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Three by six: m0nty’s conference idea

m0nty’s conference idea

I guess I might as well add my two cents to the current debate about the 18-team AFL fixture.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 25:  AFL Chief Executive Officer Andrew Demetriou addresses all AFL clubs during the 2006 AFL Draft at the Victory Room of the Telstra Dome November 25, 2006 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Sean Garnsworthy/Getty Images)

My preference is for a variant of option 2 among the AFL’s list of five options for dealing with the fixture after the introduction of the 17th and 18th teams.

Dividing the 18 clubs into three conferences – play all teams in the same conference twice (10 games) and the teams in the other two conferences once (12 games). After the end of the home-and-away season either two or four teams from each conference qualify for the finals.

I don’t think, however, that you need to tie qualification for finals to conference standings. I like having one single AFL ladder. Everyone does. When you have six teams per conference you’re going to have weak and strong conferences, and it would be unnatural in AFL fans’ eyes for a team with 8 wins to qualify over a team in another conference with 12 wins, as could happen. The key point to dissociate conference standings with finals qualification is that you need to have a balanced and equitable draw, which is where I think the conferences need to be strictly managed.

The concept is to have rotating conferences, which will produce a series of draws across a six-year period that will produce an equitable outcome for all teams in terms of opponents, travel and income while still maintaining the important historical and geographical derbies.

In short:
– The 18 teams are paired off into groups of two for the purposes of determining conference groupings. These pairings can be reassessed after each six-year period.
– There are two pairs of teams that are core for each conference (we shall loosely call them west, east and south)
– Core west teams are WCE/Freo and Adelaide/Port; core east teams are Brisbane/GC and Sydney/GWS; core south teams are Collingwood/Essendon and Carlton/Geelong (Geelong included due to their current high crowds and special Melbourne-based fan situation).
– The other groupings (for argument’s sake) are Richmond/Melbourne, North/Bulldogs and Hawthorn/St Kilda.
– Each core grouping spends four years of the six in their core conference, and two in another.
– Each non-core grouping spends three, two or one year in each conference, for equitability reasons that will be explained below the example.
– On the names of the conferences, to underline how they are not tied specifically to geography, instead of giving them names after compass directions each AFL team gets one opportunity per six-year period to name their conference after a former great player or administrator.

Example conferences:
Doig: WCE/Freo – Adelaide/Port – Hawthorn/St Kilda
Barassi: Brisbane/GC – Sydney/GWS – North/Bulldogs
Richards: Collingwood/Essendon – Carlton/Geelong – Richmond/Melbourne

Reynolds: WCE/Freo – Collingwood/Essendon – North/Bulldogs
Cornes: Sydney/GWS – Adelaide/Port – Richmond/Melbourne
Parkin: Carlton/Geelong – Brisbane/GC – Hawthorn/St Kilda

Glendinning: Adelaide/Port – Carlton/Geelong – North/Bulldogs
Baldock: Sydney/GWS – WCE/Freo – Hawthorn/St Kilda
Matthews: Collingwood/Essendon – Brisbane/GC – Richmond/Melbourne

Mainwaring: WCE/Freo – Adelaide/Port – Richmond/Melbourne
Merrett: Brisbane/GC – Sydney/GWS – North/Bulldogs
Davis: Collingwood/Essendon – Carlton/Geelong – Hawthorn/St Kilda

Whitten: WCE/Freo – Carlton/Geelong – North/Bulldogs
Blight: Brisbane/GC – Adelaide/Port – Hawthorn/St Kilda
Sheedy: Collingwood/Essendon – Sydney/GWS – Richmond/Melbourne

Ricciuto: Adelaide/Port – Collingwood/Essendon – North/Bulldogs
Dyer: Brisbane/GC – WCE/Freo – Richmond/Melbourne
Kennedy: Carlton/Geelong – Sydney/GWS – Hawthorn/St Kilda

The grouping distribution is as follows:
– Hawthorn/St Kilda, North/Bulldogs and Richmond/Melbourne are never grouped together.
– North/Bulldogs are grouped with all other pairings twice.
– Hawthorn/St Kilda and Richmond/Melbourne are matched with all non-Victorian groups twice, plus one south group thrice and the other once.
– Non-Victorian groups meet their other regional group twice and the non-core Victorian groups twice, then the other four groups once.
– The core south groups meet their other regional group twice, one non-core group thrice, one non-core group twice, and all other groups once.

