AFL takes action after divisive finals move sparks fan backlash

AFL boss Gillon McLachlan and a fan painted in Geelong Cats colours are pictured.
AFL boss Gillon McLachlan has confirmed music will not be played at the MCG after every goal, after being flooded with complaints about it after the preliminary finals. Pictures: Getty Images

Uproar from AFL fans attending last weekend's preliminary final has been heard by the league, after being flooded with complaints about music constantly being played at the MCG.

Each of Geelong's 18 goals was accompanied by renditions of AC/DC and other stadium classics, completely drowning out the roars of the crowd.

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Both supporters at the ground and viewers at home were filthy about the music, which many felt was ruining the natural vibe borne from riding the highs and lows of the crowd.

According to AFL reporter Sam Edmund, the MCG copped 'hundreds of complaints' in the wake of Geelong's preliminary final win over Brisbane.

"The league has been keen on tunes during the finals, but the MCC approached them after the Cats-Lions prelim to argue for the mute button," Edmund wrote.

He later confirmed the AFL had backed down over the music for the grand final this weekend.

The MCC would have found no shortage of complaints on Twitter had they checked, with many of those hopefully in approval of a less manufactured atmosphere.

“When there were no crowds during Covid, everyone missed the buzz and sounds of the fans," Newscorp's Matt Turner wrote.

"The noise at a game is so pure. Music between goals is so artificial, let alone unnecessary.”

The Age counterpart Peter Ryan also felt the music had been an unneccesary addition.

I've been coming to the footy my whole life. The MCG does not need to play ACDC 'You Shook Me All Night Long' after a goal in A PRELIMINARY FINAL," he wrote.

"It's a first world problem but I'm in the outer and it is horrendous in every way possible."

AFL pushing Magic Round concept for 2023

While the AFL relented when it came to the grand final atmosphere, they won't be deterred when it comes to trying other new things.

Chief executive Gillon McLachlan has revealed "multiple states" are vying to host an entire round of games in 2023.

Based on the NRL's Magic Round, the AFL is exploring whether to stage all nine matches on the same weekend in one city next April.

If the proposal is ticked off then the season would increase from 23 rounds to 24, with one bye for each team.

Every club will still host 11 home matches.

Queensland, South Australia, NSW and Western Australia would all loom as viable options for the super round of matches.

McLachlan said clubs are open to scrapping official pre-season matches in favour of an extra round.

"This year they had one proper hit-out in venues and they just played it like a home-and-away game, belted into each other," McLachlan told SEN.

"People got suspended, people got injured, so we had CEOs and presidents on the back of that saying, 'If you're going to do it like that, why don't you play it as a home-and-away game?'.

"The (AFL executive) team have gone off and explored all of that and now we've got multiple states interested in doing it.

"We've got to the point where we've got three states saying, 'We'll do it, we'd love to have all nine games in this market'.

"We've briefed the clubs where we're at and what it would mean from a marketing, financial and logistical sense."

The NRL has staged its Magic Round at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium since 2019, although the event did not go ahead in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

McLachlan believes it would make sense to run the AFL's own version of Magic Round in the school holidays, after the first few rounds of the season.

"Maybe round five-ish, the second half of April when it's school holidays nationally," he said.

With AAP

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