AFL must be ready to move to twilight grand final

“They will no doubt go with a twilight GF when they are ready because … year one needs to be right more than any other year. They will go twilight when they are ready.”

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan revealed on Monday that the AFL Commission would consider a recommendation on when the grand final is played in 2019 in the pre-season meeting and AFL chairman Richard Goyder told News Corp on Saturday the AFL “should give it a go”.

The AFL has been adamant any decision would not be about money with conventional wisdom being that a twilight or night grand final would be better for the host broadcaster.

The AFL retained in their agreement autonomy over all scheduling decisions and has so far resisted the temptation to move the grand final from the afternoon.

“Gil has shown great patience and when he is ready to take this move he will make it but not before then,” Martin said.

Preliminary finals have been regularly played at night or in the twilight when travel considerations need to be taken into account.

The grand final started at 2:30pm last season and has never started later than 2:55pm. A twilight game would begin at 4:40pm while a night grand final would begin at 7:50pm.

Seven and pay TV channel Foxtel have the AFL rights until the end of 2022.

On Monday, McLachlan gave no indication as to which way the AFL was leaning.

“The core of the debate is no different … I think it (a twilight or night grand final) is inevitable, but that is a view for some time in the future,” McLachlan said.

Martin said he would wait the for the decision this week and then act accordingly.

“We’re happy either way and whatever comes from the commission meeting we will be there with sleeves rolled up to try to make it the best experience possible for everyone,” Martin said.

Peter Ryan is a sports reporter with The Age covering AFL, horse racing and other sports.

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