AFL to play day grand final in 2021

The AFL grand final for 2021 will return to its traditional day timeslot after the match was held at night in 2020, a source with knowledge of the league’s decision confirmed.

This season’s decider will be held on September 25 at the MCG at 2.30pm, pending any delays to the season because of the pandemic.

The AFL’s decision puts to bed fears that the nighttime 2020 grand final would become the norm going forward.

The 2019 grand final was at the MCG. Credit:Justin McManus

Last year’s decider was held at the Gabba in Brisbane, beginning at 7.30pm. It was the first nighttime decider for the competition and the first time the grand final had been held outside of Victoria.

Broadcaster Channel Seven said it would like the grand final to continue to be played at night.

The first ever AFL night grand final rated strongly, attracting 3.81 million viewers for the match between Richmond and Geelong at the Gabba. It was the highest figure since 2016, when 4,121,000 people watched the Western Bulldogs defeat Sydney. It was also up more than 30 per cent on the 2019 grand final.

The 2020 AFL season was played mostly in Queensland because of Victoria’s second wave of COVID-19, which locked most of the state down for the winter.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk called it a “historic day” for her state, and beat out bids from Western Australia, New South Wales and South Australia.

A restricted but sellout crowd of 29,707 saw Richmond beat Geelong to win their third premiership in four seasons.

Carlton play Richmond in the first game of the 2021 AFL season on March 18 and stadiums in Victoria will be allowed to host fans at 50 per cent capacity.

The league has previously stated it hopes this capacity cap will increase as the year goes on.


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