AFL grand final set for twilight move

By Ben McKay, Ben McKay is a Roar Guru

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102 Have your say

    A twilight AFL grand final seems increasingly certain for 2017, with an announcement to be made within days of next weekend’s opening round.

    AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan said there was now “broad acceptance” from fans for the move, with several AFL captains including Scott Pendlebury, Nat Fyfe and Joel Selwood also offering support.

    “There are still traditionalists that would always like to see the game stay the same but there are an increasing number of people who can see the opportunity in looking at a twilight grand final,” he told reporters on Thursday.

    “The commission have (asked) management to come back with them with a recommendation.

    “I said that it would be prior to the start of the season, but whether it will be a week later or not, there needs to be a level of certainty and we’ll deal with that in the next week or so.

    “I feel confident with where we go.”

    The AFL believes a later opening bounce could grow the audience, and therefore sponsorship, for the marquee match.

    A stumbling block to McLachlan’s ambitions had been AFL chairman Mike Fitzpatrick, a self-described traditionalist who favoured a first bounce at 2:30pm.

    His departure as commission boss, with former Wesfarmers boss Richard Goyder taking over the role, opens the door for the shift.

    Speaking alongside McLachlan on Thursday, Goyder refused to outline his own personal position.

    “I’ll wait until we get a recommendation from the executive and we’ll come up with an answer,” he said.

    That answer might have been sooner if not for a rare slip-up from the league supremo.

    McLachlan confessed to a goof that set back the timetable for an announcement.

    “I intended to speak to the commission yesterday about that and I forgot. That’s the truth. That’s maybe potentially hard to believe,” he said.

    “We need to address it. It is of huge interest to a lot of people but we’ve been doing a lot of stuff.”

    McLachlan compared the time-shift to the long-running debate around Good Friday football, which will take place for the first time this year.

    “It’s a bit like Good Friday. People have been talking about it for a while and the challenge in our roles is to make progress in our game but preserve the tradition and the history.

    “Part of doing that is to bring people with you.

    “There is broad acceptance (for a twlight grand final) but not universal. The quantity of stuff suggests the majority (of fans) support it.”

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (102)

    • March 16th 2017 @ 2:17pm
      Birdman said | March 16th 2017 @ 2:17pm | ! Report

      As Titus O’Reily says, Grand Final Day is the only day of the year than people don’t look at you strange for drinking before noon – will def. need to pace yourself if the granny moves to twilight.

      • Roar Guru

        March 16th 2017 @ 2:28pm
        Paul D said | March 16th 2017 @ 2:28pm | ! Report

        Anzac Day is a close second but I do take your point. I think they’ve timed the change about right. 10 years ago there would have been mass indignation. 10 years later and everyone would be screaming why it wasn’t done sooner. It’s inevitable this was going to happen.

        • March 16th 2017 @ 3:17pm
          andyl12 said | March 16th 2017 @ 3:17pm | ! Report

          “It’s inevitable” is the argument that’s often used by people who have no genuine rationale for what they’re doing. It’s a phrase that the AFL’s been spitting out since the 1990s, so I guess they had to bring in the night GF just to prove themselves right.

          • Roar Guru

            March 16th 2017 @ 3:31pm
            Paul D said | March 16th 2017 @ 3:31pm | ! Report

            Or by people who don’t have any particular interest either way and are just watching from the sidelines.

            I say it was inevitable because ultimately the proponents of a later grand final start can point to better commercial opportunities and benefits to be gained, opponents can only point to “well it’s always been this way” and that argument historically has only ever had one winner

            • March 16th 2017 @ 3:38pm
              andyl12 said | March 16th 2017 @ 3:38pm | ! Report

              Nobody doubts the larger TV audience that a later GF will bring. But what anyone with a brain doubts is that it will actually grow the game. Night football is played for 26 other weeks of the year and anyone who isn’t drawn to the game by that is unlikely to be wooed by a later GF either.

              • Roar Guru

                March 16th 2017 @ 4:41pm
                Paul D said | March 16th 2017 @ 4:41pm | ! Report

                That’s absolute crap Andy. There are no statistics supporting that view whatsoever.

