Is it time for a best of three grand final series?

Anthony Roar Pro

By Anthony, Anthony is a Roar Pro

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107 Have your say

    The AFL has a responsibility, the grand final is over, and many fans are about to go into withdraw. We want more footy!

    So, what is not to love about the concept of a best of three Game AFL grand final series? More footy. More dollars in the coffers of the AFL and AFL clubs. Additional local stadium revenue.

    More local business through tourism. A chance for interstate teams to watch a grand final in their home city. Many major international sporting competitions have championship series such as the NFL and NBA. Why not the AFL?

    For a bit of post-finals fun, what would a best of three series have looked like between the Adelaide Crows (minor premiers) and the Richmond Tigers (third)?

    Game 1
    Played at the home of the top ranked team grand final team. In the case of 2017, this would have been the Crows and the final would have been held at the Adelaide Oval. This gives the highest ranked team, Adelaide, a genuine advantage in the grand final Series.

    Adelaide for argument sake win Game 1, 110-72. They earned the right for an advantage during the season, and the Crows take an early 1-0 in grand final series lead. They are in poll position, and the pressure is right on the Tigers.

    Wait a minute, how can you say that, even for arguments sake? Why would the Crows have won this game, if they just lost the grand final to the Tigers?

    Rory Sloane Adelaide Crows AFL Grand Final 2017 tall

    (AAP Image/Julian Smith)

    It comes down to home ground advantage. Would the Crows have had a greater advantage playing at the Adelaide oval instead of the MCG? Yes. And there are number of reasons why.

    Playing dimensions for a start. The Adelaide Oval playing dimensions are skinnier than the fat MCG playing dimensions. The skinnier dimensions were proven in the season and during the finals to suit the Crows potent attacking style of play.

    The Adelaide Oval also enables the Crows to have a greater number of supporters in the crowd. There is an argument that home crowds have been known to influence the odd umpire decisions.

    Further players feel comfortable in their familiar settings. They sleep in a familiar bed and play in familiar surroundings. They do not have to travel in planes, and sleep in hotel rooms in the lead up.

    The reality is, as the game was never played at the Adelaide Oval, so we will never know what a Tigers v Crows grand final game would have brought. But for now, assume Crows are up 1-0.

    Game 2
    Played at MCG, the Tigers home ground. The Tigers win the grand final 108-60. The Tigers level the series 1-1. The series is tied and Bachar Houli ties with Dusty Martin to win the Norm Smith Medal for best on ground.

    Game 3
    This is when venue selection becomes tricky.

    Adelaide were minor premiers, so shouldn’t the final game go back to the Adelaide Oval? Wouldn’t that disadvantage the Tigers though and effectively hand the Crows the Premiership?

    Perhaps compromising is the solution? Host the final game at the MCG, but with a concession, the skinnier boundary line dimensions of the Adelaide Oval should be painted instead of the fat wide standard MCG boundary line dimensions.

    This is still somewhat unfair though; the Tigers would have the Tiger army and the familiarity of Tigerland just down the road. The Crows would have to travel. Crows supporters might not be able to make it back to the MCG for a second road trip.

    A neutral venue then? Interesting but where?

    Where do you think a grand final series decider should be held? Please enter comments below.

    Of course, there is another scenario for a grand finals Series. What if two interstate teams face off in the grand final Series?

    Let’s assume Sydney Swans versus West Coast Eagles. The format fortunately becomes more straight forward.

    Game 1. Played in Sydney (assuming Swans were top ranked home and away team).

    Game 2. Played at MCG.

    Game 3. Play in Perth.

    You will notice the MCG is always game two in the series. This is deliberate. The series could be decided in Game 2 and the MCG after all is the home of Australian Rules Football.

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    The Crowd Says (107)

    • October 1st 2017 @ 3:15am
      Knoxy said | October 1st 2017 @ 3:15am | ! Report


    • Roar Pro

      October 1st 2017 @ 4:36am
      anon said | October 1st 2017 @ 4:36am | ! Report

      It’s become complacent cal now.

      In the last three finals the interstate team has gone into the grand final the highest seed but have been forced to give up home ground adavantage to the lower ranked Victorian team.

      No question today that Adelaide win if the game is played in Adelaide.

      This is a league with a media contract in the billions of dollars but are happy to have never sense of fairness when it comes to the premiership deciding game.

      Are teams like Adelaide just fodder for a Richmond or Western feel good story?

      • October 1st 2017 @ 7:46am
        Slane said | October 1st 2017 @ 7:46am | ! Report

        ‘No question today that Adelaide win if the game is played in Adelaide.’

        Why would somebody who clearly didn’t watch the game yesterday bother commenting on the Grand Final?

