The Roar
The Roar


Please stop with the 'premiership quarter' nonsense

Jack Gunston of the Hawks is congratulated by teammates. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
Roar Pro
6th September, 2017

‘The premiership quarter’ refers to the bizarre notion that, somehow, the third quarter of an AFL game is more important than any other quarter. I have no idea where it originated, but the sooner it goes back to where it came from, the better.

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Every weekend, without fail, you’ll hear some footy commentator who really should know better, blurt out “Well, this is the all-important premiership quarter!”

Really? So what about the first two quarters? What about the last quarter? Should we just forget about them?

Last time I checked, the game of Australian rules football is played over four quarters, where each point won and each point conceded is worth exactly the same. Each quarter runs for 20 minutes, plus ‘time on’, so what exactly are these commentators banging on about? It makes no sense.

Every second of a football game, every contest, every mark, every handball, every tackle, every ruck contest, every hardball get, every shepherd, every chase, every desperate spoil, every out-of-bounds, every penalty, every goal, every point… It all counts towards the end result.

The team that manages to do all of this most consistently over the course of the season makes it to the finals. Then, who plays well enough in the finals to actually win the grand final, guess what? They win the premiership.

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Can you imagine any coach saying to his or her players before the game, “Don’t worry about the first two quarters, or the last. Do anything you like. It’s all about the third quarter, that’s the premiership quarter!”


Surely, there’s got to be something else commentators can talk about than to continue to bleat out nonsense every time the third quarter of a football game commences? It’s lazy and does nothing to further enhance our enjoyment or understanding of the game.

It reminds me of a crazy tennis theory that was all the rage about 25 years ago, when respected commentators like John Newcombe and Fred Stolle used to prattle on about the “all-important seventh game” of every set. Remember that utterly ridiculous idea?

The seventh game is no more or less important than any other game played, but Newcombe, Stolle and co. would carry on like pork chops every time the seventh game came around.

Thankfully, this ludicrous theory is pretty much dead and buried. My hope is that the so-called ‘premiership quarter’ goes the same way, and as quickly as possible.