                More viewers is surely growing the game anyway, you yourself admit that. Plenty of people tune into sporting codes just for finals.

                There’s a reason they don’t play State of Origin on Wednesday afternoons

              • March 16th 2017 @ 5:26pm
                andyl12 said | March 16th 2017 @ 5:26pm | ! Report

                Paul- who said anything about playing the GF on a Wednesday afternoon?

              • Roar Guru

                March 16th 2017 @ 11:57pm
                Paul D said | March 16th 2017 @ 11:57pm | ! Report

                Andy…it’s an illustrative analogy. It’s intended to illustrate that maybe, just maybe, playing the grand final on Saturday evening will attract more viewers than playing it on Saturday afternoon.

                Honestly the increased hospitality events that could be run nationwide for a nighttime grand final would be worth a couple hundred mill alone. I’m surprised ScoMo hasn’t piled into the AFL for hamstringing the economy by dragging their heels so long on this. 4:40 this year, see how it works, and then re-assess in a few years. Another good move from a commission that is making a lot of good moves lately

              • March 17th 2017 @ 8:25am
                andyl12 said | March 17th 2017 @ 8:25am | ! Report

                “Honestly the increased hospitality events that could be run nationwide for a nighttime grand final would be worth a couple hundred mill alone.”

                Actually, Australia’s largest city is dead after dark these days. Maybe put all the fans in cruise ships on the harbour?

          • Roar Guru

            March 16th 2017 @ 3:58pm
            Cat said | March 16th 2017 @ 3:58pm | ! Report

            “It’s inevitable” is the argument that’s often used by people who have no genuine rationale for what they’re doing. It’s a phrase that the AFL’s been spitting out since the 1990s, so I guess they had to bring in the night GF just to prove themselves right.

            “It’s tradition” is the argument that’s often used by people who have no genuine rationale against doing it. It’s a phrase people have been using since the dawn of time when they have no legitimate argument to make, so I guess things will just have to stay the same forever just to prove themselves.

            • March 16th 2017 @ 5:14pm
              Glenn said | March 16th 2017 @ 5:14pm | ! Report

              I don’t particularly care about tradition when it comes to the footy so this isn’t a tradition thing, but your argument is flawed. Something can stay the same as it has always been for many reasons. How about that it might just work that way. The fact is that the current time of the game suits tens of thousands of people or more, right down to the ground for a host of reasons and that is a valid rationale.

              • Roar Guru

                March 17th 2017 @ 12:06am
                Paul D said | March 17th 2017 @ 12:06am | ! Report

                And it would still suit those people and a lot more besides if it’s moved to 4:40. Probably still will even at 6:40 too.

              • Roar Guru

                March 17th 2017 @ 8:55am
                Cat said | March 17th 2017 @ 8:55am | ! Report

                fact is a later game will suit millions.

            • March 17th 2017 @ 8:26am
              andyl12 said | March 17th 2017 @ 8:26am | ! Report

              They used to say it was inevitable that Hawthorn would go out of business if they didn’t merge.

              The only difference this time is that enough people believed them to make it happen.

              • Roar Guru

                March 17th 2017 @ 8:54am
                Cat said | March 17th 2017 @ 8:54am | ! Report

                Instead of doing what they always did, i.e., tradition, Hawthorn made changes, which ensured it survived.

              • March 17th 2017 @ 9:08am
                andyl12 said | March 17th 2017 @ 9:08am | ! Report

                You seem to be saying the Grand Final couldn’t have survived in an afternoon timeslot. The facts would indicate otherwise.

      • Roar Guru

        March 16th 2017 @ 2:38pm
        TomC said | March 16th 2017 @ 2:38pm | ! Report

        I’d love to see it stay where it is, but I feel like the battle is all but lost.

        Little traditional idiosyncrasies like the afternoon Grand Final help build our emotional connection with the game. It’s not possible to measure what that’s worth, but I’m sure it’s much easier to figure out how much more advertising revenue you could get by shifting it.

        Oh well. Grand Final day will still be Grand Final day.

