Fan loyalty should be rewarded with a day Grand Final

The AFL should reward loyal fans by returning the Grand Final to their preferred afternoon timeslot, the AFL Fans Association says.

Polls have long shown that most fans prefer a day game. The latest AFLFA Twitter poll drew 1054 responses with 79.9% per cent preferring afternoon, 17.3 per cent twilight and 2.8 per cent night.

AFL Fans Association president Cheryl Critchley says fans have shown amazing loyalty over the past two seasons and that should be rewarded by returning the Grand Final to their preferred time slot.

She says as many tickets as possible should also be allocated to competing club members. Each club gets 17,000 but the AFLFA would like to see that lifted to at least 20,000 and ideally 25,000.

“AFL club members have been incredibly loyal throughout the pandemic, with many continuing to pay their fees despite being unable to attend any games in 2020 and a reduced number in 2021.

“Most fans want a day Grand Final, which has worked well for many years. The build-up and atmosphere at the ground and in private parties around Australia are part of what makes footy unique.

“The day is divided up evenly between pre-game festivities and entertainment, the match itself and plenty of time to celebrate with friends and family afterwards.”

Cheryl says few Richmond members, including those who pay extra for guaranteed access to Grand Final tickets, got to see their club win the 2020 premiership in Brisbane.

“Most Melbourne members also missed out on seeing their club break a 57-year premiership drought in 2021 when the Grand Final was held in Perth,” she says. “They and other fans deserve to be rewarded with their preferred timeslot and more tickets for competing club members.”

The AFLFA is also concerned about the floating fixture, which makes it hard for fans to plan travel, work and big occasions like weddings and milestone birthdays. “The floating fixture was needed when COVID-19 could disrupt game times and locations, sometimes at the last minute,” Cheryl says.

“This is no longer a big risk, so fans deserve more certainty moving forward. While we knew which club was playing which in each round before the season started, fans haven’t found out what day or time this would be until closer to the game. This makes it hard to plan.”