NRL season launches with new finals system

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    Rugby League fans, the new season is upon us and it is expected to be one of the best in the code’s 104-year history.

    In their first major decision the Independent Commission announced at the season launch that the NRL will no longer use their McIntyre system and will instead return back to the system used in the mid-90’s.

    Make no qualms about it, John Grant and the Commission are the real decision makers of the game. David Gallop has been a stern supporter of the McIntyre system, used since 1999, and he has said multiple times over his 10 year tenure that “this is a system that suits our game better”.

    But come season launch, he now toes the company line saying “It’s a fairer system for the top four clubs”.

    The flaw of the McIntyre system was really felt in 2008 when the Warriors (8th) defeated the Storm (1st) 18-15 at Olympic Park. The Storm then had to travel away for the rest of the finals system and the Warriors received a home game the next week.

    While most have criticised the fact that third and fourth could be knocked out in the first week, it has never happened.

    Nevertheless, the recalled system rewards teams who finish in the top four, making it harder for teams finishing fifth to eight to make the grand final, as all their games are knock-out.

    The season launch was a special event, held at the new headquarters of Rugby League. It featured the second instalment of the Bon Jovi ad campaign and the official season launch by two of the young stars of the game in Daly Cherry-Evans and Kieran Foran. Some hate it, but I personally think the Bon Jovi ad is a great campaign.

    Round one starts with a blockbuster Thursday night, most likely a full house, in Newcastle. It promises to be a great opening night. The round ends on Monday night with another blockbuster with the Rabbitohs – Roosters derby, although this game should have been scheduled on a Sunday afternoon.

    My tips for round 1 are: Knights, Broncos, Storm, Cowboys, Bulldogs, Warriors, Tigers and Roosters.

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    The Crowd Says (4)

    • February 27th 2012 @ 1:02pm
      Mark said | February 27th 2012 @ 1:02pm | ! Report

      This is a nitpick. But you admitted that the finals system was used back in the 90s. So then you shouldn’t titled this article “NRL season launches with new finals system.” It should’ve been called “NRL season launches with a return to the old finals system.

      Also, if they didn’t like how in the McIntyre system how if 1st place lost and had to travel away, why couldn’t they keep the finals system and just change that if the top 4 teams lose they still get a home finals for the next round?

    • February 27th 2012 @ 1:11pm
      turbodewd said | February 27th 2012 @ 1:11pm | ! Report

      I still think our playoffs are badly flawed. In the first round of the playoffs 2 teams can lose and still progress to the 2nd week. Why perform at your best if you know you wont get knocked out? And the fans vote with their feet, you can see every year that first round playoff crowds arent sellouts. That unforgivable!

      All playoffs should be sudden death. And it should only be top 6. This would boost average crowds and give us sellouts.

      SofO proves quality utterly trumps quantity. Give us just a top 6 with sudden death and you will see quality and each team perform at their best.

      • February 27th 2012 @ 1:52pm
        Pete75 said | February 27th 2012 @ 1:52pm | ! Report


        Disagree there’s no incentive for the top four to win in the first week. Winning in the first week gives you one sudden death match to advance into the GF, whereas losing means you’re facing two sudden death matches before the GF.

        With regards to the fans voting with their feet in the first round, this is largely because so often we have a team from a different region competing in the game. The beauty of home finals in the first week is that it prevents say, North Queensland and Brisbane attracting fourteen or fifteen fans in Sydney.

        You won’t see six team finals as it means that teams become unable to qualify fairly early in the season, which impacts attendances, and also means you have less games to sell. The fact that those games are high rating finals matches is the final death knell for anything less than an eight team finals series.

    • Roar Rookie

      February 27th 2012 @ 5:01pm
      Len Newey said | February 27th 2012 @ 5:01pm | ! Report

      Rugby League The Greatest Game Of All

      It’s has been a long time coming

      Their theme songs I’ve been humming

      These boys who play the game of rugby league

      They are out to do their best

      As they battle with the rest

      So many will be injured and fatigued

      But they all will keep on going

      In this game you can’t be slowing

      They are out to win, for all us fans out there

      So go on and support your team

      Keep alive this football dream

      Grab your mates and watch them play the game somewhere

      This mighty game they’re playing

      It really goes without saying

      Rugby league, the greatest game of all !

      Len Newey 2012

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