AFL grand final 2020: When is it, how to watch, venue, crowd
For the first time 123 years, a VFL/AFL grand final will be played outside Victoria with the League confirming Brisbane's Gabba as the host of this season's showpiece.
The COVID-19-hit 2020 AFL season has already forced the competition into new ground on many fronts and the decider will be no different.
Beating out bids from Western Australia and South Australia, Queensland has been given the nod for the October 24 event.
It's a huge coup for football in the state as the AFL continues its attempts to capture some of the rugby league-dominated market.
Queensland and the Annastacia Palaszczuk government played a key role in keeping the season going as the threat of coronavirus looked like it may bring the whole thing to another halt.
As a thanks to the state, and an attempt to gain some ground on the rival code while the three Queensland NRL teams are struggling, the AFL confirmed the historic news at a press conference on Wednesday afternoon.
"This has been a season like no other and I want to thank the Queensland community and the Queensland Government led by Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk for their support and for wholeheartedly welcoming our game to the state," McLachlan said.
"This is an exciting opportunity for our code and we look forward to now working with the Queensland Government to successfully stage the 2020 Toyota AFL grand final – the biggest event on the AFL calendar - and share it with the community right across Queensland."
Here's everything you need to know about the 2020 AFL grand final.
What time will the grand final start?
The AFL has confirmed the 2020 grand final will be a night game, another first for the competition, with a 6:30pm local time start, making it 7:30pm AEDT.
Significantly, the game will be on the same day as the Cox Plate which will be run at 4:15pm and also broadcast by Channel 7.
"I know a night grand final at the Gabba on October 24 will provide a fitting and spectacular end to a season like no other," McLachlan said.
Whether this will usher in a permanent change to a twilight or night game remains to be seen, but don't be surprised if this was the opportunity the AFL has been waiting for.
The League boss also said they'd considered the possibility of dew on the ground making for a lesser spectacle, though they're confident it won't be an issue.
Grand final tickets and attendance
Around 30,000 fans are expected to be allowed into the venue on the day, with the AFL to confirm an exact number shortly.
It's been confirmed 54 per cent of the tickets allocated will go the members of the competing teams, split evenly.
Any remaining tickets left will go on sale to the general public.
It's a signifcant increase on a regular MCG grand final, with just 34 per cent of the tickets going to members of the competing teams.
The AFL also confirmed a prize freeze on tickets for finals.
"The entry level reserved seat category for weeks one and two will remain at $35, with week three matches (preliminary finals) at $65, and the grand final at $185," a statement read.
What is the back up plan for the grand final?
The AFL confirmed Adelaide Oval has been locked in as the contingency plan should the Gabba not be able to host the game.
Strict border restrictions in Western Australia left the AFL little choice but to reject their bid for the decider.
How will the finals work?
A standard top eight finals system will take place, with those teams in the top four playing off in a qualifying final in week one, giving them a double chance should they lose.
The only teams guaranteed a home final should they finish high enough on the ladder are Brisbane and Port Adelaide.
West Coast are unlikely to be able to play a final at home given teams going into Western Australia would have to quarantine for seven days beforehand.
As has been the case since 2016, a pre-finals bye will take place, meaning the Eagles could potentially host a final at Optus Stadium in week one.
McLachlan confirmed the Victorian teams, as well as the Giants if they make the finals, may get their pick of the neutral venues currently being used for a home final.
What does this mean for the future?
In 2018, the League agreed a deal to host the grand final at the MCG until at least 2057.
As part of the agreement that sees the 2020 edition heading away from the venue, the AFL has extended the deal with the Victorian government that will now see the grand final held at the MCG until 2058.
The AFL has also agreed to allow the MCG to host more games in 2021, while the next two drafts will also be held in Victoria.
How to watch the 2020 AFL grand final?
You can watch the game on Channel 7, live and free-to-air.
However, if you were planning to watch it on Foxtel, then you're out of luck - the game will not be broadcast live on Foxtel, but they will show a complete replay at night, if you want to re-live your team winning (or losing) the flag.
This is the same for Kayo users - the streaming service will not be broadcasting the grand final, due to contractual obligations. So, your best bet is to sit in front of a TV with Channel 7, and enjoy the best game of footy for the year.
What will the grand final entertainment be?
Rumours legendary Brisbane band Powderfinger would be performing at this year's grand final gained a hell of a lot of steam but McLachlan put those to bed.
It's not yet confirmed who will be playing, though with travel restrictions, Aussie artists are almost guaranteed, with Queenslanders likely to be in the box seat.
Who will sing the national anthem at the AFL grand final?
The Voice alum Tim McCallum will sing the national anthem, after a successful social media campaign to get the long-time Saints fan the gig.
"I sing from a wheelchair, and when I get a good backing or a band behind me, I can actually feel it through my wheelchair - and it feels like it lifts me up,” Mr McCallum said.
“It’s my dream to sing the national anthem at the AFL grand final, and the fact I can do this in front of my home crowd at the Gabba just makes the occasion even more special.
“I want my performance at the AFL grand final to show people out there – no matter what obstacles life throws at you - that you too can be centre-stage.”
This won’t be McCullum’s first national anthem on a national stage.
Who will present the Norm Smith Medal?
Former North Melbourne and Port Adelaide star Byron Pickett, who claimed the honour when the Power won their first AFL flag in 2004, will present the Norm Smith Medal for this year's best on ground.
What are the 2020 AFL premiership odds?
Sportsbet has Richmond favourites to take out a third premiership in four years.
It's tight at the top though, with Geelong, Brisbane and Port all in the mix according to the bookies.
Odds provided by Sportsbet. Correct as of 17th September.
What does recent grand final history look like?
The past decade of grand finals have produced some absolute corkers.
Last year's decider between Richmond and the Giants? Not so much. Unless of course you're a Tigers fan.
In 2018, Dom Sheed sunk the hearts of Magpie supporters across the nation to seal the flag for West coast.
However, that isn't the only great grand final we've seen recently, with 2011, 2012, 2016 and 2017 all nail-biters that would have had even the most neutral of supporters sitting on the edge of their seats