The AFL Grand Final hasn’t been played at the MCG for two years and its return could come with a big change.
AFL boss Gillon McLachlan is preparing fans for this year’s grand final to move away from the traditional 2.30pm start after successful night and dusk deciders between states over the past two seasons.
The grand final will return to its normal home at the MCG for the first time since 2019 after being played at the Gabba in Brisbane in 2020 and last year at the Optus Stadium in Perth due to border restrictions.
The deciding game in Brisbane, won by Richmond, was played at night with a 6.30pm local start, while last year’s game in Perth, won by Melbourne, had a 5.15pm local start, which is 7.15pm in Melbourne.
Both matches featured the Premier’s Cup under the lights, as well as post-match celebrations and half-time entertainment.
While a nighttime grand final with a start after 7 p.m. is not on the table for the AFL committee which could decide the start time as early as next week, on Friday McLachlan gave the strongest indication to that day that the late afternoon departure was on the cards. this
“It won’t be night, it will either be dusk or day,” McLachlan told 3AW.
“The pinnacle of our season was presented in excellent fashion both times (in Brisbane and Perth).
“It’s a different presentation, but I think they were both great grand finals.
“Victorians never had the experience of being at dusk.
“A lot of people last year thought it was an amazing presentation last year.”
McLachlan acknowledged that many people were rusty over the tradition of an early afternoon for the grand final, with most polls indicating fans don’t want a change.
But that may not be enough to stop the AFL commission from accepting the league’s view that the match should end in the floodlights.
“I know a lot of people don’t even want to think about it, and I respect that,” McLachlan said.
“I think there is a heritage component and a tradition that is very important to many football fans,
“So please, please be aware that everyone understands that
“It’s a Commission decision, I’m sure it will be taken next week. It’s just something that is decided in the course of business.
“At some point we will have to make a decision.