AFL confirms historic start time for 2020 grand final

Australian Associated Press
·3-min read
The AFL is deviating from tradition for the 2020 grand final, with Brisbane to host the match at the Gabba, kicking off at 6:30pm local time. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/AFL Photos/via Getty Images )
The AFL is deviating from tradition for the 2020 grand final, with Brisbane to host the match at the Gabba, kicking off at 6:30pm local time. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/AFL Photos/via Getty Images )

This year's AFL grand final will be the first to be held at night.

On Friday, the AFL confirmed the 2020 decider, to be held at the Gabba on Saturday, October 24, will begin at 6.30pm local time - 7.30pm AEDT.

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AFL general manager of clubs and broadcasting Travis Auld said the start time accommodated broadcasters and pre-match entertainment, while also factoring in daylight savings times for fans around the country.

With shorter quarters this year, Auld expected the grand final to be wrapped up and the 2020 premier to be crowned just before 10pm AEDT.

"Historically a really special part of grand final day is the build-up and anticipation, and we want to ensure we can share the electricity and atmosphere of the night with as many people as possible around the country," he said.

"A night grand final is sure to be a fantastic spectacle for both the fans in stadium and the millions watching around the country and overseas."

The AFL grand final has traditionally been held at 2.30pm Melbourne time.

AFL rocked by surprise retirement announcements

Carlton's No.1 draft picks in consecutive years, Adelaide’s Bryce Gibbs and Blue Matthew Kreuzer, have called time on their AFL careers on the same day.

The Crows announced Gibbs would play his final AFL game against his former club on Sunday, while Kreuzer was expected to confirm his own retirement later on Thursday.

Between 2005 and 2007, Carlton had three consecutive No.1 selections - Marc Murphy, Gibbs and Kreuzer.

While Murphy is expected to play on next year with the Blues, Gibbs and Kreuzer will finish up after 14 and 13 years respectively, with Gibbs retiring a year before his Adelaide contract was due to finish in 2021.

“The Carlton Football Club gave me the opportunity to fulfil a boyhood dream and I cannot thank them enough,” Gibbs said.

“It was home for 11 years and the club shaped me into the person I am today, and I'll be forever grateful for everything they have done for me.

“I have given my all in 14 seasons at the top level and I'm looking forward to playing against some of my lifelong friends one final time.”

Matthew Kruezer and Bryce Gibbs at Carlton in 2015. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)
Matthew Kruezer and Bryce Gibbs at Carlton in 2015. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

Gibbs played 231 games and kicked 137 goals for the Blues, winning the John Nicholls Medal in 2014 and finishing top five in the Blues' best and fairest in eight of 11 seasons at Carlton.

He unsuccessfully sought a trade to hometown club Adelaide at the end of 2016, before ultimately joining the Crows at the conclusion of the following season.

Gibbs played all 22 games in 2018 and was fourth in Adelaide's club champion awards but fell out of favour to play just 12 games in 2019 and two this year.

The injury-plagued Kreuzer played 189 games and booted 94 goals for the Blues over 13 seasons but has missed the majority of 2020 with a serious foot injury suffered in round one.

The 31-year-old had rejoined the Blues in their Queensland hub after previously returning to Victoria for treatment on his foot.