While McLachlan repeated that the change to evening was inevitable, he also said that a majority of the public still favoured retaining a day grand final, and that “incumbency often prevails” in decision-making.
“I think it’s inevitable, but that’s a view about at some point in the future,” he said.
McLachlan also said the decision was “not a money issue” and that the league would not receive any further dollars from the broadcasters if they made the switch this year.
“Last year’s grand final was one of the best days of sport I’ve been to … what a day,” said McLachlan, who would not be drawn on the recommendation.
“Every room I walk into, every online survey, every focus group – the majority want to keep it.
“You will find incumbency often prevails.”
McLachlan said he was not sold on the need to change the fixture to a 17-5 format in which teams played clubs in the same “third” of the ladder in the final five home and away matches.
McLachlan said the competition’s increased evenness made a fixture change less necessary. “Right now … 15 of the 18 clubs think their club is going to make the eight.”