Where should the AFL Grand Final be played?

SportsNut2017

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Jun 11, 2017
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https://downtheguts.com/2018/04/13/where-should-the-afl-grand-final-be-played/

Where should the AFL Grand Final be played?

With the recent announcement that the MCG will continue to host the AFL Grand Final until at least the year 2057, it got us thinking – in this era of the ‘national competition’, is it right that the decider is always held at the same venue and a venue that potentially disadvantages a club that has worked for 22 weeks to earn an advantage?

When it comes to most things AFL related, I’m a staunch traditionalist. I grew up in an era where the Panasonic/Fosters/Ansett/NAB Cup was played midweek in February and early March and I liked the idea of watching footy on a school night in my summer pj’s. I loved travelling to the different suburban grounds and enjoyed cheering on the reserves prior to the seniors, whilst looking at my footy record (bought for less than a dollar) trying to work out who ‘A’ and ‘B’ were on the old-style scoreboards to see what was happening in the other half dozen games that were being played at the same time as the one I was at. I love tuning into the Brownlow Medal the Monday of Grand Final week and hope like hell the Grand Final remains a ‘day’ game.

But all my traditionalist values go out the window when it comes to the issue of always playing the Grand Final at the MCG. I think it is criminally unfair that a side like Adelaide last season, who were the undisputed dominant best home and away side, who finished on top of the ladder after the home and away season, had to play a Grand Final at the home ground of their opponent. I understand the AFL have an obligation to their corporates and to the fans to have as many people get in to watch the Grand Final as possible and from an historic and cultural perspective it’s hard to imagine a Grand Final not being at the MCG, but surely as a game, we’ve moved beyond the need to satisfy corporates and put tradition above what is fair?

The knockers will say ‘what about the NRL, NFL and FA Cup’ where, in those competitions, the venue for the decider is always at the same venue, or in the case of the NFL a pre-determined venue prior to the season. But for every sport or contest where there’s a neutral venue to decide the champions, there’s just as many who reward the best-performed teams of the regular season. The A-League, NBA and NHL all ensure that the advantage sits with the best-performed sides throughout their finals series and in my opinion, it is simply fairer to do it that way and ignore any other factor.

History is littered with sides who’ve been dealt a poor hand by the AFL’s pre-determined fixturing, contract obligations with venues and in some cases, ‘rules on the run’. In some instances, it made no difference, but in others, clearly had a huge impact.

In the mid 90’s to mid 00’s, there was a ridiculous rule that at least one final per week had to be played at the MCG. In 1996, this forced the Eagles (who finished 4th and won their first final) to face the Bombers in a cut-throat final at the Bombers home venue of the MCG. Essendon finished 6th and lost to Brisbane in their first final. But due to the contractural requirement, West Coast were not allowed to host Essendon because Brisbane were playing a final in Brisbane and ‘outranked’ West Coast. End result – Essendon routed the Eagles to the tune of 77 points. The Eagles were again on the receiving end in 1999 when they were forced to play Carlton at the MCG in a final when ordinarily they should’ve hosted the Blues. It ended just as bad that time too with a 54 point belting. Finally, before the rule changed, Brisbane were required to travel to the MCG to play Geelong in the 2004 Preliminary Final despite Brisbane having every right to play that game at the Gabba. The Lions prevailed, but did it hamper their chances the following week against the Power who were afforded the luxury of a home Preliminary Final by virtue of finishing on top of the ladder? We’ll never know for sure.

Even in recent seasons the AFL have marched to the beat of their own drum with respect to finals venues. Despite Andrew Demetriou assuring a month or two before the 2013 finals that a final wouldn’t be played at Kardinia Park, the message changed in the fortnight leading into September where it was declared that only if Geelong are drawn to host Fremantle, would the game be played in Geelong. A decision based purely on dollars and cents (not sense). Sure enough, Geelong were drawn against the Dockers and were allowed to host Fremantle in their own backyard. Didn’t help them as the Dockers upset the Cats but fast forward just three and four years and when Geelong finished second in both 2016 and 2017 they were denied the ability to play a home final at Kardinia Park, purely because their opponents were big crowd-drawing clubs Hawthorn and Richmond.

My point is that the AFL are happy to bend and tweak the rules when it suits them, however, when they have the opportunity to truly reward the best team of the home and away season by granting them the ability to play a home Grand Final, irrespective of the almighty dollar, they won’t budge. Let us know your thoughts…

https://downtheguts.com/2018/04/13/where-should-the-afl-grand-final-be-played/
 

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precarious

Senior List
Aug 15, 2009
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The home ground advantage is probably more significant in AF than in other codes with fixed grand final venues because ground dimensions vary. I agree that this is a problem.

