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More Saturday afternoon football at the MCG next year

AFL is set to return to the MCG on Saturday afternoons in season 2015.

AFL is set to return to the MCG on Saturday afternoons in season 2015. Photo: Wayne Taylor

Saturday afternoon football at the MCG, the once-traditional punctuation mark of winters in Melbourne, will creep back into the AFL calendar next season.

League bosses formulating the 2015 calendar in a bid to attract better crowds in Melbourne are working to restore more Saturday matches at the game's traditional home as the MCG pledges to roll out its multi-million-dollar technology overhaul.

In a 2014 season beset by messy extended byes, the early unavailability of the MCG and irregular Thursday and Sunday night games, the MCG sat empty over more than two-thirds of the available Saturday afternoons. In 2013, only six Saturday afternoon games were fixtured there.

Not only will the stadium host more Saturday afternoon games but it will also host more blockbusters, expected to generally kick off at 1.45pm, in line with the AFL's broadcasting contracts. But next year the AFL has pledged to put its fans ahead of the broadcasters despite starting negotiations for a new media deal within the next six months.

This season, of the AFL's 25 available Saturday afternoons, eight were played at the MCG with just one at the traditional 2.10pm start – a Hawthorn-Collingwood game which attracted more than 74,000 fans. Big Saturday afternoon games have been phased out over the years due to television demands despite consistently attracting big crowds.

As AFL clubs put the finishing touches to their requests for 2015, which are due in next week, a Carlton-Richmond season-opener at the MCG is virtually locked in for Thursday, April 2, with a Good Friday fixture remaining uncertain. One bye is expected to be structured over three weeks of six games each.

The back-to-the-future attempt to bring quality Saturday afternoon games back to the MCG will come as good news for Melbourne's radio networks, whose extensive weekend AFL coverage has been hurt by the large number of relatively unappealing games scheduled in the once-key timeslots.

MCG boss Stephen Gough told Fairfax Media this week that his stadium had been heartened by league chief Gillon McLachlan's undertaking to revamp next year's fixture in favour of live crowds. That stadium's long-term deal with the AFL demands 10 of the best 12 home-and-away games each season and a contracted minimum annual attendance of 1.7 million, not including finals. Last year a total of 2.7 million fans attended AFL games at the MCG with 2.34 million of those during home-and-away rounds.

Geelong also will push for more more day games at its home ground. Club chief Brian Cook said the Cats' attendances had been hurt by the league's move to schedule six night games at Simonds this year and that the club would struggle to make a profit in 2014. Geelong is lobbying the AFL for an eighth home game at Kardinia Park.

The AFL is also understood to have stopped short of any radical overhaul of the Tasmanian schedule with Hawthorn's contract to host four games in Launceston until the end of 2016 and North to extend its agreement in Hobart for a two-to-three-game two-year deal. This is despite McLachlan's stated preference for a one-team model playing games in both Tasmanian cities.

Etihad Stadium remains the AFL's preferred night venue in Melbourne, with that ground still guaranteed an extra 10 remaining games over the next decade as part of its most recent agreement with the league. Etihad, which lost its chance to host a final last season when the AFL moved the Geelong-Fremantle clash to Geelong, remains hopeful of a week-one final fixture in September this season, particularly if home club North Melbourne wins the right to host a final.

36 comments so far

  • a drovers dog could have worked this out. How much do these people get paid?! Makes us furious. Ofcourse Saturday afternoon games are the answer.

    Date and time
    August 01, 2014, 9:01PM
    • who ever organised this years draft should be stripped of their salary. anyone with half a brain could have worked out this was never going to benefit the fans. Collingwood last four matches, including tomorrows Sunday start 4.30 pm. pathetic! and not a single game being played in Melbourne this Saturday afternoon

      Date and time
      August 02, 2014, 11:22AM
    • While it's all about Melbourne it appears other cities in the national comp are going to get more of the undesired slots to suit TV. I am going to wait until the fixture is released for next season before renewing my $600 per year seated membership and if Fremantle get a bunch more Sunday games I will stick with Foxtel and just buy tickets to 2 or 3 games throughout the year (while always remaining an unseated member). I HATE going to the footy on Sunday afternoons so usually don't attend. Anyway, we'll probably be talking about the dismal attendances in Perth and Adelaide once Melbourne is sorted- the fact is that games should be played at the same time not spread out one at a time over the weekend so TV can show each game. There should be two Friday night matches, the bulk on Saturday afternoon and Saturday night, two on a Sunday (no later than 1pm start in the city it is played).

