Captains back day AFL grand final

Richmond skipper Trent Cotchin, who held the premiership cup aloft in 2017, suggested the current time was more family friendly.

“I have got kids. If it was a night game, it would be more of a challenge to have them there,” he said.

“Standing out here in the sunshine, it’s a pretty special colosseum, as they call it. I am glad it’s a day game but I think every other captain would say if you are playing in it, it wouldn’t matter when you were playing.”

Hawthorn captain Ben Stratton, a three-time premiership defender, backed the latest decision.

“I would be happy for it to be staying in the afternoon,” he said.

Stratton said the ball could be harder to handle in greasy conditions later in the day but “having said that, a couple of years we had a grand final that was 30 degrees”.

“Whatever they do, the players are just going to morph around it and it will become normal,” he said.

Magpies champion Scott Pendlebury, a premiership player in 2010 and a losing grand-final skipper last year, said he did not mind what time the game started.

Carlton skipper Patrick Cripps, ready to officially lead the Blues for the first time, summed up the general mood of all captains.

“I would love to be a part of it (grand final), to be honest. I doesn’t really bother me, either way. If you are in it, I don’t think you really mind where you are going to play,” he said.

McLachlan has said it is “inevitable” that the league will trial a twilight grand final, adding in his season-opening address on Thursday night that change could be a good thing.

“The difficult thing when you love something so much, is to recognise when change is in the best interest of the game, when action should override standing still, when vision for a stronger footy future should override the beating drums of nostalgia,” he said.

Should an evening grand final be a success, and a ratings boost, it would help the league generate more revenue in the next round of broadcast negotiations.

Jon Pierik is a sports writer with The Age, focusing primarily on AFL football, cricket and basketball. He has won awards for his cricket and basketball writing.

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