What time is the 2021 AFL grand final?

What time is the 2021 AFL grand final?

It's the question on lips around the nation. The answer, as always, is that it depends where you live.

For the first time in AFL history the game will not be played at the sport's spiritual home, the MCG, thanks to the ongoing COVID-19 lockdown in Victoria.

The decision to move the grand final to Perth was made at the end of August and, on Saturday evening the flag decider comes down to Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs

Due to Australian time zones, the tradition Saturday afternoon game is impossible. Instead the match will be played during the "cool" of the WA evening.

Here's what that means for the rest of us.

Starting times for those watching around Australia

7.15pm (AEST) - ACT, NSW, QLD, TAS, VIC

5.15pm (AWST) - WA

6.45pm (ACST) - SA, NT

Now we've sorted all that out, here's why ACM columnist Rohan Connolly believes you should settle in and watch.

He believes Saturday's playoff between Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs is a match-up made in heaven.

"There's the romance, of course, Melbourne without a premiership for 57 years, and the Bulldogs having won just one in the past 67 years (and that 2016 win only their second in history)," he writes.

But there's more to it, read more here.


But you don't want to watch alone, even if you're in lockdown

We're now all pretty familiar with using online platforms, so it's worth considering whether technology could help you host a COVID-safe finals gathering.

ACM Tech Talk columnist Mathew Dickerson shared his advice for organising and hosting an onlinefooty finals fiesta.

"First, work out how you are going to watch the actual game," he said. "There is free-to-air TV, pay-TV or streaming options to consider. If you are going to watch it on streaming, make sure you have enough bandwidth."

He suggested all participants watch the game via the same method to avoid latency issues. For reasonable quality streaming, Mathew advised a minimum of 5Mbps download stream available and to use a speed testing app, like http://speed.axxis.digital to check.

"If you are going to use a streaming service to watch the actual game, that may limit the ability for some of your online options," he warned.

"If the game is using up a large amount of bandwidth, you may not have enough to do a video call, fo example. Ideally, each 'stream' you require should have a bare minimum of 5Mbps available."

The next step is to set up video conferencing with friends to watch the game together. Mathew said there were a few considerations.

"If you have access to a tablet or iPad or notebook, use that in preference to a phone as it has a bigger screen and it is easier to see people," he said.

"You then need to decide what platform to use. If everyone has an iPad or iPhone, the easiest option is to use the Apple proprietary video call, FaceTime.

"If you have a mixture of Apple and Android devices, decide on any one of several options for video calls. You can choose Zoom or Teams or Skype or Viber or Messenger; the list goes on."

Regardless of platform, the "critical component is that the organiser makes a decision and lets everyone know so they can download the app or perform any setup required prior to the big day," Mathew said.

He noted it was better to use headphones and mics to reduce the odds of audio issues. A common mistake, he said, was trying to hold a tablet or phone unsteadily.

"Friends want to see each other - not the ceiling or the floor and not a jerky, laggy version," he said. "By sitting the device on a chair or table and keeping it still, less data needs to be transmitted, making it better for everyone."

Finally, it is vital to test everything out before the big day. "Do a test video call with everyone involved a few days before the event so you can work out any issues before the actual day."

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