      Date and time
      August 02, 2014, 11:39AM
  • I don't live in Melbourne so it doesn't matter to me but heh, Saturday afternoon at G! I was in Melbourne a few years ago and went to a Saturday game. Just thinking now about walking through the parklands to the game gives me goosebumps.

    All sports have sold their souls to the broadcasters to some extent but now is the time for the AFL to claw a bit back.

    Date and time
    August 01, 2014, 9:04PM
    • Sorry but I really doubt it. Kids are migrating to soccer due to lack of kid friendly day games. Afl don't care. Don't be surprised when aussie rules numbers drop off in the next decade or so.

      Date and time
      August 01, 2014, 9:34PM
      • Skeptic. Keep trolling and speaking up your beloved soccer lol, seriously, what parent would take kids to soccer over AFL, soccer where fans rip up seats, let of flares, fight each other pathetic. Speaking of A League when is its season , that's right had to be moved as couldn't compete with AFL and NRL

        Go Blues
        Date and time
        August 01, 2014, 11:17PM
      • Agreed. I went to the MCG to see a game when last in Melbourne. I'd heard all this talk about 'great atmosphere' etc....nope. I've been to Championship games back home with more atmosphere. AFL is a bit like other minority sports, the less interested the world is, the more deluded the sports fans become. Remember, this games been around 150 one cares.

        Date and time
        August 02, 2014, 8:33AM
      • Damn Right, AFL have lost me so sick and tired of the AFL thinking they run Victoria and they can't be criticized. A League has much better atmosphere.

        Phillip J Fry
        A Proud MVFC Memeber
        Date and time
        August 02, 2014, 3:32PM
    • The fans prefer Saturday afternoon footy? Totes amaze balls...
      The fans don't want twilight, starlight, spotlight games on school nights? RU4REAL?
      Next you'll be saying the fans want a fair dinkum draw, affordably priced tickets and Collingwood to actually play outside Victoria every now and then...
      Get me a new CEO. This one has gone fully cray cray.

      Date and time
      August 01, 2014, 9:39PM
      • Or even Essendon, Carlton, Richmond or Geelong to play a game outside of Victoria occasionally as well.