But determining who should get home ground advantage requires a fair home and away draw. In a given year, the top-ranked team may have had a softer draw than their opponent.

Given there are already some 'distortions' in a system, making an isolated correction will not necessarily move the system closer to 'optimal'.

A partial resolution in the present context, as some have suggested, would be to schedule two legs to the grand final. Last season there could have been one game at the G and one at AO.

That would be fairer than what we have now in some circumstances (those in which the non-MCG tenant is the more deserving participant or the two participants are equally deserving) but possibly detract from the big-game nature or specialness of a grand final.
 
Last edited:

roacheee

Premiership Player
Aug 25, 2015
3,732
7,750
AFL Club
Richmond
https://downtheguts.com/2018/04/13/where-should-the-afl-grand-final-be-played/

Where should the AFL Grand Final be played?

With the recent announcement that the MCG will continue to host the AFL Grand Final until at least the year 2057, it got us thinking – in this era of the ‘national competition’, is it right that the decider is always held at the same venue and a venue that potentially disadvantages a club that has worked for 22 weeks to earn an advantage?

When it comes to most things AFL related, I’m a staunch traditionalist. I grew up in an era where the Panasonic/Fosters/Ansett/NAB Cup was played midweek in February and early March and I liked the idea of watching footy on a school night in my summer pj’s. I loved travelling to the different suburban grounds and enjoyed cheering on the reserves prior to the seniors, whilst looking at my footy record (bought for less than a dollar) trying to work out who ‘A’ and ‘B’ were on the old-style scoreboards to see what was happening in the other half dozen games that were being played at the same time as the one I was at. I love tuning into the Brownlow Medal the Monday of Grand Final week and hope like hell the Grand Final remains a ‘day’ game.

But all my traditionalist values go out the window when it comes to the issue of always playing the Grand Final at the MCG. I think it is criminally unfair that a side like Adelaide last season, who were the undisputed dominant best home and away side, who finished on top of the ladder after the home and away season, had to play a Grand Final at the home ground of their opponent. I understand the AFL have an obligation to their corporates and to the fans to have as many people get in to watch the Grand Final as possible and from an historic and cultural perspective it’s hard to imagine a Grand Final not being at the MCG, but surely as a game, we’ve moved beyond the need to satisfy corporates and put tradition above what is fair?

The knockers will say ‘what about the NRL, NFL and FA Cup’ where, in those competitions, the venue for the decider is always at the same venue, or in the case of the NFL a pre-determined venue prior to the season. But for every sport or contest where there’s a neutral venue to decide the champions, there’s just as many who reward the best-performed teams of the regular season. The A-League, NBA and NHL all ensure that the advantage sits with the best-performed sides throughout their finals series and in my opinion, it is simply fairer to do it that way and ignore any other factor.

History is littered with sides who’ve been dealt a poor hand by the AFL’s pre-determined fixturing, contract obligations with venues and in some cases, ‘rules on the run’. In some instances, it made no difference, but in others, clearly had a huge impact.

In the mid 90’s to mid 00’s, there was a ridiculous rule that at least one final per week had to be played at the MCG. In 1996, this forced the Eagles (who finished 4th and won their first final) to face the Bombers in a cut-throat final at the Bombers home venue of the MCG. Essendon finished 6th and lost to Brisbane in their first final. But due to the contractural requirement, West Coast were not allowed to host Essendon because Brisbane were playing a final in Brisbane and ‘outranked’ West Coast. End result – Essendon routed the Eagles to the tune of 77 points. The Eagles were again on the receiving end in 1999 when they were forced to play Carlton at the MCG in a final when ordinarily they should’ve hosted the Blues. It ended just as bad that time too with a 54 point belting. Finally, before the rule changed, Brisbane were required to travel to the MCG to play Geelong in the 2004 Preliminary Final despite Brisbane having every right to play that game at the Gabba. The Lions prevailed, but did it hamper their chances the following week against the Power who were afforded the luxury of a home Preliminary Final by virtue of finishing on top of the ladder? We’ll never know for sure.

Even in recent seasons the AFL have marched to the beat of their own drum with respect to finals venues. Despite Andrew Demetriou assuring a month or two before the 2013 finals that a final wouldn’t be played at Kardinia Park, the message changed in the fortnight leading into September where it was declared that only if Geelong are drawn to host Fremantle, would the game be played in Geelong. A decision based purely on dollars and cents (not sense). Sure enough, Geelong were drawn against the Dockers and were allowed to host Fremantle in their own backyard. Didn’t help them as the Dockers upset the Cats but fast forward just three and four years and when Geelong finished second in both 2016 and 2017 they were denied the ability to play a home final at Kardinia Park, purely because their opponents were big crowd-drawing clubs Hawthorn and Richmond.

