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The public has spoken: we don't like AFL on Mondays

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan says the league plans to have "half-a-dozen" Thursday night games in 2015.

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan says the league plans to have "half-a-dozen" Thursday night games in 2015. Photo: Getty Images

The AFL has confirmed it is expecting to fixture six Thursday night games in 2015, with Monday nights abandoned and the precarious future of Sunday nights still to be determined.

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan said the AFL planned to have ‘‘half-a-dozen’’ Thursday night games and indicated it was unlikely there would be matches on Monday nights next season. 

‘‘We’ve deliberately trialled slots this year with an eye to the next broadcast deal,’’ he said on Friday. 

‘‘We’ll see how Sunday goes, but the general feedback is that there’s great support for Thursday nights, less support for Sundays (at night) and Mondays.’’

St Kilda and Carlton have played a regular Monday night spot that has drawn smaller than hoped crowds. 

‘‘We’ve had that same one for years,’’ he said. ‘‘We’re looking to Sunday night, we’ve trialled it, but for next year I can’t imagine there’ll be any definitively. We’ll see where Sunday, Monday goes. I can’t imagine any regular, even semi-regular, Monday slots.

‘‘You can sort of spike Mondays.’’

Sunday nights have been under scrutiny, with fans complaining about the late finish before a work day. 

McLachlan said Sunday night’s Collingwood-Carlton game would be expected to draw only 55,000, based on ladder positions, even if the match was played during the day.

‘‘Our estimates, based on table positions and the fact we are in the middle of winter, should be 55,000. 

‘‘If that was during the day, based on past crowds where Carlton lost their last four and they are where they are and Collingwood are where they are – the last time they were on the relative ladder positions, which is about 2005 or 2006 – they got 48,000 for one and 56,000 for another. So I would have said a 55,000 feels like it would be about right.’’

McLachlan said he expected ‘‘half a dozen’’ Thursday night matches. ‘‘We open the season on Thursdays and historically it’s a huge success.’’ 

These six games would be spread nationally. 

Adelaide’s Thursday night game against Collingwood was a ‘‘bonanza’’, but the collective bargaining agreement with the players makes it difficult for the league to fixture more than six Thursdays. 

While the AFL has approved a match on Good Friday, this is unlikely to happen in 2015 because the opening round falls on the Easter weekend, and the league plans to open with the semi-traditional Thursday night game between Carlton and Richmond, with Hawthorn and Geelong playing on Easter Monday.  

‘‘You have to innovate and try things if you want to progress,’’ said McLachlan, in a response to the fixturing complaints that have arisen this year.

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