These Richmond Tigers will be remembered as a dynasty after securing their third premiership in four years with a stirring 31-point win against Geelong at a historic Gabba night grand final, but the time and location of the game didn’t sit well with fans.
While the AFL world was revelling in the Tigers’ 12.9 (81) to 7.8 (50) win, social media ticked over all day with those lamenting the move.
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Before the game even started, there was talk it might have to be postponed with inclement weather in the lead up and thunder storms expected.
The wild weather didn’t eventuate but the wait for the first bounce proved to be too much for some.
The prime-time shift may benefit the TV audience, but it didn’t sit well with traditionalists.
After the game, very few had been convinced of the merits of an evening decider at the MCG in the future.
7 News Melbourne producer Matt Thompson tweeted “Night Grand Final here to stay” but quickly had SMH Canberra bureau chief Angus Livingstone and sports journalist Mark Gottlieb hitting back.
“It would be a real shame if the community rhythm of Grand Final Day, which the AFL has done really well to build on with the post-GF concert etc, was disrupted because ad revenue might be slightly higher at night,” Livingstone tweeted.
Gottlieb added: “It would be a real shame if community sentiment, which is heavily against a night grand final, was ignored because a couple of people like fireworks and light shows at the footy.”
The dark sky gave a much different look to the 2020 decider.Source:Getty Images
Victorian opposition leader Michael O’Brien joined in the conversation as well.
“Now can we agree that a night Grand Final adds *absolutely nothing* to the footy fan experience?” he tweeted.
“Let’s make a date: 2.30pm Last Saturday in September 2021” before adding “at the MCG”.
The Geelong Advertisers’ chief footy write Lachie Young added: “There will be a time and place for discussions about a night grand final but what I would say is this … the AFL says it is a game for the people. Well, if you polled every club member and got their vote, a day grand final would win in a landslide. Give the fans what they want.”
BREAKING: Entire nation celebrates last Night Grand Final in history. #AFL #AFLGF #aflgrandfinal2020
Solid game, but hopefully a night grand final is a one-off. Much better spectacle as a day grand final. Standard of play much higher #aflgf
The timeslot was a talking point before the game as well with fans desperate for the start of the match, which is usually 2.30pm.
Swans champion Jude Bolton retweeted a post which said “Nothing will ever compare to a 2.30pm bounce down at the MCG in the last Saturday in September”.
Popular comedian Wendy Harmer also criticised the move.
“Feeling for all #AFL followers today. Welcome to #NRL world … not only in the evening but on a SCHOOL NIGHT this year!!” Harmer wrote.
Gary Ablett Jr goes off into the sunset.Source:Getty Images
AFL funnyman Titus O’Reily tweeted: “This is like waking up on Christmas Day and then being told you can’t open your presents until tonight.”
Former footy journo Rohan Connolly added: “Is it sinking in about now a night GF was only ever a good idea in the minds of TV executives scrambling for a few more thousand viewers, and ‘event’ types who don’t give a s**t about the game & will probably talk more about the entertainment? Both can FRO.”
Sports writer Vince Rugari said: “Night AFL grand final seems like a good idea until the actual day arrives and you realise you’ve got to occupy yourself until 7.30pm. Rhythm of a 2.10pm first bounce GF day is unbeatable for house parties/long arvos at the pub into night-time shenanigans. Let’s not do this again.”
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