Sport AFL AFL boss hopes for grand final extra time

AFL boss hopes for grand final extra time

The Giants after their preliminary final loss to Richmond in 2017. Photo: AAP Photo: AAP
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To hell with the heart attacks – AFL boss Gillon McLachlan would love extra time in Saturday’s grand final.

The margin in the last two GWS finals has been less than a goal and the league’s chief executive wants another close match to decide the premiership.

Three years ago, the league introduced two five-minute periods of extra time and then a golden score if the grand final ends in a tie.

It means no repeat of the 1977 and 2010 grand final replays.

McLachlan said on Thursday his appetite was whetted in July, when he stayed up to watch the riveting cricket World Cup and men’s Wimbledon finals.

It was the first Wimbledon final to feature a final-set tie break, while the World Cup also came down to extra overs.

“It’s been one of those years,” McLachlan said.

“One in three games has been an upset, one in five has been decided by less than 10 points.

“I was up that night, watching Wimbledon and the (cricket) World Cup – I did look ahead to this.

“It would be amazing if it happened, if it went into extra time. It would be an incredible thing.”

McLachlan stopped short of calling on neutral fans to back the Giants, but he praised the expansion club for making their first grand final.

“They’ve had injuries, they’ve had suspensions and they’ve had adversity,” he said.

“I reckon they’ve got here and everyone feels they’ve earned it … there’s a lot of support out there for the hard work and effort to get here.”

McLachlan was at the MCG to formally introduce the all-Australian grand final entertainment – Paul Kelly, Dean Lewis, Tones and I, and Conrad Sewell.

Kelly, who was born and raised in Adelaide, is a noted Norwood and Adelaide Crows fan.

Gillon McLachlan
McLachlan stayed up to watch the epic cricket World Cup and mens’ Wimbledon finals. Photo: Getty

He and McLachlan risked incurring the wrath of MCG ground staff by having an impromptu kick-to-kick session on the ground and Kelly impressed with his old-school drop kicks.

“Sometimes you can treat yourself – having a kick with Paul Kelly on the MCG is one of those,” McLachlan said.

“I just didn’t think they were going to come down and haul us off, with all these cameras here.”

The AFL chief executive said discussions are ongoing about presenting medallions to more players than just the premiership 22.

There is speculation about formal recognition for all players at the winning club, as well as the losing team.

“It’s been discussed in the last weeks – not only with the commission, but with presidents,” he said.

“It’s certainly something that’s been raised by the industry.”