      • October 1st 2017 @ 7:53am
        Kurt said | October 1st 2017 @ 7:53am | ! Report

        ‘No question that Adelaide win…’ What a muppet.

      • October 1st 2017 @ 8:03am
        Kurt said | October 1st 2017 @ 8:03am | ! Report

        Well you said that Adelaide would have won by 10 goals at the Adelaide oval and as they lost by 8 that means home ground advantage is now worth 18 goals.

        Honestly, the rubbish that some people come up with on the roar sometimes.

      • October 1st 2017 @ 8:50am
        The Ghost said | October 1st 2017 @ 8:50am | ! Report

        Anyone not basking in the glory of the Team of the People’s premiership is a bum! Eat ’em alive Tigers!

      • October 1st 2017 @ 11:42am
        Kevo said | October 1st 2017 @ 11:42am | ! Report

        Check your facts re 2016 the MCG is not and never has been the Western Bulldogs home ground. Swans have played at least as frequently at the MCG as Bulldogs if not even more given all their finals experience. It is Hawthorns home ground and Dogs beat them in finals, also beating Eagles in Perth and GWS in Sydney – so they had no home ground finals at all. They also beat Swans in Sydney in 2015 and 2016 – so on that basis there is absolutely no argument that the result was due to home ground advantage. Note that in 2015 preliminary Crows beat the Bulldogs at MCG rather than game being at Bulldogs home ground at Docklands – but Bevo was happy to play there as you need to be able to win at the MCG to win GF. If your team is good enough on the day they will win anywhere – Tigers were good enough this year and Dogs last year just let them enjoy it.

      • October 3rd 2017 @ 5:02pm
        bill said | October 3rd 2017 @ 5:02pm | ! Report

        The homeground advantage which ALL intestate teams including Geelong enjoy, flatters their home and away record which helps give them a superior ladder position to the other victoria clubs which share Etihad and MCG as their home grounds (not to mention the deals where Victorian clubs play home games in Tasmania, Canberra and Darwin for $$ from the AFL). At the end of the day, Adelaide were only 2 points ahead of Richmond and Geelong at the end of the home and away season. Geelong sucked it up and played Richmond at the G. If anyone was hard done by, it would probably be Geelong but they sucked it up and got on with it. The intestate clubs can’t have it both ways. Have their cake and eat it too.

    • October 1st 2017 @ 5:22am
      optimus said | October 1st 2017 @ 5:22am | ! Report

      I don’t really know what the solution is, but the AFL has to come up with one and quickly. To hell with corporate profits – it should be about the integrity of the competition. I met a couple of European tourists yesterday who were watching the grand final in the same bar as me. They were absolutely beside themselves about the fact our game’s deciding match is not played on neutral territory. Or at least on the home ground of the top side.

      I’m a Demons supporter so it really doesn’t affect me since I can’t see our boys getting close in the next few years and haven’t been close since the debacle that was 00. But surely I can’t be the only lover of this great game whose sick of seeing it’s premier event ruined by lop-sided contests and below-standard quality of footy.

      2013 – Fremantle (choked)
      2014 – Sydney (choked)
      2015 – West Coast (choked)
      2016 – Sydney (choked)
      2017 – Adelaide (choked)

      and the common theme in all of these games where these sides have played either really poorly or well below their best is the fact their Victorian opponents come out playing like they’ve been on holidays with fresh legs because they haven’t had to travel and they’re used to the MCG. I just can’t see an interstate side ever having enough composure to beat a Victorian team at the MCG on grand final day in this era, unless you play completely out of your skin (as Sydney did in 2012) or you are one of the most legendary teams of all time (as Brisbane were when they won against Essendon and Collingwood).

      I don’t think it’s an easy problem to fix but it should be the AFL’s number one agenda. Stop worrying about who at AFL house is having inappropriate relationships, changing ridiculous MRP rules, introducing unnecessary byes before finals and all this other crap and start focusing on the single issue that has probably effected more flags than anything else in the last 30 years (which of course no one dares discuss in the media because how dare anyone suggest a grand final NOT being played in Victoria! The shock! The horror!) I’d happily give up the grand final being played in footy’s heartland if it meant being able to sit down on the last day in September and witnessing a quality game.

      • October 1st 2017 @ 7:29am
        Not so super said | October 1st 2017 @ 7:29am | ! Report

        Such a long way from Adelaide and Sydney to Melbourne
        Do the players ride bikes ?

      • Roar Pro

        October 1st 2017 @ 9:34am
        Anthony said | October 1st 2017 @ 9:34am | ! Report

        Well said.

        It is not just the GF either. I also feel for Geelong Cats. They finished 2nd and didn’t get a single home final at their fortress which is Simonds Stadium.