The groupings within this framework are entirely arbitrary, of course. It may actually suit the AFL to have Collingwood/Essendon in the North/Bulldogs position of playing every other grouping twice, to quieten demands by clubs over favouritism. The fact that one non-core group plays one of the southern groups three times can be exploited by pairing Richmond/Carlton to match up Collingwood/Essendon thrice, for example, to maximise “top four” matchups.

This system would have two years out of six with one all-Victorian conference and two with four interstate sides, while the other four years would have one four-interstate-team conference and two with two interstate clubs. To ensure an equitable situation with travel in a single year, inter-conference games between south conference Victorian teams and non-Victorian teams from other conferences would mostly have to be played in the non-Victorian state.

Take the 2012 example from above, which is the same in terms of state-based club distribution to 2015.

Doig: WCE/Freo – Adelaide/Port – Hawthorn/St Kilda
Barassi: Brisbane/GC – Sydney/GWS – North/Bulldogs
Richards: Collingwood/Essendon – Carlton/Geelong – Richmond/Melbourne

Hawthorn/St Kilda and North/Bulldogs have 12 games against non-Victorian teams, whereas the Richards conference teams have only eight. It would not be fair for the Richards teams to only travel interstate four times while the four other Victorian teams have to travel six times. Given the distribution of matchups, it is a fair outcome for the four core south teams to each contribute one home game to the four Victorian teams in the other groups. This would mean five interstate trips for all Victorian teams save for Richmond/Melbourne with four. (In 2015, Hawthorn/St Kilda are similarly in the position to travel only four times.)

Now, take the 2013 example from above, which is the same in terms of state-based club distribution to 2014, 2016 and 2017.

Reynolds: WCE/Freo – Collingwood/Essendon – North/Bulldogs
Cornes: Sydney/GWS – Adelaide/Port – Richmond/Melbourne
Parkin: Carlton/Geelong – Brisbane/GC – Hawthorn/St Kilda

This time the Richmond/Melbourne pairing is getting screwed with six travels to the four of the others. Again, the four core south teams should give up one home game each, leaving them with five interstate trips. In two of the four years, the pair in the four-interstate-club conference (Richmond/Melbourne once and Hawthorn/St Kilda once) should get two of those home games each to take them to four travels, with the other two to go to the other non-core pairings to give them five. In the other two years North/Bulldogs get two extra home games and the others one, to completely even things up across the six years.

Yes, it’s complicated, but it’s as fair as I can make it. I had nothing to do this afternoon, and it showed! 😉



  1. Hellopplz

    June 19, 2010 at 5:51 pm

    Nice take on things m0nty. Complicated but still :).

    Goodbye to some of the annual games if the pairing system goes ahead like this?

  2. hawk_88

    June 19, 2010 at 6:37 pm

    The mathematician in me likes that Monty, but the engineer in me says it is too complicated. If we put the system beyond the understanding of most people they reject it to a degree, saying it is rigged and stupid, not matter how good the theory is behind it. You only have to look as SC to see that.

    I really like the re-draft at the end of 17 rounds. It keeps the season really fair so everyone plays each other once. This outcome seems to me to be from the KISS (keep it simple stupid) design philosophy.

    From that, I prefer the re-draft with the 3 groups of 6 (not such a fan of the seeded model) so you get the top 6 automatically qualify for the finals, have the slate cleaned and play for position. The next 6 play of for the remaining finals spots (this could be between 2-6 depending on the finals structure (I prefer the top 8 to stay the same)). This is the group that would expand should the AFL further expand. The final 6 play off for top draft picks. This totally removes tanking from the equation which is a good thing because even if you believe it doesn’t happen, it does damage the game that others do.

    I will post my idea below as to not create a monster post.

