As far as international diplomacy goes, two footy scarfs is better than one.
On the eve of his departure from Australia, Chinese premier Li Keqiang took time out from trade talks to watch the Sydney Swans and Port Adelaide Power at the SCG with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.
The game was a preview for when the Power meet Gold Coast in May in the first AFL premiership match on Chinese soil.
Keen to get China’s second most powerful man in Port Adelaide colours, club chairman David Koch made sure Mr Li had Power paraphernalia draped over him.
Wanting to stay impartial, Mr Li also asked for a red and white scarf.
“I insisted I get another scarf rooting for the Sydney Swans,” Mr Li told the media via an interpreter.
“On this occasion, wearing two scarfs is making me really hot.”
The round eight match at Shanghai’s Jiangwan Stadium could be played in front of a crowd of up to 15,000.
“I am sure there will be fans of this great sport in China,” Mr Li said.
Mr Turnbull said the groundbreaking fixture was proof of the AFL’s multicultural footprint.
“There’s a bit of scarf competition … but we’re all friends here. Friends of Australia and Australian football,” he said.
There was no meat pie, but Mr Li was all smiles as Mr Turnbull explained, via a translator, the intricacies of AFL from high in the grandstand.
He invited Mr Turnbull to China later in the year, promising there’d be no shortage of scarfs to keep the Aussie PM warm.
In the end, the original colours were on the money, with Port Adelaide scoring a drought breaking 28-point upset win over the Swans.