        Date and time
        August 01, 2014, 11:28PM

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    AFL 2015

    Round 1
    Thu, 02 AprTimes shown AEDT
    CAR 78vs RIC 105 Report Stats
    Sat, 04 AprTimes shown AEDT
    MEL 115vs GCF 89 Stats
    SYD 72vs ESS 60 Stats
    BRI 74vs COL 86 Stats
    WBU 97vs WCE 87 Stats
    Sun, 05 AprTimes shown AEST
    STK 78vs GWS 87 Stats
    ADE 140vs NTH 63 Stats
    FRE 75vs PTA 68 Stats
    Mon, 06 AprTimes shown AEST
    HAW 123vs GEE 61 Stats
    View All Fixtures
    Round 2
    Fri, 10 AprTimes shown AEST
    WCE 131vs CAR 62 Stats
    Sat, 11 AprTimes shown AEST
    RIC 66vs WBU 85 Report Stats
    GWS 101vs MEL 56 Stats
    COL 63vs ADE 90 Report Stats
    GCF 76vs STK 104 Stats
    PTA 44vs SYD 92 Stats
    Sun, 12 AprTimes shown AEST
    GEE 60vs FRE 104 Stats
    ESS 78vs HAW 76 Stats
    NTH 133vs BRI 51 Stats
    View All Fixtures
    Round 3
    Fri, 17 AprTimes shown AEST
    COL 140vs STK 66 Stats
    Sat, 18 AprTimes shown AEST
    CAR 84vs ESS 105 Stats
    ADE 80vs MEL 55 Stats
    SYD 111vs GWS 90 Report Stats
    NTH 105vs PTA 113 Stats
    BRI 58vs RIC 137 Stats
    Sun, 19 AprTimes shown AEST
    HAW 127vs WBU 57 Stats
    GEE 105vs GCF 96 Stats
    WCE 81vs FRE 111 Stats
    View All Fixtures
    Round 4
    Fri, 24 AprTimes shown AEST
    RIC 51vs MEL 83 Stats
    Sat, 25 AprTimes shown AEST
    STK 81vs CAR 121 Report Report Stats
    ESS 49vs COL 69 Report Stats
    GWS 119vs GCF 53 Stats
    PTA 99vs HAW 91 Stats
    FRE 74vs SYD 60 Stats
    Sun, 26 AprTimes shown AEST
    BRI 65vs WCE 118 Stats
    GEE 67vs NTH 83 Stats
    WBU 125vs ADE 68 Stats
    View All Fixtures
    Round 5
    Fri, 01 MayTimes shown AEST
    CAR 45vs COL 120 Stats
    Sat, 02 MayTimes shown AEST
    RIC 76vs GEE 85 Stats
    SYD 73vs WBU 77 Stats
    GCF 118vs BRI 54 Stats
    NTH 70vs HAW 130 Stats
    WCE 120vs GWS 33 Stats
    Sun, 03 MayTimes shown AEST
    MEL 50vs FRE 118 Stats
    STK 80vs ESS 82 Stats
    ADE 91vs PTA 115 Stats
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    Round 6
    Fri, 08 MayTimes shown AEST
    COL 59vs GEE 100 Stats
    Sat, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
    NTH 109vs RIC 74 Stats
    WBU 87vs STK 94 Stats
    GWS 108vs HAW 98 Stats
    GCF 78vs ADE 119 Stats
    MEL 50vs SYD 88 Stats
    FRE 80vs ESS 52 Stats
    Sun, 10 MayTimes shown AEST
    CAR 75vs BRI 84 Report Stats
    PTA 68vs WCE 78 Stats
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    Round 7
    Fri, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
    ESS 82vs NTH 93 Stats
    Sat, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
    ADE 119vs STK 73 Stats
    HAW 155vs MEL 50 Stats
    CAR 57vs GWS 135 Stats
    SYD 120vs GEE 77 Stats
    WCE 135vs GCF 43 Stats
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    WBU 88vs FRE 101 Stats
    RIC 105vs COL 100 Stats
    BRI 102vs PTA 65 Report Stats
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    Round 8
    Fri, 22 MayTimes shown AEST
    GEE 140vs CAR 63 Report Stats
    Sat, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
    STK 78vs WCE 131 Report Stats
    GWS 108vs ADE 84 Report Stats
    GCF 63vs COL 132 Report Stats
    HAW 69vs SYD 73 Report Stats
    FRE 115vs NTH 42 Report Stats
    Sun, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
    ESS 136vs BRI 78 Report Stats
    MEL 103vs WBU 64 Report Stats
    PTA 43vs RIC 76 Report Stats
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    Round 9
    Fri, 29 MayTimes shown AEST
    SYD 122vs CAR 62 Report Stats
    Sat, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
    HAW 93vs GCF 40 Report Stats
    MEL 54vs PTA 115 Report Stats
    WBU 113vs GWS 68 Report Stats
    RIC 72vs ESS 59 Report Stats
    ADE 57vs FRE 68 Report Stats
    Sun, 31 MayTimes shown AEST
