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Timeslot for 2022 Grand Final no sure thing

Melburne players got to celebrate their AFL Grand Final win under lights in Perth (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan was blow away by how “spectacular” Saturday’s twilight Grand Final was in Perth and couldn’t rule out a similar timeslot when the game returns to the MCG in 2022.

Barring another Covid disaster, the Grand Final will be back in Melbourne next year, where the AFL has a contract play the game until 2058.

After two years on the road, first in Brisbane in 2020 then Perth this year, the Grand Final has been played as a night game at the Gabba then a twilight game in Perth with a 5:15pm local start.

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A return to the MCG could see a return to the traditional day Grand Final, but having witnessed the effects of a twilight game, McLachlan said “nothing could be taken for granted”.

“It was pretty spectacular,” he said on 3AW.

“I don’t know if it picked it up on television, but the light late in the day… it was a beautiful day here, and the light just faded into black.

“It was a pretty good slot, I thought. I like where it was for this stadium – I think it worked perfectly.

“But the MCG’s different. We’ll process it and have a look.”

Pre-match entertainment before the 2021 Toyota AFL Grand Final started in daylight (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)
Pre-match entertainment before the 2021 Toyota AFL Grand Final started in daylight (Photo by Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

The Grand Final timing is an annual hot topic and fans remain divided on the best timeslot.

McLachlan said a on the MCG’s likely 2022 hosting time would be reviewed by the AFL commission with no decision imminent.

“I don’t think anything should be taken for granted. We’ll have a look at it,” he told 3AW.

“I know how many people want it during the day at the MCG.

“I think you play it on its merits given the venue, the state, the circumstance.”

McLachlan also had some sympathy for Grand Final MC Basil Zempilas who has attracted severe criticism for not allowing winning Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin to make a speech.

Zempilas forgot to invite Goodwin to the microphone before the Demons were presented with the premiership cup.

“It was a mistake. Mistakes happen, it was disappointing for Simon. But it was a mistake,” McLachlan said.

“Simon will have his moment and I don‘t think it’ll stop the Dees supporters from loving every minute of it, too much.”

Simon Goodwin didn’t get to make a speech (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)
Simon Goodwin didn’t get to make a speech (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)
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