AFL set to announce grand final time slot

The AFL is poised to reveal the start time for this year’s grand final, with a distinct possibility it will be played in a twilight slot for the first time in Melbourne.

A decision was made at Wednesday’s AFL Commission meeting but the call has been a tightly held secret this week.

Officials did not want to overshadow the announcement of the new AFLW pay deal, details of which were confirmed by the league on Thursday.


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The men’s grand final announcement could be made as soon as Friday.

The premiership decider will return to Melbourne’s MCG this year after being played in Perth last season and Brisbane the year prior because of COVID-19 impacts.

The 2020 finale at the Gabba started at 6.30pm local time and last year’s Optus Stadium playoff began at 5.15pm local time, 7.15pm in the eastern states.

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan has already ruled out a night game at the MCG.

The league was weighing up the benefits of a twilight fixture, starting at about 4.30pm in Melbourne, compared to the traditional 2.30pm first bounce.

McLachlan is regarded as a supporter of the later slot, which he says allows greater entertainment options and better presentation of the premiership decider.

Significantly increased television ratings over the last two years are another factor that was taken into account.

“We respect that people like their rituals and the traditions,” McLachlan said on Monday.

“So it’s, is the game presented better for the biggest game of the year (at twilight) … as opposed to people at the core of our game, a lot of people like the tradition of 2.30pm.

“So that is the harder discussion.”

McLachlan added: “I want to acknowledge to all of our supporters, we understand that a lot of people don’t want it to change.

“But also when you look at how it has been presented the last couple of years, there’s also a lot of people who really like the twilight and think it presents well.”

Before the 2020 and 2021 grand finals were moved from Melbourne, the AFL had announced they would be afternoon fixtures at the MCG.

© AAP 2022