Gil backs Higgins ‘big call’, lauds TV ratings
AFL boss Gillon McLachlan says he believes Jack Higgins' contentious mark against Collingwood was the right call.
McLachlan trumpeted the massive ratings from the clash, which topped out at 1.617 million viewers when regional figures were included.
Seven's ratings hit 1.275 million viewers including 1,000,000 metro viewers and 273,000 in regional areas, while Fox Footy attracted 342,000 viewers.
McLachlan said it was the biggest home-and-away figure in a decade at least, in a 10-goal slug where Higgins kicked a key goal late in the third term.
He was awarded a mark on the goal line after the video reviewer judged all the ball had not crossed the line between goalpost and point post.
McLachlan said having checked this morning the decision was correct.
"I thought it was a courageous decision and I thought it was correct," he told 3AW.
"It was a big call but I have looked at it again this morning and I thought it was right. He is a great story and I saw his interview afterwards and I didn't realise how dark and so difficult a spot he was in."
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McLachlan said the new TV rights deal only agreed to with both parties at 2am on Friday morning would uphold 18 teams across the competition.
"Yes, absolutely," he said about 18 teams continuing under a deal that secures about $200 million of discounts for Fox Footy and Channel 7.
Of that discount he said: "We have revised our deals on the basis of a missed number of rounds this year and spread that over three years, so we are pretty comfortable. It's a fair deal and it gives us certainty on how we will go forward."
McLachlan said the players kneeling pre-match to highlight racism in Australia was done well and was appropriate.
"I thought it was really a gesture that was nicely done, unified, player driven, club driven," he said.
"It was completely supported by us but owned by them and not contrived, a simple gesture that shone a light on the issue of racism in our culture. It was nicely executed and sent the message the industry wanted to send.
"I think that there is racism still in cultures generally in Australia and it's something we need to shine a light on."