Is it too much for us to ask for a fair AFL draw? Surely if we want to have the best competition in the world we need to make sure our fixture is fair.
Having 18 teams play 22 games a season makes this difficult. But I think I have found a way that the fixture could be fairer.
There would have to be some compromises, and we might not get to see the big Victorian clubs play each other twice, but times are changing.
Now that we have 18 teams, simply divide the ladder into three sections for 2013. Section A would include teams occupying first to sixth, Section B seventh to 12th, and Section C 13th to 18th (their ladder positions might change after the finals).
Here is how it would work: each team plays each other once over the first 17 rounds. Then over the last five rounds each team play the other teams from their section again.
So say the ladder was decided now and its Round 23, Sydney would play Adelaide, Collingwood, Hawthorn, West Coast and North Melbourne twice next year. And Richmond would come up against St Kilda, Carlton, Fremantle, Essendon and Geelong twice.
To me the only disadvantage this would have on the AFL would be less blockbuster games between clubs like Collingwood, Carlton, Richmond, Essendon and Geelong.
But this should be counter balanced when you think of how many more matches there would be that means something to each club. Every game would be important.
Another rule change that should be brought in is the priority picks for teams that win under four games in a year. Instead of rewarding clubs for losing games, reward the team from Section C that wins the most games in that section.
So say if Gold Coast beat four of their five opponents in the last five games, they deserve to grab another draft pick.
This would help the competition become move even, exciting, and just more riveting for the AFL and its legion of fans.
We have to change something in order to return the AFL to a fair and honest game, where the best teams finish top four, and teams like Adelaide and North Melbourne don’t get easy wins over the whipping boys GCS and GWS. Let’s try and think outside the box.
Possible sections as of Round 20 2012:
Section A: Sydney, Adelaide, Collingwood, Hawthorn, West Coast, North Melbourne.
Section B: Geelong, Essendon, Fremantle, St Kilda, Carlton, Richmond.
Section C: Brisbane, Port Adelaide, West Bulldogs, Melbourne, Gold Coast, Greater Western Sydney.