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GF time still undecided, AFL to meet soon

Dinny Navaratnam (AFL Media)  November 1, 2017 11:32 AM

AFL 2017 Media - 2018 AFL Fixture Release

Gillon McLachlan says the AFL haven't had to think about the Grand Final time slot yet. (Photo: AFL Media)

THE GRAND Final start time remains undecided as the AFL ponders whether to move the decider into a twilight time slot.

AFL chief executive officer Gillon McLachlan said in October last year it was "inevitable" the match would eventually be moved forward to later in the afternoon. 

McLachlan said on Tuesday he would come closer to forming his view in November. 

"We haven't had a good think about that because we haven't had to," McLachlan said. 

"I'll get with my board in November and they'll have a view. We'll look at all the different stuff."

Meanwhile, extra time will not be introduced for the home and away season in 2018. 

That idea gained momentum following an extraordinary elimination final between Port Adelaide and West Coast that went into extra time, only to be decided by a Luke Shuey goal after the siren. 

The thrilling nature of that contest led some to contend draws should no longer be a legitimate result.

"There won't be any change for next year. We changed the Grand Final (and) we've had extra time in finals for some time," McLachlan said.

"I must admit, I don't see the need to change it for the home and away. It was a compelling final, and gripping, but for me the draw is part of the fixture. 

"Again, this will be one (football operations manager) Steve Hocking will have carriage of and he may well have a different view than me, but I know he's got some priorities and he hasn't mentioned that one to me."

The bye week before finals remains in place for next season. It was introduced in 2016 and the Western Bulldogs rose from seventh to take out the flag, the first time a team won the premiership without finishing in the top four under the current finals system.

Hawthorn coach Alastair Clarkson was among the voices declaring the week off was not good for the game and while McLachlan said the AFL was not locked into keeping the bye, he did not see an issue with it.

"I've always had the conversations with the coaches who were outspoken historically, if you tell me that there is a greater advantage to finishing fifth than fourth, or third than second, then we will change it, and they couldn't," McLachlan said.

"If the advantage from finishing top four to bottom four (of the eight) is less, and you can for the first time ever like the Bulldogs win from outside the top-four, I don't think per se that's a bad thing."

McLachlan pointed to several factors as having improved the finals series.

"Good quality football, players back from injury, building into the first round (of finals), so not really sure of the downside to be honest," he said.

"There were questions from some of the coaches around if you finish top two or top four, was there a challenge with the second bye? Well, the top four teams made it to the prelims and the two top teams made it to the Grand Final, so I think that's put that to bed again."