My point is that the AFL are happy to bend and tweak the rules when it suits them, however, when they have the opportunity to truly reward the best team of the home and away season by granting them the ability to play a home Grand Final, irrespective of the almighty dollar, they won’t budge. Let us know your thoughts…

https://downtheguts.com/2018/04/13/where-should-the-afl-grand-final-be-played/
mcg has never been the bombers home ground
 

kaiserchief13

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AFL really dug themselves into a hole. Should've made it a 2 game final with winner of total aggregate score winning. They could've made more money with tickets from 2 games and more money through TV viewers.

Plus fans would've loved it watching 2 games

AFL are put simply dumb campaigners
 

rfctiger74

Premium Platinum
Aug 22, 2009
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AFL really dug themselves into a hole. Should've made it a 2 game final with winner of total aggregate score winning. They could've made more money with tickets from 2 games and more money through TV viewers.

Plus fans would've loved it watching 2 games

AFL are put simply dumb campaigners
thats worse than best out of three
 

javaguice

Club Legend
Feb 29, 2012
2,942
2,467
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West Coast
Play it at the MCG but allow any Victorians to the game so its like a nothing crowd and there's no home crowd advantage.

Triple the prices to flesh out the maggots a d we might be able to snag gil a plush yacht. The bloke deserves it ffs
 

Wallaby

Norm Smith Medallist
May 8, 2007
8,447
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I think it is criminally unfair that a side like Adelaide last season, who were the undisputed dominant best home and away side, who finished on top of the ladder after the home and away season, had to play a Grand Final at the home ground of their opponent.
Over the season, Adelaide and Geelong both finished 1/2 a game ahead of Richmond. Both played Richmond at their home grounds, and won. They did not play a H&A game against Richmond at Richmond's home ground. If they did, they probably would have lost, and so Richmond would have finished on top.
There is no way Adelaide were 'undisputed dominant best home and away side'. They got lucky with their fixture.

Last year Adelaide played 5 home games against Top-8 sides, 3 away and 2 neutral (Port).
Geelong played 4 Top-8 sides at home and 4 away. (counting Essendon at MCG as away).
Richmond played 3 top-8 sides at home, 4 away and one neutral (Essendon).
Richmond had the hardest draw of the top 3. How is that fair? (PS - Sydney got screwed even more).

I am all for the Grand Final to be played at the Home ground of the best-performed team over the season. However, until the AFL set up a fair draw, there is no way of objectively determining who the best H&A side is. At the moment, all the H&A rounds do is sort out who the best 4-6 sides are, and the next 2-3 of probably 4-5 teams who are all in the mix. And the order can vary significantly depending on the fixture - who plays who once at home and/or away.

Fix the draw - then we'll talk. And I'll probably agree with you.
 

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Cold Sober

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This thread will soon be nothing but a whinge box for West Coast supporters.
 

HPKS

All Australian
Apr 6, 2012
767
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Bothwell football ground. Home of the rabbits!! Probably be able to get a rippa feed at the pub after the game then in the morning up to Great Lake for a spot of fishing n celebrate with a barbie n beer at Arthur’s Lake camp ground.

Makes more sense than some of the bullsh!t that gets peddled in these threads.
 

Randomizor

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Aug 20, 2010
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See Geelong coach Scott (the good one) acknowledging the current arrangement stinks - 9 of the 18 clubs think it stinks, it cant last.
Completely possible we’ll have a top 8 compromised of only interstate teams some time in the future. I think when that happens it’ll drive home how ridiculously Vic-centric the finals arrangements are.
 

Ishikawa

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Jul 18, 2018
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I think the best option for all is for a Superbowl type bid process each year done by the various states/cities/venues, I think the notion of only determining it at Preliminary final weekend is utterly fanciful and doesn't really stack up as a realistic concept given the number of people willing to travel (& yes, the corporate / legacy arrangement side of things which is more important than people tend to think).

Love the MCG and do think that there's something special about having the grand final there. However, there is a lot of financial and social benefits that the AFL can benefit from by opening up the process to all states and in all likelihood you'd still probably expect the game to grace the 'G every 2 or 3 years regardless.
 

abcde12345

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May 15, 2018
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448
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I think the best option for all is for a Superbowl type bid process each year done by the various states/cities/venues, I think the notion of only determining it at Preliminary final weekend is utterly fanciful and doesn't really stack up as a realistic concept given the number of people willing to travel (& yes, the corporate / legacy arrangement side of things which is more important than people tend to think).

Love the MCG and do think that there's something special about having the grand final there. However, there is a lot of financial and social benefits that the AFL can benefit from by opening up the process to all states and in all likelihood you'd still probably expect the game to grace the 'G every 2 or 3 years regardless.
Agreed within the realistic boundaries.

