Sunday, September 09, 2012

New AFL Draw proposal

The structure of the Australian Football League fixture has been a mess for years now. Many of the clubs complain that the fixture needs to be more fair. The AFL how ever constantly ignores these requests because they want to stage the block buster games more often in a season. The AFL would prefer to have clubs such as Collingwood and Essendon play each other twice every season, or both Perth teams etc.

In 2012, amid controversy Adelaide received a very easy draw which saw them play Greater Western Sydney (new club), Gold Coast (new club) and Port Adelaide (greatly under performed) twice. This east draw saw them finish in second place at the end of the home and away season. Adelaide went on to lose easily to Sydney even as they hosted a home final.

The finals draw for 2012 has seen a potential top six being capable of winning the Grand Final, but realistically only the top four have a chance of winning. After the first two games of week one of the finals, it became clear that Hawthorn and Sydney will mostly likely contest the Grand Final. The following six games before the Grand Final are almost meaningless.

The AFL are scared that they will not deliver to the tv networks the highest ratings for the $1.253 billion contract that was drawn up in 2011.

I have a solution that will deliver both fairness and even more blockbuster games.

1) During rounds 1-17 all 18 clubs will play each other just once. This will be done on a purely home and away system. If Sydney were to play Collingwood at the SCG in 2014, then they would play at the MCG in 2015, and then alternate every year. If Collingwood had 9 home games in 2014, then they would have 8 home games in 2015.
This is the only fair format with the current number of clubs, unless a conference system is put in place, which has other draw backs. The team at the top at the end of round 17 would be the minor premier.

2) After round 17 the finals would start. All top 8 teams would play each other once. The finals series would have a new ladder. The points from the first 17 rounds would not count. Home games would be played on rank from the first 17 rounds.

3) After the 7 week finals series the teams would have a new ranking of 1-8. From this the top four would go through to direct knock out semi finals, followed by a Grand Final.

This new system would not involve less blockbuster games. In fact there would be four blockbuster games every week for the duration of the finals series. The finals series would remain competitive to the very end as all top eight teams battled to earn their place in the semi finals.

Under this system every game would count for the entire season.

The ten teams that did not make the finals could play an 'International Cup' exhibition series. The ten teams could be split into two groups. Group A would play each other once (four games per club) in a European Pool. Group B would play each other once in a North American Pool. There would be a final in each group with the winners playing a Grand Final in either London or New York (to be rotated each year).

No comments: