Time change looms for AFL grand final

The AFL grand final looks set to become a twilight fixture in the not-too-distant future.

The AFL grand final looks set to become a twilight fixture in the not-too-distant future. Photo: Getty

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan points to the success of the Richmond-Greater Western Sydney preliminary final as further evidence that a grand final time change is inevitable.

The question of the grand final timeslot is now a fixture at McLachlan’s pre-season media briefings.

Rather than a night game, the AFL most likely would switch the premiership decider from its traditional mid-afternoon start to a twilight first bounce, about 4.45pm.

A crowd of more than 94,000 was at the MCG last September to see Richmond beat GWS in their twilight preliminary final, the week before the Tigers won their drought-breaking premiership.

“The timing works per se; like, that twilight (preliminary final),” McLachlan said.

“First half beautiful … during the day, second half under lights, I think works well.

“It’s more the emotion and the logistics of the grand final being a huge event as opposed to the prelim, where we don’t have all the same production challenges.”

The AFL boss said they are yet to decide on this year’s grand final.

“I know everyone wants a deadline, it’s something that’s emotive,” McLachlan said.

“I think the debate is good. I feel it’s inevitable at some point.

“It has to be right everywhere and everyone’s got to feel that it’s the right time to try it.

“I know that sounds like a bit of motherhood, but one day we’ll do it and I don’t know when that will be, and it will happen.

“I think every year that goes past, you move, whether it’s one degree or five.”

But McLachlan rejected the suggestion that opinion polls show fans still want an afternoon grand final.

“If we’d done a poll on AFLW, what would people have said?” he said.

“Me, you, none of us like change.”


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