AFL Grand Final to 'stay where it is'

Action during the 2016 AFL Grand Final between the Sydney Swans and the Western Bulldogs at the MCG
Action during the 2016 AFL Grand Final between the Sydney Swans and the Western Bulldogs at the MCG JULIAN SMITH

ANY move to a twilight grand final is at least another year away, with the AFL this morning confirming this year's premiership decider will be held in the traditional 2.30pm timeslot.

The news follows a major push in recent months to move the showcase event to a later timeslot to appease broadcasters and make the day a bigger and better spectacle.

However, polling has constantly shown fans have been against any move and the AFL Commission accepted a recommendation not to change the game's starting time.

AFL boss Gillon McLachlan made the announcement on radio this morning.

The league also issued a tweet.

"We're going to keep it where it is," McLachlan told the ABC.

"The last three weeks, what's been put out there is to have a chat. There hasn't been anything really scientific about it but in the end we feel 2.30 is what we want to do in 2017 because of a heap of issues."


AFL Chief Executive Gill McLachlan
AFL Chief Executive Gill McLachlan JULIAN SMITH

McLachlan was coy when asked about the grand final timeslot on Monday, telling a press conference: "We'll deal with that this week".

The last four Saturday preliminary finals have been played in the twilight timeslot with great success.

However, Essendon great Tim Watson said he was shocked by the news, having expected the AFL to move the starting time this year.

"I am really surprised after the noise around this," Watson said on SEN.

"I'm not passionate about the fact, whether it does move or not. I just had a feeling that it would move."

McLachlan said late last year a move to a twilight grand final would happen at some point in the future.

"If you took a long-term view, it's inevitable, but it's a question of when and it's to do with the composition of the commission, the presidents and others in the industry who have their views," he said.

"You're not pushing it back late at night. Kids could still go to a twilight game. It would be a bigger, bolder experience and clearly it would have an impact on television."

The players' union said earlier this month it would support a twilight grand final, with new board member Scott Pendlebury adamant a later start time was right.

Pendlebury agreed with AFLPA president Matthew Pavlich, who says the game would be a better spectacle at night.

The player union told the Herald Sun it had no objection with a twilight grand final starting as late as 5pm.

News Corp Australia

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