        • October 1st 2017 @ 4:02pm
          Dier-ba-zor said | October 1st 2017 @ 4:02pm | ! Report

          Why would they want a final there, Geelong have a 100 percent losing rate in finals at Kardinia.

      • October 1st 2017 @ 10:21am
        Shane said | October 1st 2017 @ 10:21am | ! Report

        10 of the previous 11 grand finals have been won by Victorian teams. Even a team as good as Geelong have problems winning at the MCG. Studies have shown that home ground advantage translates to significant umpiring advantages and higher levels of confidence, competence and testosterone in home ground teams. Yes, and I echo your sentiments, everyone I know in Sydney says one initial thing about Afl, why is the GF always played at the MCG. That was the first thing they said yesterday. Imagine if State of Origin or the Bledisloe Cup where played at one ground. And yes, the NRL grand final has the same issue. The big difference is Richmond had 3 finals on its home ground and earned the right to one. The ANZ stadium is not a big home ground advantage to any Sydney League team. If the GF was done more fairly, we may have had 6 different premiers in the last 11 years.

        • October 1st 2017 @ 10:52am
          fairsuckofthesav said | October 1st 2017 @ 10:52am | ! Report

          Very well argued Shane. Seems the Melbourne-based competition want an AFL but with the advantages of the old VFL. No surprise there.

      • Roar Pro

        October 1st 2017 @ 10:24am
        Anthony said | October 1st 2017 @ 10:24am | ! Report

        Adding to your ideas of improving the AFL, I think there are four areas for the AFL to focus on;

        1. Biased Finals system.
        2. Provide opportunity for smaller players.
        3. Financially assisting struggling AFL grounds/local clubs around the country.
        4. Cracking down on the excessive running distances players must endure. This is a genuine health and safety issue. After Dean Mercer the ironman died of cardiac arrest, Gold Coast cardiologist Dr Ross Sharpe was quoted to the Gold Coast Bulletin “We know high-end, long-term endurance is absolutely a risk factor to death … anyone in that 40-plus age bracket is a (cardiac) risk but being an endurance athlete for many years does expose you to a number of cardiac conditions that can increase your chances of death. As a profession, we see and hear of it not infrequently.”

        I’ve asked Sheek to write an article about this distance AFL players run and offer solutions. Stay tuned. Sheek, my suggestion would be a cap is placed on the maximum allowable distance per game per player. Once players clock over a certain distance in a game, they are pulled from the field.

      • October 1st 2017 @ 10:49am
        Simon said | October 1st 2017 @ 10:49am | ! Report

        In the UK and most European leagues it’s the same, the FA cup is always played at Wembley. I’m from NSW but Grand Final day to me is the MCG, that beautiful green grass bathed in sunshine. And it’s not like they’re playing at Punt Road, it’s a ground shared by many. The big difference I’d make is to allow a lot more of the fans to get their hands on tickets and less corporates. But if we’re waiting for an Australian sporting organisation to make a decision not purely based on money we’ll be waiting a while

        • Roar Pro

          October 1st 2017 @ 5:05pm
          Anthony said | October 1st 2017 @ 5:05pm | ! Report

          Simon, with you their brother. Money rules the world.

          I deliberately started the article with a focus on one thing, a financial incentive for the AFL. More games will bring more ticket sales, sponsors, some type of broadcast rights top up. And it can be a fairer system. Plus the MCG is always protected with a guaranteed game.

      • Roar Guru

        October 3rd 2017 @ 8:11am
        Redb said | October 3rd 2017 @ 8:11am | ! Report

        That’s forgetting that most Grand Finals are lob sided Vic or interstate team, average winning margin is 35 points+

    • October 1st 2017 @ 6:50am
      Dean said | October 1st 2017 @ 6:50am | ! Report

      Hahahahahaha nice try. Nope.

      Comment from The Roar’s iPhone app.

    • Roar Guru

      October 1st 2017 @ 6:59am
      Conor said | October 1st 2017 @ 6:59am | ! Report

      I think keep it the way it is. If the teams are good enough on the day, then they will win, hence why Richmond won yesterday. Because they were good enough to beat Adelaide on the day.

      • Roar Pro

        October 1st 2017 @ 10:08am
        Anthony said | October 1st 2017 @ 10:08am | ! Report

        Thanks Conor, I’ll add to your comment, it is about both being good enough on the day AND having a home ground advantage.

        Richmond are experts at winning at the MCG and have a great record at the MCG. Despite finishing 3rd they had three finals at the MCG.

        The Crows are experts at winning at the Adelaide Oval and have a great record at the Adelaide Oval. They had two finals at home, and then competed in an Away game GF at the MCG.

        The Cats are experts at winning at Simonds Stadium and have a great record at Simonds Stadium. They had zero home finals.

