Well here we are the start of the grand final festivities for the AFL for another year. And boy oh boy is it going to be different this year , for the second season in a row the Grand Final is going to be held outside of Melbourne again.
After last year’s decider was held in Brisbane this years big game is being held in Perth. And in what has been another Covid affected season, we have seen the AFL decided to keep playing as long as it could which in turn saw the pre-finals bye get shifted to this weekend and allow both the Dee’s and the Dog’s a fortnight to prepare for the big dance.
Now while this is something completely new to the Australian sports landscape anyone who has an interest in the am NFL will be use to seeing the 2 week break like this. Yes it seems weird but I feel like this could be a change to keep going forward, yes it has been done due to Covid and attempting to keep the season going as long as they could but the benefits it provides are hugely advantageous to providing an even better quality game in the Grand Final.
All we need to do to look at the first big advantage and take a look at the couple of injuries the Dee’s and the Dog’s received in their preliminary finals wins or in the lead in to the games. By having the week off now we give all the players the best chance possible to be completely fit heading into what should be considered the biggest game of their careers so far, or in the case of the Bulldogs the second biggest game for a lot of their players after winning the flag in 2016 from a similar position from outside the top 4.
The next big advantage is to the tourism, entertainment and hospitality sectors as by having a 2 week build they can look to add extra events in from the weekend before the game. In terms of the ways they can all benefit each other’s finances by having an extra week. You can put on bonus events from the Saturday before whether that be special concerts at Fed square and even looking at moving the hall of fame ceremony to that weekend. And for the AFL they could do special events in the bye week before the teams make their way to Melbourne if the are coming from out of state be that through special training sessions where they could charge a small fee and donate the money to a charity and make a day out of the teams from out of state arriving. They could even make the Sunday or Monday a full media day where even fans can ask questions and feel even more a part of the festivities.
Now I know this sounds like I’m taking these ideas from the NFL and while yes I am I fell like making some changes like this and embracing an extra week off before the Grand Final can make it an even bigger event then it already is and generate even more buzz around what is arguably the biggest Grand Final in the country.