AAP AFL

AFL makes no change to grand final start

By AAP Newswire

Collingwood president Eddie McGuire wants the AFL to try a twilight grand final, saying it will add to the spectacle and boost viewer numbers.

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan announced at Thursday night's season launch that the start time will remain at 2.30pm.

The confirmation follows the now-annual speculation about whether the AFL will move to a twilight or night start time for the premiership decider.

Earlier on Thursday, the AFL Commission accepted McLachlan's recommendation that the status quo should remain.

But McGuire said the game would be even better as a spectacle if it is held later in the day.

"There's a thing in show business called 'prime time' - it's called that for a reason," he said.

"It's important for our game to continue to grow and make sure we are the most-watched game of the year.

"We don't want to get beaten by Married At First Sight.

"It's no big deal, the grand final is fantastic, but if you want to have a spectacle, that's the way to do it."

McLachlan said the AFL had discussed the issue since before Christmas.

On the weekend, commission chairman Richard Goyder said he would like the AFL to trial a twilight start.

"It was more the debate over a period of time, rather than today - today was more finalising," McLachlan said.

"There's a diversity of view on this and it's something that continues to be talked about.

"The tradition at the moment and the support for the status quo in the community outweighs the opportunity.

"Until people feel there's a different balance, it will stay the same."

McLachlan said no vote was taken at Thursday's commission meeting, but that they reached a consensus.

He has said a couple of times that he thinks eventually the AFL will try a later time slot.

"There's not a timeframe on that, I just think that at some point there will be a change," he said.

"But when is the right time? And the commission has decided it's not the right time now."

Last year's grand final was an epic, with West Coast beating Collingwood by five points.

Eagles chief executive Trevor Nisbett said they thought the league would move to a twilight start this year and they are glad it remains at 2.30pm.

"We expected it to go twilight seeing as it was floated," Nisbett said.

"Quite frankly we probably have the same philosophy as any club - if you're lucky enough to be in it that's wonderful.

"Personally, I think the day slot works, but seeing as it's been floated for a long time we think it's probably inevitable that it will change (at some point)."