    BRI 86vs STK 108 Report Stats
    COL 112vs NTH 95 Report Stats
    WCE 120vs GEE 64 Report Stats
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    Round 10
    Fri, 05 JunTimes shown AEST
    FRE 70vs RIC 97 Report Stats
    Sat, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
    CAR 90vs ADE 99 Report Stats
    GCF 41vs SYD 93 Report Stats
    ESS 53vs GEE 122 Report Stats
    PTA 100vs WBU 62 Report Stats
    Sun, 07 JunTimes shown AEST
    GWS 97vs BRI 67 Report Stats
    NTH 85vs WCE 75 Report Stats
    STK 69vs HAW 132 Report Stats
    Mon, 08 JunTimes shown AEST
    MEL 85vs COL 110 Report Stats
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    Round 11
    Fri, 12 JunTimes shown AEST
    PTA 69vs GEE 92 Report Stats
    Sat, 13 JunTimes shown AEST
    GCF 46vs FRE 53 Report Stats
    WCE 96vs ESS 46 Report Stats
    NTH 75vs SYD 91 Report Report Stats
    Sun, 14 JunTimes shown AEST
    COL 119vs GWS 77 Report Stats
    STK 85vs MEL 83 Report Stats
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    Round 12
    Thu, 18 JunTimes shown AEST
    ADE 85vs HAW 114 Report Stats
    Fri, 19 JunTimes shown AEST
    RIC 70vs WCE 90 Report Stats
    Sat, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
    CAR 110vs PTA 106 Report Stats
    GWS 61vs NTH 117 Report Stats
    WBU 146vs BRI 74 Report Stats
    Sun, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
    GEE 89vs MEL 113 Report Stats
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    Round 13
    Thu, 25 JunTimes shown AEST
    FRE 80vs COL 73 Report Stats
    Fri, 26 JunTimes shown AEST
    SYD 77vs RIC 95 Report Stats
    Sat, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
    HAW 114vs ESS 76 Report Stats
    BRI 69vs ADE 82 Report Stats
    STK 56vs WBU 62 Report Stats
    Sun, 28 JunTimes shown AEST
    CAR 103vs GCF 69 Report Stats
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    Round 14
    Thu, 02 JulTimes shown AEST
    SYD 94vs PTA 84 Report Stats
    Fri, 03 JulTimes shown AEST
    COL 91vs HAW 101 Report Stats
    Sat, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
    RIC 78vs GWS 69 Report Stats
    GCF 125vs NTH 70 Report Stats
    WBU 64vs CAR 53 Report Stats
    MEL 60vs WCE 114 Report Stats
    Sun, 05 JulTimes shown AEST
    ESS 52vs STK 162 Stats
    ADE vs GEE 15:20Adelaide Oval
    FRE 84vs BRI 48 Report Stats
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    Round 15
    Thu, 09 JulTimes shown AEST
    PTA 66vs COL 63 Report Stats
    Fri, 10 JulTimes shown AEST
    RIC 71vs CAR 41 Report Stats
    Sat, 11 JulTimes shown AEST
    ESS 69vs MEL 60 Report Stats
    WBU 95vs GCF 73 Report Stats
    NTH 120vs GEE 79 Report Stats
    WCE 147vs ADE 91 Report Stats
    Sun, 12 JulTimes shown AEST
    GWS 84vs STK 49 Report Stats
    HAW 115vs FRE 43 Report Stats
    BRI 49vs SYD 70 Report Stats
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    Round 16
    Fri, 17 JulTimes shown AEST
    NTH 93vs ESS 68 Report Stats
    Sat, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
    GEE 72vs WBU 64 Report Stats
    GCF 79vs GWS 94 Report Stats
    COL 56vs WCE 87 Report Stats
    SYD 57vs HAW 146 Report Stats
    FRE 95vs CAR 53 Report Stats
    Sun, 19 JulTimes shown AEST
    MEL 60vs BRI 36 Report Stats
    PTA 113vs ADE 116 Report Stats
    STK 73vs RIC 89 Report Stats
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    Round 17
    Fri, 24 JulTimes shown AEST
    CAR 35vs HAW 173 Report Stats
    Sat, 25 JulTimes shown AEST
    GWS 42vs GEE 69 Stats
    ADE 125vs GCF 80 Stats
    RIC 78vs FRE 82 Stats
    ESS 116vs PTA 129 Stats
    BRI 38vs NTH 110 Report Stats
    Sun, 26 JulTimes shown AEST
    WBU 104vs COL 86 Report Stats
    MEL 46vs STK 83 Report Stats
    WCE 103vs SYD 51 Report Stats
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    Round 18
