Having already lost their MCG Grand Final, Melbourne-based AFL fans have been left fuming about this year’s historic night decider as opposed to the normal day time slot.
After wrestling with a change to the customary 2:30pm time slot for years, the AFL made the decision to trial a night Grand Final this year.
AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan has indicated that the success of this year’s decider will determine the time slot of future Grand Finals, but fans weren’t impressed in the lead-up to the blockbuster clash.
Speaking ahead of the Grand Final, McLachlan refused to rule out a return to the traditional afternoon bounce next season.
“What it does now in a way that’s unemotional, it’s out of Victoria, different state, I think people feel it’s a good time to have a look at it,” McLachlan of the new-look time slot.
“We’ll see where we get to … by the full siren on Saturday night. Everyone then will be able to have an objective view.
“Have a look at the start to finish, it’s going to be a beautiful winding lead in to the game, there’ll be something at half-time, and then a winner, hopefully after double extra-time.
“Then everyone can judge a night grand final on its merits.
“That’s what’s another part of this year, that we actually get to objectively have a look at it, without all the overlay of the traditional elements of the MCG on a Saturday (afternoon).”
Despite McLachlan’s optimism, Essendon great Dustin Fletcher, who appeared in three Grand Final during his career was one ex-player to voice his concerns about the new time slot.
“I’ve got to fire up, I’m not feeling the GF vibe yet,” Fletcher tweeted on Saturday morning.
Collingwood champion Tony Shaw, who captained the Magpies in the 1990 decider was also left unimpressed by the new-look Grand Final bounce time.
“It doesn’t gel with me,” Shaw told 3AW.
“I think this day should come to an end early so we can then all celebrate.
“Finishing the game at 10:30, I wouldn’t want to do it as a player.”
Shaw and Fletcher were far from the only Melbourne-based footy fans to be left unimpressed with a change to one of the AFL’s great traditions.