: And finally, the most important question of all – will I live long enough to see the Demons win a Grand Final?


Yes, I think it’s going to happen sometime within the next 5 years so you will be fine. Given it’s been over 50 years since they have won one, I think a lot of people would like to see them take out the big prize.

Peter: I hope you’re right Tessie as I was too young to remember the last one. Thank you so much for your time today and best of luck with the finals series.



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