  3. hawk_88

    June 19, 2010 at 6:45 pm

    A nice even 17 game season where everyone plays each other once sits really well with me. A way to achieve this simply is to have a 17 round season. However the AFL is never going to reduce the length of the season as TV rights are worth WAY too much. So how do we do it?

    We have a second competition. A Champions League style knock-out tournament with 32 teams. Sound crazy, it is a little but bare with me. You have the 18 AFL sides, and the top 14 sides from state leagues play. The break down of the 14 state sides could go a few ways, but something like the top 4 from the VFL, SANFL, WAFL and the top 2 from the TFL. The AFL sides would have to play a minimum of x players who are 21 and under and x players from the rookie list to a.)keep it competitive and b.)deepen the pool of AFL talent by exposing more players to the senior level.

    It is does have issues that would have to worked out like is a round (which would be 16 matches round 1) played over 1 week and if so what venues are used? What happens to state league sides that have AFL listed players playing for them? Would the tournament be played out in a block or be spread out throughout the year?

  4. Igottarash

    June 19, 2010 at 6:47 pm

    Under the current top 8 system – 8 teams will not play finals. With 2 more teams I would say add another 2 teams to the finals system and keep it the same as is!

    I prefer every team plays each other twice (18) games with top 10 going through to the next stage.

    Have a longer final series.

    This is good for the AFL because finals games are generally better attended. Possibly negotiate better TV deals.

    There are plenty of permutations you can do with the 10 teams.

  5. Igottarash

    June 19, 2010 at 6:56 pm

    Alternately scrap the Pre-Season comp altogether and have then play each other 3 times ie 27 games (compared to the current 22 games which is not that much more games)

    Just by comparison – every team plays about 4 games during the NAB cup anyway

  6. tallanvor

    June 19, 2010 at 7:10 pm

    igottarash … what planet are you from?

  7. Igottarash

    June 19, 2010 at 7:13 pm

    Football nowadays is about money – and that means TV coverage.

    If you have a better idea on how to meet these financial challenges then please put it down for everyone to see.

    The NAB-cup are not well attended/watched compared to regular season compared to finals hence the structured I put forward goes some way to meeting that

  8. nick1408

    June 19, 2010 at 9:50 pm

    Way to over-complicate things! will the average AFL fan (or new fan for that matter) be able to follow this? At least the regrouping idea has been tested before (in the Scottish Premier League) and therefore has credible data that can be gained before an implimentation. Has any other system been tested that has been proposed?

  9. Disco DB

    June 20, 2010 at 9:23 am

    Don’t worry about it m0nty, the AFL will find a way to f*ck the game up the best they can.

    @hawk_88 – I think an in-season cup is a great idea (the ‘AFL Cup’). Portsmouth in the FA Cup this season is a great example of not being a chance for the premiership, but having something else to play for. Maybe it could be a more experimental format of two 45 min halves and 15 players a side.

    17 game season is fine. Have 2 split rounds. If no ‘AFL Cup’, then have 8 weeks of finals. 27 weeks of footy, like this season, but 4 more weeks of finals.

    Done. Beer anyone?

  10. Grovesy

    June 20, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    I like the idea of having each team play each other once. To fill out the season bring back State of Origin.

  11. Big Lance

    June 20, 2010 at 9:43 pm

    Yuck. Teams play each other once, play 5 or 6 teams twice, keep it simple and traditional. No conference shit this isn’t the NBA.

  12. djmckf

    June 20, 2010 at 11:26 pm

    I must admit that I hate the whole idea. Had a look at the options today. Conferences blow. Not sure how they do it but will be fair to say that whatever they do they will find a way to completely take the heart and soul out of the game even more than they have over the last ten years!

    I like the FA cup style idea though! Great to see the country/suburban teams have a crack at the big time in a knockout cup.

  13. Daniel_79

    June 20, 2010 at 11:40 pm

    I wish they’d just do a normal draw. If they do this I’ll stop going to games, stop all footy tipping, stop all fantasy stuff. We DON’T need to americanize our great AUSTRALIAN! game of aussie rules! Why we are even thinking about I really don’t know.

