Sport AFL AFL boss: No twilight Grand Final, not this year anyway

AFL boss: No twilight Grand Final, not this year anyway

Western Bulldogs grand final victory
The Doggies' run to a premiership was helped by a week's rest before the finals. Photo: Getty
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The AFL has confirmed this year’s grand final will be played at the traditional time in the afternoon, but chief executive Gillon McLachlan says there is a “sense of inevitability” it will eventually be moved.

There has been ongoing debate about whether the league should shift the decider to a twilight match to attract more TV viewers and free up the Saturday afternoon for fans.

Last year’s thrilling preliminary final between the Bulldogs and GWS was staged at 5:15pm, the first time a penultimate match had been played at that time.

The success of the match added momentum to the push for a twilight grand final.

But chief executive Gillon McLachlan told ABC Radio Melbourne the game would not move this year.

“We’re going to keep it where it is,” he said.

Asked about a broad acceptance the game would eventually move, he said: “There’s a sense of inevitability, but it’s not 2017.”

“I feel it’s not the sort of decision that has a specific business case, it’s about delivering the best sporting event in this country and hopefully one of the best in the world,” McLachlan said.

“And I do believe, without sounding trite or sounding like a politician, this is a decision about what our supporters want, it is a football supporter decision.

“It doesn’t have an impact on the footy, we’ve spoken to the footy clubs, and so it’s about what the footy community wants and I reckon they want to stay at 2:30pm at the moment, so that’s where it’s staying.”

The NRL holds its grand final on a Sunday night. Last year’s kick off was at 7:15pm AEST, with some believing the later time helps it attract television audiences.

In the United States, the Superbowl is played about 6:30pm on a Sunday.

But McLachlan said there were many reasons to leave the AFL grand final at its traditional time.

“There was a feeling when we looked at every aspect of it, we got through the the run sheet, we then put all the football considerations, speaking to the different football departments, what the public was telling us and what they wanted, that on balance this year were going to keep it at 2:30pm,” he said.

The grand final will be played on September 30.


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