AFL Boss Reveals Dream Entertainment Headliner Who Knocked Back Eye-watering Sum

11 August 2023 | 2:47 pm | Mary Varvaris

"They offered him money we couldn't afford, and that still didn't tick the box."

International headliners The Killers @ the 2017 AFL Grand Final

International headliners The Killers @ the 2017 AFL Grand Final (Source: YouTube)

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Gillon McLachlan, the CEO of the AFL, has revealed the international act he was desperate to score for this September’s Grand Final.

Joining Neil Mitchell on this morning’s 3AW show (11 August), Mitchell probed whether fellow radio broadcaster Ross Stevenson had organised another act for the Grand Final after Crowded House reportedly pulled out of the pre-game gig.

Stevenson had gone with Crowded House on 3AW’s Rumour File, with McLachlan telling Mitchell he didn’t leak any news about potential Grand Final acts to the media. However, McLachlan seemingly confirmed that Crowded House were booked for pre-game entertainment, revealing that the AFL “will have a replacement, yeah”.

“The thing with the Grand Final is – there are artists who are available and artists who are not available,” McLachlan said. “A lot of this is happening all of the time; this one just managed to become public.

“I can tell you that there was an offer put to an act last night, don’t know if it’ll land,” McLachlan added. “It’ll be really good, really great band or artist. Everyone who is in charge of that is doing their job, but it won’t be Crowded House.”

Mitchell pressed: “Australian or not?” Remaining tight-lipped, McLachlan answered, “I think less likely.”

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Halfway through the chat, McLachlan praised last year’s pre-game entertainment, Robbie Williams, for putting the AFL Grand Final “front and centre, in a good way”. After Mitchell asked if Williams could return this year, McLachlan denied it and referenced the singer’s upcoming November Australian tour.

Mitchell then changed track to another rumoured act to perform at this year’s Grand Final: KISS. “Months ago, when it was revealed that KISS weren’t coming to Melbourne, I said ‘KISS at the Grand Final’. Will I be right?”

McLachlan responded, “I don’t know; I don’t think anyone’s gonna be right at the moment. I think they’re a great band – I think they’ve been discussed…  the last Saturday in September is gonna be the biggest day on the Australian sporting calendar, one of the biggest days in the world. And we'll have a great act.”

In the last minute of the interview, McLachlan joked about a potential wishlist for this year’s AFL Grand Final entertainment – KISS, U2, The Rolling Stones and Beyonce – before revealing the real artist at the top of his personal bucket list: Bruce Springsteen. And the AFL tried offering the spot to The Boss himself.

“I can rule him out – we offered him the kitchen sink, and he's not available,” McLachlan revealed. “So we're working back from Bruce Springsteen this year.”

Mitchell, in apparent shock, responded, “Seriously? Did you offer a return or not?”

“He was certainly sounded out, and they offered him money we couldn't afford, and that still didn't tick the box,” McLachlan said.

The 2023 AFL Grand Final occurs at the MCG on Saturday, 30 September.