Has an eagle-eyed fan spotted AFL boss Gillon McLachlan in the crowd at a finals game 24 years ago?

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Has an eagle-eyed fan spotted AFL boss Gillon McLachlan in the crowd at a finals game 24 years ago? Footy supporters are divided – with one saying a telltale clue proves image is fake

  • A fan looking suspiciously like Gillon McLachlan has been spotted in a video of the 1998 Qualifying Final between Adelaide and Melbourne at the MCG
  • Fans are divided as to the identity of the individual, who wore a Crows scarf 
  • McLachlan recently announced he was stepping down as AFL CEO 

An eagle-eyed AFL fan reckons he’s spotted AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan wearing an Adelaide Crows scarf and coat of arms hat at the Qualifying Final between the Crows and Melbourne Demons 24 years ago at the MCG – but fans are divided about whether he’s right.

McLachlan, who grew up at his family’s farm in Mount Pleasant, 55 kilometres north-east of Adelaide, would have been 25 in 1998 – which was the year the Crows captured back-to-back premierships.

An eagle-eyed fan spotted current AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan wearing a Adelaide Crows scarf while watching the 1998 qualifying final between the Crows and Demons at the MCG.

An eagle-eyed fan spotted current AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan wearing a Adelaide Crows scarf while watching the 1998 qualifying final between the Crows and Demons at the MCG.

McLachlan has been the AFL CEO since 2014.

McLachlan has been the AFL CEO since 2014.

Fan Damian Watson just before the 13-minute mark after the Crows kicked their first goal of the game, which they went on to lose by a huge 48-point margin before a masterclass by Andrew McLeod in the grand final gave them the flag.

See the evidence for yourself here.

The timeline definitely appears to fit: McLachlan was living in Melbourne in 1998 and playing for the Uni Blues in the VAFA Competition after a brief stint on Carlton’s supplementary list. 

He’s never confirmed openly whether he was a Crows fan, obviously to keep the peace among AFL fans and avoid any notions of bias.

Some of the Twitterati seemed to indicate he was in fact a St Kilda supporter, but any true Adelaidean would’ve jumped onboard the Crows bandwagon when they were playing dynamite footy in the late 1990’s either way.

The AFL got in on the action on Twitter as to whether it was in fact McLachlan, proclaiming, ‘Now this is a question we really need an answer to!’ 

Victorian Racing and Sports Minister Martin Pakula got in on the act as well, agreeing ‘that might well be Gillon’.

Not everyone was in agreement the handsome chap in the Crows scarf was actually him though, with one tweeter commenting, ‘This image looks like another fake to me, much as I may want it to be true. Seats don’t align properly is clue #1’. 

Other tweeters were quick to rubbish that idea, with Watson linking to the full game footage, which would definitely appear to show McLachlan.

McLachlan recently announced he is stepping down as AFL CEO at the end of the season after eight years in the role. 

McLachlan (left) announced he was stepping down earlier this month alongside AFLPA CEO, Paul Marsh.

McLachlan (left) announced he was stepping down earlier this month alongside AFLPA CEO, Paul Marsh.

He hasn’t yet announced what the next step in his career is – will we perhaps see him in an Adelaide Crows scarf more often now?

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