The AFL is expected to stage a historic night grand final if it clashes with the Cox Plate in October, Victorian sports minister Martin Pakula says.
With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing the AFL to shutdown for two months, the league will verge into the traditional horse racing season in order to declare a premiership winner.
If the AFL pushes through with its regular season and finals from the June 11 resumption, then the decider will fall on October 24 – the same day as the Cox Plate at Moonee Valley Racing Club.
Moonee Valley boss Michael Browell is adamant on staging the Cox Plate during the day.
Pakula says the two events going head-to-head would be far from ideal and hinted the AFL should not stand in the way of racing.
“I think in terms of who gets priority, my instinct is that it is the MVRC’s day in the calendar,” Pakula told RSN.
”The AFL is the sport that’s moving, so I think the Moonee Valley Racing Club, if they indicate a strong preference to remain during the day, then I think the AFL should respect that and I think that they will.”
Despite regular calls to fall in line with nearly all major football codes in the world and hold its showpiece at night, the AFL has stuck with a day game.
AFL Commission chairman Richard Goyder has previously stated he wants a night grand final, while league chief Gillon McLachlan believes a decider under lights is inevitable.
Geelong coach Chris Scott said last week a later start to the grand final should be seriously considered.
“Just because people throw it up, doesn’t necessarily mean that’s their strongly held view,” he told reporters.
“I can completely see the rationale behind a twilight grand final, and I don’t think because it’s been a strange season it changes the merits of it.”