The last daytime footy grand final?
Our footy panel discuss the possibility that this year's grand final could be the last played in the daytime.PT0M0S 620 349
THE AFL continues to warm to the idea of a twilight grand final.
Chief executive Andrew Demetriou and chief operating officer Gillon McLachlan both came out in favour of the timeslot yesterday, after the success of the Hawthorn-Adelaide preliminary final at 5.15pm.
Asked if the grand final would work better as a twilight event, Mr Demetriou said: ''I don't know that. What I do know is that we had a twilight preliminary final last week which was a huge success. Not just because it rated its socks off, but just because there seemed to be a lot of children [who] attended the game. When you consider the game finished [at] about quarter to eight, it was a beautiful night, it was just a wonderful thing. [It] started at five or 5.15 … Half-time is in the dark, you never know.''
Andrew Demtriou and Gillon McLachlan. Photo: Getty Images
The league supremo later said he was merely ''speaking out loud'' about the possibility of a future twilight grand final.
But there is no doubt the AFL had its eyes opened by last week's ratings figures, up by 1 million on a day game.
Under the current broadcast agreement, which lasts until 2016, the grand final is to be played on a Saturday afternoon. But if the parties agree, this can be changed.
''It was a great success, the other night, we thought,'' Mr McLachlan told Triple M. ''It seems to have been well received and it's certainly something that we'd look at, but people have gone into overdrive a bit, I think … It's interesting. When we pushed it at 5.15 for the prelim, there was a bit of push back but no one really knew why, just because people don't like change.
''I've always thought twilight was a great time. You can get the kids there and get home, some people go to the game after sport and then people can go out to dinner and do what they want afterwards. I actually think it's a great slot.''
Meanwhile, AFL chiefs have an eye on the weather today in case the annual grand final parade through the streets of Melbourne cannot go ahead. Mr Demetriou admitted yesterday that if the weather forecast turned out to be true the parade could be called off.
''Obviously if it rains too heavily and there's hail, that makes it difficult for the parade to proceed,'' he said. ''But look, all the players want to participate in the parade. It's one of the great things they get to participate in. And we don't want to deny 100,000 people the opportunity to watch the parade through the streets of Melbourne.'' A possible thunderstorm with hail is forecast for Melbourne today.
Mr Demetriou yesterday met members of the Melbourne band Temper Trap, who will lead the entertainment at tomorrow's grand final at the MCG. He was surprised to learn that band member Toby Dundas had played on the MCG, as a little-leaguer years ago. ''We grew up here, or most of us did,'' said another band member, Lorenzo Sillitto.