Surprise, surprise.

According to a survey by the AFL Fans Association released earlier this week, footy fans are overwhelmingly in favour of keeping the AFL grand final a daytime affair.

And here's another surprise: it's March, and we officially still don't know what time of the day the premiership decider will be staged at on September 30.

For those who are still wondering by this point of the article, yes, the sarcasm knob was turned all the way up to 11 for the introductory paragraphs.

Of the participants who were polled by the AFL Fans Association, a massive 73 per cent wanted this year's grand final to start and finish during daylight hours.

Another 21 per cent were in favour of the biggest match of the year starting with the sun still out, but finishing under a night sky as a twilight contest, like the 2021 decider between Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs in Perth.

It serves as the latest emphatic reminder to the league that footy fans do not want the AFL to meekly follow in the footsteps of American sporting leagues like the NFL, or, closer to home, the NRL for that matter, and schedule their showpiece event under lights.

Aside from the pandemic years of 2020 and 2021, when the league was given license to experiment with the timeslot, the VFL/AFL grand final has traditionally been a daytime affair.

Even in this day and age, with technology seemingly dominating every aspect of our lives, there is still room for some traditions.

And with so many going by the wayside in the footy world in recent years, the daytime grand final remains one of the last great bastions of tradition.

So far, the league has done a good job of resisting enormous commercial and broadcast pressures by keeping the AFL grand final during the day.

In fact, when it could've been so easy for the league to just continue the trend, after the 2020 and 2021 grand finals were held at night and in twilight respectively, they reverted back to a day premiership decider last year. Kudos to them.

And there are so many reasons why it should stay that way, not least of which it being child-friendly and it gives players, coaches and fans of the winning team the chance to celebrate their triumph long and hard.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 24: Tyson Stengle of the Cats celebrates a goal during the 2022 AFL Grand Final match between the Geelong Cats and the Sydney Swans at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on September 24, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/AFL Photos/via Getty Images)

A night match would severely impact youngsters' ability to watch it and considerably shrink celebration time. Surely exposing as many kids to the sport's biggest match, and therefore capturing the imagination of the next generation of footy players, is a top priority?

Channel Seven reportedly continues to push the barrel of a twilight or night grand final and is apparently lazily citing last year's poor grand final ratings as justification for a switch.

Apparently only an average of 2.18 million viewers in capital cities (plus 95,000 viewers on streaming platforms) tuned in for the 2022 premiership decider, making it the least-watched AFL grand final in almost 30 years.

However, viewership peaked at 5.76 million and the game was over before quarter-time as Geelong kicked six of the first seven goals before smashing Sydney by 81 points. So is it really surprising that the ratings were poor?

It also happened to be a glorious day in Melbourne which considerably diluted the motivation of casual fans to stay tuned to a match which, for all intents and purposes, had already been decided in the opening half hour.

Besides, many Melburnians would've taken the opportunity to watch the big game with big groups of mates or down at the pub after being forced to spend the previous two alone on the couch.

And the reason why the 2020 and 2021 grand final ratings were so much stronger was because on both occasions, Victorians were locked down in their homes with nothing else to do.

Why should we copy other sporting codes? Aussie rules is a unique sport in a unique country and should celebrate that uniqueness by continuing to buck the trend and stage its marquee event during the day.

If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

It's also extremely undignified how the ‘will-they-won't-they' pantomime regarding the AFL's decision on the grand final timeslot has become a yearly event.

The grand final is the most sacred day on the footy calendar. Putting it through the wringer of uncertainty every single year is sacrilegious.

The AFL have done well to stave off the tradition-killing hounds to this point, but to shut them up completely, it would be great to see an announcement from league HQ that the grand final will be a daytime affair for the foreseeable future, doing away with the silliness of the annual contrived intrigue surrounding its start time in the process.