My mates in Victoria could never understand why I liked the NRL’s McIntyre Final Eight System. If I am to be objective, maybe it was because I was influenced by the fact that I have been lucky when it trying to find the grand final winner in advance.
The new Rugby League Commission have flexed their bulging muscles by scraping Ken McIntyre’s system and adopting the AFL model.
McIntyre’s strategy was to assist the top two teams after the regular season to meet in the Grand Final, and to ensure that no matches are repeated twice in the first three weeks.
When compared the AFL model, the McIntyre system allows for many more combinations of the eight teams in the grand final – with only two combinations (1v7 and 2v8) being completely impossible.
The Commission where no doubt concerned that under the McIntyre system, the possibility exists that the teams that finish third and fourth on the ladder could be eliminated in the first week of the finals. It should be pointed out that this has never happened in the history of the McIntyre system.
There are criticisms of the AFL system, but it is designed to give the top four teams an easier road to the Grand Final than the second four teams. The top four needs to win only two finals to reach the Grand Final, while the second four needs to win three. In addition two of the top four teams receive a bye in the second week of the playoff and then play at home in the third week, while the other two play at home in the second week.
What does this change mean for futures punters?
It is significant, very significant. The McIntyre system heavily favoured the top two teams, but it was much easier for a team to make the grand final from outside the top four. Parramatta proved this in 2009 when they were 14th mid-season before finishing eighth after 26 Rounds.
Under the AFL system, it is mathematically much harder the win the Flag from outside the top four and virtually impossible from seventh or eighth.
I hope my mates were right about the AFL finals system being better, but I’ll get back to you once I’ve seen it for myself.