      • March 17th 2017 @ 7:49am
        Norad said | March 17th 2017 @ 7:49am | ! Report

        AFL has made this ‘inevitable’ since the 1990s. Yet again the unimaginiative NRL copied the AFL.

        • March 17th 2017 @ 2:05pm
          Craigo said | March 17th 2017 @ 2:05pm | ! Report


          You’re just jealous that the NRL can make things work that the AFL fail at like State of Origin, Night Grand Finals.

          • Roar Guru

            March 17th 2017 @ 2:13pm
            Cat said | March 17th 2017 @ 2:13pm | ! Report

            AFL fans don’t want SoO, at least not the intelligent ones. It may work in NRL (and that is debatable) but it has no place in the AFL.
            As for a night GF, how can the AFL fail at something it has never even attempted? Quit the silly strawman argument you have there.

          • Roar Guru

            March 17th 2017 @ 2:17pm
            Paul D said | March 17th 2017 @ 2:17pm | ! Report

            SOO is fine if you enjoy a parasitical cameo competition that destroys the integrity of the regular home & away club season.

            • March 17th 2017 @ 2:43pm
              Craigo said | March 17th 2017 @ 2:43pm | ! Report

              You keep telling yourself that boys!!

              As a NRL fan and all my mates agree, it just gives the NRL another dimension that the AFL sadly lack.

              Im sure the NRL care what you two think as they count their millions and millions they will be making from the Perth and Melbourne just to get a taste of SOO in their Cities.

            • March 17th 2017 @ 4:07pm
              clipper said | March 17th 2017 @ 4:07pm | ! Report

              Didn’t the AFL start the SoO, only to let it go when it became a national competition for fear it would hinder expansion?
              Think the move to a later timeslot won’t gain too many more viewers in the Southern States, as they would all watch anyway, but might gain quite a few in NSW and QLD.

              • March 17th 2017 @ 6:16pm
                Craigo said | March 17th 2017 @ 6:16pm | ! Report

                “Didn’t the AFL start the SoO, only to let it go when it became a national competition for fear it would hinder expansion?”

                You keep telling yourself that clipper.

                No one cared about SoO in AFL and it failed after many, many times trying.

                Remember the great AFL SoO team “The Allies” ACT, New South Wales, the Northern Territory, Queensland and Tasmania,

                Wow! I think you got about two people watching that great team!!!

                Leave representative football to the NRL. They do it right!!!

              • March 17th 2017 @ 6:44pm
                Joe B said | March 17th 2017 @ 6:44pm | ! Report

                Craigo, SoO works for League because only 2 states play it. SoO doesn’t work for AR, anymore, because we have a national competition. WA, SA, VIC, TAS, NT are AR states… NSW, QLD, and ACT are represented by their AFL teams.
                Majority of people don’t want SoO AR football. It is a non argument.
                I, like many, enjoy RL SoO… but I don’t want my club sacrificing players for an AR SoO.

    • March 16th 2017 @ 2:47pm
      Birdman said | March 16th 2017 @ 2:47pm | ! Report

      Western Australians won’t mind the change I’m guessing

      • March 16th 2017 @ 4:33pm
        Joe B said | March 16th 2017 @ 4:33pm | ! Report

        Love the change… can’t wait until it is a full night game.
        The BIG bonus for everyone in pushing back the first bounce is that it frees up the day.
        In WA the start time will be 2.40pm (assuming 4.40pm AEST), so you can now get things done in the morning and go out for lunch.
        Bring on a 7pm AEST start for 2018. Traditionalists can lament the invention of electricity and light bulbs… and vacinations, voting rights, basically anything that is upsetting them

        • Roar Guru

          March 16th 2017 @ 4:38pm
          Paul D said | March 16th 2017 @ 4:38pm | ! Report

          Well said. I would say it’s broadly the same people who reckoned day night test cricket was going to be a disaster. These games exist to serve our interest, not the other way around. Any move to make them more accessible and appealing in terms of scheduling is a good move.

      • Roar Guru

        March 17th 2017 @ 8:56am
        Penster said | March 17th 2017 @ 8:56am | ! Report

        Actually that is an excellent point Birdman, the best argument yet. But leave the bounce or Jason Dunstall will have to rename his show “Toss”.

    • Roar Guru

      March 16th 2017 @ 2:54pm
      Cat said | March 16th 2017 @ 2:54pm | ! Report

      Just bloody do it already, should have been done decades ago.

    • March 16th 2017 @ 3:15pm
      Reservoir Animal said | March 16th 2017 @ 3:15pm | ! Report

      An article you might see in the next week due to the impending announcement about the timeslot of this year’s Grand Final:

      AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan said he was proud to be announcing that this year’s Grand Final would be held at 4.40PM, instead of the traditional timeslot of 2.30PM. He said he viewed the decision as proof he was a natural-born leader.

      “I know the timeslot mightn’t be ideal for children or people over 55, but in this business you just can’t pander to everybody,” Mr McLachlan said. “Those age groups are only minority stakeholders in our game, and we have the welfare of the entire code to consider.”

      Mr McLachlan said all football fans should embrace the greater entertainment spectacle that will come with playing the game later in the day.

      “Singers like Meatloaf have indicated that early-afternoon performances are unsuitable for the body clocks of people in their industry, and that their voices tend to be more prepared for singing the longer the day goes on. I have no doubt that this choice of timeslot will ensure our singers are worth every cent of the added fee they would charge.”

      He also said that the new timeslot would work wonders for the promotion of the game in new parts of the country and overseas.

      “In outback Queensland, farmers have to work until the sun goes down, then they like to relax in front of the television for a few hours. If football was an option during those few hours, they would be more likely to embrace the game,” Mr McLachlan said. “Additionally, the game could be shown in Europe during the mid-morning and not at 6AM as is currently the case,” he added.

      Mr McLachlan admitted that part of the reason for the Super Bowl’s massive TV ratings in the United States was because half of the country was snowed under in early February, making the opportunity to rug up in front of the television tempting for many. But he described this is an “insignificant difference” in the overall scheme of things. He also pointed out that the gradual Americanisation of Australia had been occurring over many decades and that its continuance was inevitable. “I have spoken with President Trump and he is keen to reward Australia for anything we do to emulate the way things are done in his own country.” Mr McLachlan said opinion polls that showed an overwhelming majority of Australians did not respect Mr Trump’s attitude towards Australia were part of the media’s “fake news” agenda.

      Mr McLachlan said that if the new timeslot was successful, he would consider a push to an even later timeslot in 2018. He even said that he may consider finding ways to rescind the AFL’s ongoing contract to play the Grand Final at the MCG in the future, as Australia had other great cities where he was confident the event could be a success.

      “I know that some people point to Sydney’s lockout laws as evidence that moving the Grand Final there would take away some of the atmosphere,” Mr McLachlan said. “But what these people need to realise is that Sydney has a higher number of corporate types who love their sport, and these people would still be able to access exclusive bars after the game. Additionally, the game could be followed by fireworks over the Harbour Bridge, a spectacle that attracts large crowds on New Year’s Eve.”

      Mr McLachlan did not take questions after the announcement.

      • Roar Guru

        March 16th 2017 @ 3:21pm
        Paul D said | March 16th 2017 @ 3:21pm | ! Report

        While I know it’s satire it’s illustrative of the tiny “chicken little” type minds who’d rather die in a ditch than see a football bounced 2 hours later on a particular Saturday, because it will apparently be the ruination of all we hold dear

      • March 16th 2017 @ 3:28pm
        Birdman said | March 16th 2017 @ 3:28pm | ! Report

        brilliant RA!

    • March 16th 2017 @ 4:45pm
      your kidding said | March 16th 2017 @ 4:45pm | ! Report

      They seem to change the rules of the game a bit every year. A bit baffled to why people would object to a change of time for a grand final.
      More viewers, more money, better spectacle . Seems to make sense.

    • March 16th 2017 @ 6:27pm
      Swannies said | March 16th 2017 @ 6:27pm | ! Report

      Should be a night grand final at the SCG…

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