AFL clubs show support for wildcard round

By Roger Vaughan,

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    Clubs have surprised AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan with their level of interest in a wildcard round the week before the finals.

    A fixture option, debated at length during Thursday’s meeting between the league and the 18 club chief executives, is to replace the round-23 bye with one or more wildcard games.

    One wildcard option is games featuring seven v 10 and eight v nine on the ladder, to maximise the importance of matches leading into the finals.

    McLachlan said “about 12” options were discussed as the AFL tried to improve the lack of fairness in a fixture that featured 18 teams and 22 rounds.

    “The fixture (debate) was animated – it was a really good discussion,” he said.

    “I’m not sure I’m getting many wins there.

    “Wildcard got a lot of discussion – there was more interest in a wildcard round leading into finals than I thought there would be.

    “That had, I would say, not universal but a significant level of support … that was the thing that was probably most surprising,” McLachlan said.

    He added no substantial fixture reform, such as the 17-5 model, was likely for next season – but there was debate on Thursday that wildcard games might be possible.

    The AFL’s ongoing CBA negotiations with the players and the upcoming AFLW expansion were other agenda items, but the fixture was the main meeting topic.

    © AAP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (13)

    • May 18th 2017 @ 6:26pm
      Tony Tea said | May 18th 2017 @ 6:26pm | ! Report

      Isn’t half of the first week of finals a wild card round?

      • Roar Guru

        May 18th 2017 @ 7:24pm
        Cat said | May 18th 2017 @ 7:24pm | ! Report

        no.

      • May 18th 2017 @ 9:16pm
        SmithHatesMaxwell said | May 18th 2017 @ 9:16pm | ! Report

        Essentially because there are no divisions or conferences in the AFL.

    • May 18th 2017 @ 10:32pm
      bobburra said | May 18th 2017 @ 10:32pm | ! Report

      Cannot see the sense in this. Seventh & eighth effectively just make up the numbers, yeh I know the ‘doggies” won from 7th. last year but more the exception than the rule. With this proposal 10th.could play finals after winning maybe 10 games (less than 50% win/loss,and this is good for the game? I don’t think so.
      As it is,the current final eight is boring,this only makes it more so.
      That’s my view, for what it’s worth.

    • May 19th 2017 @ 12:54am
      Beni Iniesta said | May 19th 2017 @ 12:54am | ! Report

      How are crowds going in 2017?

      http://afltables.com/afl/crowds/summary.html

    • May 19th 2017 @ 10:51am
      Joe B said | May 19th 2017 @ 10:51am | ! Report

      This is just a PR exercise… there is no way clubs would vote for this. It is hard enough for a team to finish 7th or 8th and progress into the finals, and now have to play an extra finals game without the week off. This effectively makes it a top 6 with the illusion it is a top 10. It certainly gives 5th and 6th a leg up for their elimination finals.

      • Roar Guru

        May 19th 2017 @ 1:43pm
        Train Without A Station said | May 19th 2017 @ 1:43pm | ! Report

        Really?

        I think teams would love a chance for an extra home final.

        • May 19th 2017 @ 7:34pm
          Joe B said | May 19th 2017 @ 7:34pm | ! Report

          Assuming highest ranking hosts, 7 and 8 hosts 10 and 9. 5 and 6 host the winner of these finals. So 7 and 8 host 1 final max, not extra finals. If your club always finish outside the 8, then you might like it… successful clubs probably wouldn’t. No way this would get majority support.

          • May 20th 2017 @ 8:37am
            Train Without A Station said | May 20th 2017 @ 8:37am | ! Report

            That’s 1 home final they wouldn’t have hosted.

            1 extra. Not bad for the bottom line.

            The only club potentially impacted is those who get that final, as they could lose it.

    • May 19th 2017 @ 12:59pm
      SmithHatesMaxwell said | May 19th 2017 @ 12:59pm | ! Report

      I wouldn’t mind top 6 teams having a bye with 7th vs 10th, 8th vs 9th the first week and then the second week 1st vs 8th, 2nd vs 7th, etc with none of that double chance or week off before the prelim rubbish we have now.

      1st week becomes wild card round, 2nd week quarter finals, 3rd semis, 4th the Grand Final.

      Evens the playing field more come the prelims. Finals should always be sudden death imo. Makes for more drama.

    • May 19th 2017 @ 1:05pm
      SmithHatesMaxwell said | May 19th 2017 @ 1:05pm | ! Report

      Also, if the AFL wanted to stretch this out for more dollars, then couldn’t they make the preliminary finals based on two aggregate matches. So each side gets a home game and we decide the result on the aggregate score over two games.

      I want to see the 4 best teams playing more football, not teams that finished 9th and 10th.

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