Fans watch on during the round five match between Greater Western Sydney and St Kilda at Manuka Oval, April 13, 2024. Picture: Getty Images

IS THE traditional Saturday 2.10pm start time dead?

Among a number of notable features that emanated from Tuesday's latest fixture release, the absence of any games in the classic Saturday 2.10pm timeslot caught the eye of the game's traditionalists.

When last year's fixture reverted to the customary Friday-Sunday schedule at the midway point of the year, it included nine Saturday afternoon double-headers featuring a 1.45pm start and the more traditional 2.10pm bounce.

However, this time around when the League unveiled the rounds 16 to 23 fixture on Tuesday, despite reverting to a Friday-Sunday weekend in the absence of Thursday night footy, the old-style 2.10pm Saturday game was glaringly non-existent.

Instead, all Saturday double-headers would feature two coinciding 1.45pm starts.


Despite being a feature of most V/AFL fixtures dating back to the 1970s, the AFL's head of broadcast, operations and scheduling Josh Bowler told the latest schedule marked the beginning of a shift away from tradition.

"We'll generally do 1.45pm as a start time, partly for consistency, but also a 2.10pm game will overlap with our 4.35pm Saturday twilight timeslot. For ease of being able to watch both games, we want to ensure it starts at 1.45pm," Bowler said.


Indeed, the Saturday twilight spot at 4.35pm is becoming the newest hit marquee timeslot on the AFL calendar. Clubs, fans and broadcasters have been calling for more blockbuster games at that time and have been rewarded more often this year.

Geelong's clash against Carlton in the Saturday twilight spot recently attracted a crowd of 87,775 people, while a host of pivotal fixtures with finals implications have been handed that timeslot in the upcoming fixture.

A general view of the Anzac observance during the round seven match between Geelong and Carlton at the MCG, April 27, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

A Sydney derby between the Giants and the Swans, a QClash battle featuring Gold Coast and Brisbane, and the Grand Final rematch between Collingwood and Brisbane are among the upcoming games scheduled for Saturday at 4.35pm.

"The twilight spot has become more and more popular over the last couple of years, particularly among clubs and fans from an attendance point of view," Bowler said earlier this week.

"It's a really good balance of people being able to do what they need to do on the Saturday morning, then go to the footy and still be able to either go home early enough to put the kids to bed or go out for dinner after the game.


"What we're seeing with that is some really high-quality matchups being successful in that spot and some really good TV outcomes as well."

However, the success of the Saturday twilight timeslot – and the AFL's subsequent desire to avoid any crossover with the position – will mean this season becomes the first since 1993 without a single Saturday 2.10pm on the fixture.