'Can't understand': Eddie McGuire blasts AFL over Grand Final call

Sam Goodwin
·Sports Editor
·3-min read
Eddie McGuire, pictured here criticising the AFL's call to revert to an afternoon Grand Final.
Eddie McGuire has criticised the AFL's call to revert to an afternoon Grand Final. Image: Getty/Channel Nine

Eddie McGuire has criticised the AFL's decision to revert to an afternoon Grand Final, saying NRL boss Peter V'Landys will be "laughing all the way to the bank".

The AFL confirmed last week that the Grand Final will be held at the traditional 2.30pm time-slot in 2021, changing back after 2020 saw a night decider.

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The night-time grand final between Richmond and Geelong at the Gabba was an overwhelming success, ranking as the most-watched sporting event on TV in 2020.

Yet Gillon McLachlan and the AFL have opted to move the 2021 decider back to the traditional afternoon slot, leaving McGuire gobsmacked.

Speaking publicly for the first time since his resignation as Collingwood president, McGuire said he couldn't understand the rationale behind the decision.

"I think the AFL are doing a lot of things right, Gil McLachlan had a sensational year last year," McGuire said on Footy Classified on Wednesday night.

"Everyone is tired and a lot of people have left the game because they were exhausted from last year.

"The rationale is that we go back to some of the traditions of the game to keep people happy.

"I think there is one person that thinks it is a fantastic idea, and that person is Peter V'landys, the ARL Commission chairman. I think he is laughing all the way to the bank."

Eddie McGuire and Gillon McLachlan, pictured here after the 2018 AFL Grand Final.
Eddie McGuire and Gillon McLachlan speak after the 2018 AFL Grand Final. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/AFL Media/Getty Images)

Eddie McGuire gobsmacked by AFL Grand Final call

Nearly one million more viewers tuned in to watch the 2020 Grand Final compared with the 2019 decider - which was played at 2.30pm.

"We need to make sure that the AFL grand final is the No.1 show on television if we're going to be able to pay for Tasmania, pay for five people on the bench, and I just can't understand," McGuire said.

"What business in the world hides its product? 

"We're spending a fortune on New South Wales and Queensland, they're on the harbour, they're on the beach on a Saturday afternoon.

"When the whips are cracking in the next few years, if State of Origin one, two, three, the NRL Grand Final and Married At First Sight are ahead of the AFL Grand Final, it doesn't matter who you are, it's going to be hard."

The 2019 AFL Grand Final ranked second for most-matched sporting events that year, while the NRL snared spots 1, 3, 4 and 5.

State of Origin I was first, followed by the AFL decider, Origin III, Origin II and the NRL Grand Final.

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