    Fri, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
    HAW 53vs RIC 71 Report Stats
    Sat, 01 AugTimes shown AEST
    GEE 113vs BRI 57 Stats
    COL 54vs MEL 91 Report Stats
    SYD 117vs ADE 65 Report Stats
    CAR 54vs NTH 118 Report Stats
    GCF 83vs WCE 83 Report Stats
    Sun, 02 AugTimes shown AEST
    PTA 112vs STK 49 Report Stats
    ESS 40vs WBU 127 Report Stats
    FRE 84vs GWS 63 Report Stats
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    Round 19
    Fri, 07 AugTimes shown AEST
    ADE 88vs RIC 52 Report Stats
    Sat, 08 AugTimes shown AEST
    COL 105vs CAR 87 Report Stats
    WBU 128vs PTA 64 Report Stats
    BRI 100vs GCF 114 Report Stats
    GEE 95vs SYD 63 Report Stats
    WCE 74vs HAW 88 Report Stats
    Sun, 09 AugTimes shown AEST
    MEL 92vs NTH 127 Report Stats
    GWS 93vs ESS 61 Report Stats
    STK 59vs FRE 96 Report Stats
    View All Fixtures
    Round 20
    Fri, 14 AugTimes shown AEST
    SYD 87vs COL 76 Report Stats
    Sat, 15 AugTimes shown AEST
    ESS 59vs ADE 171 Report Stats
    NTH 120vs STK 83 Report Stats
    PTA 111vs GWS 90 Report Stats
    GEE 85vs HAW 121 Report Stats
    BRI 131vs CAR 67 Report Stats
    Sun, 16 AugTimes shown AEST
    RIC 138vs GCF 55 Report Stats
    WBU 153vs MEL 55 Report Stats
    FRE 80vs WCE 104 Report Stats
    View All Fixtures
    Round 21
    Fri, 21 AugTimes shown AEST
    HAW 86vs PTA 108 Report Stats
    Sat, 22 AugTimes shown AEST
    COL 56vs RIC 147 Report Stats
    GWS 44vs SYD 133 Report Stats
    GCF 97vs ESS 95 Report Stats
    STK 97vs GEE 97 Report Stats
    ADE 131vs BRI 44 Report Stats
    Sun, 23 AugTimes shown AEST
    NTH 94vs FRE 83 Report Stats
    CAR 78vs MEL 55 Report Stats
    WCE 162vs WBU 85 Report Stats
    View All Fixtures
    Round 22
    Fri, 28 AugTimes shown AEST
    GEE 62vs COL 110 Report Stats
    Sat, 29 AugTimes shown AEST
    GWS 132vs CAR 51 Report Stats
    HAW 134vs BRI 62 Report Stats
    NTH 73vs WBU 96 Report Stats
    ESS 47vs RIC 74 Report Stats
    GCF 51vs PTA 88 Report Stats
    Sun, 30 AugTimes shown AEST
    ADE 126vs WCE 69 Report Stats
    STK 38vs SYD 135 Report Stats
    FRE 108vs MEL 54 Report Stats
    View All Fixtures
    Round 23
    Fri, 04 SepTimes shown AEST
    RIC 108vs NTH 67 Report Stats
    Sat, 05 SepTimes shown AEST
    GEE 119vs ADE 80 Report Stats
    BRI 130vs WBU 122 Report Stats
    PTA 122vs FRE 53 Report Stats
    HAW 113vs CAR 56 Report Stats
    SYD 127vs GCF 64 Report Stats
    WCE 125vs STK 30 Report Stats
    Sun, 06 SepTimes shown AEST
    MEL 103vs GWS 77 Report Stats
    COL 92vs ESS 95 Report Stats
    View All Fixtures
    Round 24
    Fri, 11 SepTimes shown AEST
    WCE 96vs HAW 64 Report Stats
    Sat, 12 SepTimes shown AEST
    FRE 69vs SYD 60 Report Stats
    WBU 102vs ADE 109 Report Stats
    Sun, 13 SepTimes shown AEST
    RIC 88vs NTH 105 Report Stats
    View All Fixtures
    Round 25
    Fri, 18 SepTimes shown AEST
    HAW 135vs ADE 61 Report Stats
    Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
    SYD 51vs NTH 77 Report Report Stats
    View All Fixtures
    Round 26
    Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
    FRE 67vs HAW 94 Report Stats
    Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
    WCE 80vs NTH 55 Report Stats
    View All Fixtures
    Round 27
    Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
    HAW 107vs WCE 61 Report Stats
    View All Fixtures
    AFL 2015
    Overall standings
    Team P W L D % Pts
    Fremantle 22 17 5 0 118.73 68
    West Coast Eagles 22 16 5 1 148.22 66
    Hawthorn 22 16 6 0 158.40 64
    Sydney Swans 22 16 6 0 127.12 64
    Richmond 22 15 7 0 123.09 60
    Western Bulldogs 22 14 8 0 115.12 56
    Adelaide Crows 21 13 8 0 115.71 54
    North Melbourne 22 13 9 0 106.45 52
    View all

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