What time will GFNL grand final be?

February 28, 2024 12:06 pm in by
Leopold netballer Millie Holland, AFL Barwon Regional General Manager Ed Wilson, and South Barwon captain Matthew Caldow at GMHBA Stadium. (Al Packer/K rock Football)

With the venue now set for the Geelong Football Netball League grand final following this (Wednesday) morning’s announcement of GMHBA Stadium as the host for 2024, interest now turns to the timing of the senior football grand final.

Regional General Manager Ed Wilson says the door has been left open for a move away from the traditional 2:10 pm bounce time for the decider, which will be played on the AFL Grand Final public holiday, Friday, 27 September.

“This requires some additional consultation with the clubs,” Wilson said.

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“We’ve been very supported by Kardinia Park Stadium Trust as well as Geelong Football Club as part of this tripartite agreement to be able to explore what that looks like.

“We do have some ideas as to what time of day and even stemming, potentially, into twilight.

“But, that certainly requires further consultation with the clubs to make sure what gets decided upon is equitable between football and netball and services the club in the best possible way.”

South Barwon captain Matthew Caldow is open to a change from the norm.

“Anytime you get to grand final day, you’re just happy to be there, and you’d play it at 7 am if they had it then,” he said.

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“But, I think a twilight would be a great attraction.

“But, no issues with 2 pm either.”

This year’s decider will be the first at GMHBA Stadium since the St Mary’s-Colac classic in 2019.

The 2020 and 2021 grand finals were victims of the pandemic, with 2022 and 2023 played at St Albans Reserve and Leopold’s Memorial Park, respectively.

“The Trust is thrilled to again host the local 2024 Geelong Football Netball League Grand Final at
GMHBA Stadium,” CEO Gerard Griffin said.

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“With the collaboration of our three organisations, we can have this aspect of community sport, both football and netball, back into the precinct where they rightfully belong.”

As the venue’s primary tenant, the Cats have also been involved in negotiations.

“We’re pleased to support AFL Barwon in having the biggest day on the GFNL calendar return to Kardinia Park and to see community football Grand Finals played on the hallowed turf of GMHBA Stadium again,” Chief Strategy & Growth Officer and General Counsel Marcus King said.

“We see GMHBA Stadium and the Kardinia Park precinct, as the home of sporting and special events for the region, and we look forward to continuing to work with the Kardinia Park Stadium Trust and AFL Barwon to ensure a highly successful day for our community and all involved.”

Wilson hopes for a long-term arrangement for the grand final to be played at GMHBA Stadium.

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“These conversations have been going on for more than 12 months,” he said.

“It has been quite an extended process, but in many respects, that extended process and working with Kardinia Park and Geelong Football Club puts us in a really confident position that what we are announcing today is going to be for the benefit of the League and the benefit of the 12 clubs into the future.

Wilson also confirmed the first three weeks of the finals series will be held at community venues, with GFNL clubs invited to tender for hosting rights.