AFL reverts to day grand final after ‘huge success’ of 2020

Geelong's Patrick Dangerfield pursues Richmond’s Jack Graham in the AFL grand final at the Gabba in October.

Geelong's Patrick Dangerfield pursues Richmond’s Jack Graham in the AFL grand final at the Gabba in October. Photo: AAP

The AFL will revert to a day grand final this year after experimenting with a night decider in 2020.

The league’s 18 clubs have been told the 2021 grand final will return to a daytime slot at the MCG on September 25.

Coronavirus complications saw the bulk of last year’s schedule, including the entire finals series, played outside of Victoria.

Richmond won its third premiership in four years by defeating Geelong under lights at the Gabba in Brisbane in October.

Last year’s grand final was historic for two reasons: The first time the last game of the season was played outside Victoria and it took place after dark.

Instead of a fully fledged night game, the AFL toyed with the idea of a twilight grand final, but a return to a 2.30pm slot is sure to please a large contingent of the league’s fans who like the tradition of a day match.

AFL boss Gillon McLachlan declared last year’s decider in Queensland as a “huge success” but the league wanted to look after its supporters by making the grand final the “best event” in Australian sport.

“Our members and supporters were incredible in continuing to support their teams last year and they are wanting a season where they can return to some of the traditions and rituals around footy,” McLachlan said.

“Ultimately, the AFL commission decided that while we will keep some of the unique components of the 2020 season, the prestige, nostalgia and atmosphere of the day grand final is something that people can look forward to.

“Wherever they are located around Australia, we want to give footy fans that familiar feeling back on grand final day.

“We still have a lot of work as a league and a community to get the finish line, but I would love nothing more to see 100,000 back at the MCG on the last Saturday in September.”


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