In an ideal world, I like the idea of the previous season's grand final winners getting to host the game at their stadium (or at least their state's major stadium). That way the game should rotate around, while the likelihood is still the "traditional" MCG game.

Obviously, we don't live in an ideal world. There are too many advantages to selling it, be that for stadium/infrastructure upgrades, directly for cash, or whatever is relevant. To a degree that is done now, as the AFL gets the various stadium upgrades in exchange for the current deal. The length, however, I think is the problem. I wouldn't be surprised if the proposed expansion of Perth Stadium is delayed as a bargaining chip for the next deal. You'd have to think the AFL would want to get the Grand Final in Sydney at some point when a high quality stadium of an appropriate size exists. We will see how it pans out.
 

abcde12345

Senior List
May 15, 2018
212
448
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Brisbane Lions
Expanding the Perth Stadium, why? For a GF sometime, dont think so.
You could already argue it's warranted from a WCE perspective, but obviously not so from a Freo perspective.

However, do keep in mind that the Grand Final deal doesn't end until 2057. Obviously it's a bit (very) early to tell, but in almost 40 years you would imagine the teams (assuming there are still only two) will both be pushing the peaks of its capacity.

A lot of speculation obviously. Current projections have the population almost doubling by 2050. I think it's reasonable to suggest, given West Coast's current beyond sellout status with the waiting list (admittedly while they are strong on field), and Freo consistently getting the stadium 2/3 full, that when/if the population does expand in this way, it is likely to push crowd figures up. This also doesn't factor in soccer exhibition matches, SOO, concerts etc.

That's my view at least. I struggle to see the 60,000 stadium being adequate in almost 40 years based on the population projections. I think it's likely that the state government will try and use this as a bargaining chip to attract an AFL GF in the future, the same way the Victorian government secured the AFL GF for so long with the stadium improvements they offered.

That's just my view on it, however. Always interested to hear other perspectives.
 

Kwality

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Aug 14, 2011
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You could already argue it's warranted from a WCE perspective, but obviously not so from a Freo perspective.

However, do keep in mind that the Grand Final deal doesn't end until 2057. Obviously it's a bit (very) early to tell, but in almost 40 years you would imagine the teams (assuming there are still only two) will both be pushing the peaks of its capacity.

A lot of speculation obviously. Current projections have the population almost doubling by 2050. I think it's reasonable to suggest, given West Coast's current beyond sellout status with the waiting list (admittedly while they are strong on field), and Freo consistently getting the stadium 2/3 full, that when/if the population does expand in this way, it is likely to push crowd figures up. This also doesn't factor in soccer exhibition matches, SOO, concerts etc.

That's my view at least. I struggle to see the 60,000 stadium being adequate in almost 40 years based on the population projections. I think it's likely that the state government will try and use this as a bargaining chip to attract an AFL GF in the future, the same way the Victorian government secured the AFL GF for so long with the stadium improvements they offered.

That's just my view on it, however. Always interested to hear other perspectives.
:thumbsu:

My reaction was to the immediate term, based on regular cries for more, more seating.
In the longer term I understand expansion was engineered in & will be justified at some point.
 

Our Game

Club Legend
Sep 30, 2014
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Not going to happen unless the AFL can get out of the contract with the MCG and I reckon that contract would be watertight.
In any case the MCG is the biggest and best place to play the GF for supporters and the AFL and after all Yarra Park where its built on is the birth place of Australian Football.
 

Wallaby

Norm Smith Medallist
May 8, 2007
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Currently, the GF at the MCG offers 40,000 tickets between the 2 clubs (20,000 each distributed to members according to club rules). The rest (60,000+) are corporates, non-competing club allocations, MCC members, AFL members etc.

So - I'm happy with a 40,000 seat stadium to hold the GF in. The rest can get stuffed. Oh - we already have stadiums that big in Sydney, Perth and Adelaide? Great - let's have some GFs there.
 

Herne Hill Hammer

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Have cities bid to host it providing they meet certain criteria ie access to the stadium, public transport, facilities, available accommodation in the general area, airport facilities that sort of thing. Award them X amount of years notice, giving them plenty of time to prepare for it and to upgrade the above mention facilities if needed.

Everyone wins. Airlines and hotels get to gouge people, areas get upgraded facilities to use for decades and even allow them to bid again in the future.

It's no good awarding it to the highest ranked side that makes it to the gf as it leave no time to prepare facilities / amenities properly and for the travelling public to arrange things.

Of course the other idea is to just have it rotating at this stage between Perth, Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney. If anyone else wants to join in the fun, they just need to have a big enough stadium, say 40,000 minimum.
 
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