        All three teams are extremely difficult to beat on their home decks. Both Cats and Crows in any other competition would have had a home ground advantage due to finishing higher.

    • October 1st 2017 @ 7:19am
      Dean said | October 1st 2017 @ 7:19am | ! Report

      The “AFL” crucifying the other states by stitching up the AFL GF to be held at the MCG was a disgraceful act and should be undone as soon as possible. The HG advantage for Melbourne teams is only one part. Tying up the economic advantage is the main factor. Richomond having such a huge advantage of playing the GF at their home ground despite finishing below Adelaide throughout the season and finals is grossly unfair. But every year, Melbourne gets the economic advantage of hosting the GF. Is it a national competition? Then make it truly national.

      • October 1st 2017 @ 9:50am
        Rob said | October 1st 2017 @ 9:50am | ! Report

        Then build a bigger stadium. Adelaide oval has recently been renovated… 55000 capacity. 45000 less than MCG. Perth is building a new stadium. 60000 capacity. 40000 less than the MCG. The GABBA holds 45000… 55000 less than the MCG. The SCG 50000… 50000 less than the MCG. ANZ stadium holds 80000… 20000 less than the MCG and will be the wrong shape soon anyway.

        More fans can attend at the MCG. Simple as that.

        • Roar Guru

          October 1st 2017 @ 10:01am
          XI said | October 1st 2017 @ 10:01am | ! Report

          But you don’t build a stadium big enough to host an event that has already been decided to always be at a certain stadium. Likewise, you can build a stadium big enough to hold a huge event if you know it’s always going to host one. If the AFL said that they wanted to open it up for other states to host, the other states would build stadia that can host the event. Since they’ve said it will always be at the MCG, why bother building one that big?

          • October 1st 2017 @ 11:26am
            Reservoir Animal said | October 1st 2017 @ 11:26am | ! Report

            Because maybe it wouldn’t always be at the MCG if there was a decent alternative.

          • Roar Pro

            October 1st 2017 @ 10:44pm
            Anthony said | October 1st 2017 @ 10:44pm | ! Report

            The beauty of a best of three series means the MCG would be filled to capacity in game 2. All other gate takings are just cream on top. Hosting a Grand Final should only be open really to the two teams playing in the Grand Final Series. They should be entitled to take part of that stadium revenue.

            I would be inclined to leave stadium sizes alone. Grand Finals in each city wouldn’t occur in every year and you don’t want empty stadiums. Only Docklands might be in need to a rethink. Get rid of the roof, increase the playing dimensions, and add extra crowd capacity.

        • October 1st 2017 @ 10:54am
          Shane said | October 1st 2017 @ 10:54am | ! Report

          Big deal. As one of my non-afl friends pointed out they play the NZ RU grannie on a cow paddock if that’s the home team’s ground. Also the massive Euro league is played all over, Super Bowl as well. Another thing we all confer on, the MCG is an immensely ugly stadium, the SCG and the Adelaide Oval leave it for dead. Imagine the sun setting on a twilight GF at these grounds or the new Perth stadium. The Melbourne parochialism and MCG stupidity is killing AFL in Sydney. Soccer is on the march and smashing AFL in Western Sydney. Cannot see GWS lasting 10 years.

          • Roar Guru

            October 3rd 2017 @ 8:13am
            Redb said | October 3rd 2017 @ 8:13am | ! Report

            lol – so now the MCG is to blame for the GWS experiment. Hmmm,,,GWS would not exist without the economic power of Melbourne/MCG.

            chicken-egg argument.

        • October 1st 2017 @ 11:06am
          Boz said | October 1st 2017 @ 11:06am | ! Report

          Basing the site for the GF on stadium capacity alone is simplistic. If that was the case, the NRL GF and Origins should all be played at the MCG too.

          • Roar Guru

            October 3rd 2017 @ 8:17am
            Redb said | October 3rd 2017 @ 8:17am | ! Report

            No thanks.

        • October 1st 2017 @ 11:47am
          Rex said | October 1st 2017 @ 11:47am | ! Report

          More FANS can’t attend – the AFL / VFL allocated 35k tickets to the competing teams this year!
          That leaves 20k for corporates at AO which is plenty. Don’t need to allocate 30k MCC tickets if it’s not at that venue.

          Are you saying the atmosphere would be no good in a GF at AO with 55k????

          If you are then you are simply another biased Victorian with blinkers on!

          • October 1st 2017 @ 2:10pm
            Gyfox said | October 1st 2017 @ 2:10pm | ! Report

            Those 35,000 MCC members were a bland colourless section in the middle of a stadium of black, yellow, red & blue. Time for them to be replaced by members of the 2 clubs.

            • October 1st 2017 @ 3:15pm
              Fairsuckofthesav said | October 1st 2017 @ 3:15pm | ! Report


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