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AFL 2020: Racing will get priority for Saturday afternoons in October

AFL 2020: Racing will get priority for Saturday afternoons in October

A new preferred date of October 17 for the AFL Grand Final would mean a night or Sunday decider, unless it’s played in Perth.

The AFL has moved it’s tentative Grand Final date from October 24 to October 17 with plans to squash Rounds 9-12 into 19 consecutive days, starting on Wednesday July 29.

Instead of a clash with the Cox Plate, the decider could now clash with the Caulfield Cup, as Melbourne’s spring racing carnival takes place throughout October and early November.

But while debate is raging over a potential Grand Final location, with all 10 Victorian teams shunted to Queensland for the remainder of the season, Pakula said a Saturday afternoon was out, a position AFL boss Gillon McLachlan confirmed to him on Thursday morning.

“If the AFL Grand Final happens to be on 17 October, or on any of our feature race days, the AFL will work around racing - whether that means putting it on at night, or the Sunday - but it definitely will not go head-to-head with the race meeting,” Pakula told RSN on Thursday morning.

“I’ve been having conversations with the AFL on an almost daily basis.

“I did speak to Gillon (McLachlan) this morning and reobtained the commitment from him that they definitely won’t go head to head with one of our major classic race days.

“The Caulfield Cup will get clear air as it should.”

“It’s July, it’s at least three months before the Grand Final. A lot can change.”

Pakula said it was his “hope” that the Grand Final would be at the MCG.

McLachlan said on Wednesday that there had been no decision made about the Grand Final’s location as states begin to lobby for it.

“There is no decision on the grand final,” McLachlan said.

“Clearly people will draw bows, but my clearest position is to say the grand final is at the MCG until there are circumstances and reasons that it can‘t be.

“The (Queensland) premier has said they would love the grand final.

“Western Australians are pretty clear they would; I know the South Australians would, and I‘m pretty comfortable saying the New South Wales government and people of NSW would like the grand final as well.”

A Grand Final in Perth could still allow the AFL to play the game on Saturday afternoon, given the two-hour time difference with the eastern states.