TV bosses still want GF time swap

Written By Unknown on Minggu, 21 Oktober 2012 | 14.43

Sydney's Nick Malceski is mobbed by teammates after kicking the winning goal in a classic Grand Final win against Hawthorn at the MCG. Picture: Hamish Blair Source: Herald Sun

Seven boss David Leckie still wouldn't mind seeing a later timeslot for the AFL Grand Final. Picture: Getty Images Source: Herald Sun

TELEVISION bosses don't come bigger and badder than Channel 7's David Leckie.

But not even Leckie - armed with hundreds of millions of dollars - could secure a night or twilight AFL Grand Final during the last round of broadcast rights negotiations.

"I'd love to, but I've been bashed around the head," Leckie admitted when the $1.25 billion deal was penned.

The man that bashed him was Andrew Demetriou.

The league chief has long declared that a night Grand Final simply won't happen under his watch.

And on this count of trademark Demetriou belligerence, let's hope he's right.

It's called Grand Final 'Day' for a reason.

Since 1898 when Fitzroy beat the Bombers, the last Saturday afternoon in September has been the showpiece of the Australian game.

Why fix what isn't broken?

But rumblings are growing louder that the TV kings are set to try again, for a twilight slot at least.

Seven yesterday remained tight-lipped about its intentions.

And if you're one of those in favour of the game being played under lights, Collingwood president Eddie McGuire is your man.

"If you are serious about what you are trying to achieve, the ultimate marketing tool the AFL has is the AFL Grand Final," McGuire said this year. "And if you want to put on the biggest and best show you do it at night. Have an entertainment spectacular with a million-dollar budget."

Sorry Ed, but the Rolling Stones could have played pre-game this year and we'd still be talking about Nick Malceski's goal.

The Sydney-Hawthorn epic played out in fading light at the MCG didn't need fireworks or rock bands to make it an all-time great.

Rugby league's failed experiments should serve as another warning.

In 2001, the NRL shifted to a night decider on the whim of Channel 9 before people power got the game moved back to a 5pm start.

When last asked for their opinion, more than 90 per cent of AFL players said they opposed anything other than an afternoon game.

The AFL, obsessed about congestion, said amid the interchange furore this week that all its rule changes were made with a view to player safety and the spectacle of the game.

So surely the best stage for footy's biggest match is a sunny September afternoon - not a night match more likely to be slippery because of dew.

Not to mention the death of the backyard Grand Final BBQ.

But if Demetriou's words ring true, traditionalists need not fret.

"If the only reason we were to do it was to please our broadcasters or to get more eyeballs on it, it wasn't a good enough reason to do it," he has declared.

"Even if we were offered a significant amount of money to move our Grand Final, we wouldn't do it."

That was August 2007 and the boss isn't a man to backflip.

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