  14. tallanvor

    June 21, 2010 at 12:04 am

    igottarash (great name by the way), in reference to my earlier post ‘what planet are you from’, it can be loosely translated into ‘what the hell are you on about’ or ‘do you even watch football’ because this is what you said

    “I prefer every team plays each other twice (18) games with top 10 going through to the next stage.” & “Alternately scrap the Pre-Season comp altogether and have then play each other 3 times ie 27 games”

    Now please correct me if im wrong bout how the F does an 18 team comp play each other twice or thrice and end up playing 18 or 27 games?? Did I miss something and instead of adding two teams we’re dropping six and having a 10 team comp. Just the Vic’s maybe

  15. hawk_88

    June 21, 2010 at 12:10 am


    It isn’t a matter of Americanising (the irony that you spelt it with the American ‘z’ and not the British ‘s’ hasn’t escaped me) the sport.

    The AFL is doing what you would expect every professional organisation to do, explore ALL of the possibilities in an effort to provide the best product they can. They said themselves that they admit that they are starting from a very good base but would be negligent not to at least look at the other possibilities. You could argue that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it but the current system isn’t perfect and IF they find something better, why not go with it?

    I wouldn’t be unhappy with the current system, but I like one of the options they outlined more than our current system. It isn’t the conference system, our game just isn’t suited to it financially, historically and structurally. Make your views heard on the AFL website, that is the only way you can possibly effect the eventual outcome.

    Remember that how it is isn’t how it always has been. When new teams have come into the league, changes have been made, primarily to the finals structure and some changes have been made without the catalyst of new franchise entering the AFL/VFL as well. I think it is fair to say the current structure is as good as it has ever been and the only way it got here is via change.

  16. hawk_88

    June 21, 2010 at 12:13 am


    I think what he meant was a 2 conference system where teams only play within their conference. If that is the case his maths are a little off as even though their are 9 teams within each conference, it takes 8 rounds to play every team once as you don’t play yourself.

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  18. chico-t02

    June 21, 2010 at 7:07 am

    Option 3 is best i think.

    Play once. Thats 17 rounds. Final 5 rounds are played between top 6, middle 6 and bottom 6.

    Top 6 play for minor premiership/ladder position.

    Middle six play to make the 8.

    Bottom 6 should then play for draft picks so no more tanking.

  19. illusive

    June 21, 2010 at 10:21 am

    Option 3 is more appealing to me but a few changes may be advisible taking into account a 10 team final series

    Top 6: stay as it is battle for ladder positions etc
    Middle 6: top three teams progess to finals
    Bottom 6: top team has a chance to progress to finals if it can beat the fourth best team in the middle 6

    Some may say its unfair to the teams in the middle 6 but it does add a bit of incentive for the bottom 6 to at least be competitive

    On another note merging north, melbourne, doggies and stkilda into 2 clubs to keep it as a 16 team competition is another option i would like the AFL to consider

  20. Sharker18

    June 21, 2010 at 10:25 am

    i like the 3 conferences idea, i think they would have to have certain teams in the same conference each year (eg. WC/Fre, Adel/PA, Coll/Car/Ess, Bri/GS, Syd/GWS) i dont see this as a big disadvantage because no team stays up the top for ever and in the long run it will even itself out. Other then the groupings mentioned above i would think conferences would be determined by the previous years ladder positions.

    For the record i really hope they keep the current final 8 system but dont think they will.

    As for the FA Cup style i dont see that working because AFL teams would SMASH non-afl teams. Works in soccer – not AFL.

  21. hawk_88

    June 21, 2010 at 12:29 pm


    I prefer the top 8 for finals. The majority of teams shouldn’t be able to make the grand final by the end of the season. It just seems to make sense that fewer teams make it. Also a smaller group in the finals allows more than a simple elminiation style tournament if they want to extend the length of the finals.

    As for merging teams, not going to happen. Mostly because the AFL doesn’t have a say, even if it wanted to.

    There is a much greater divide in skill level than soccer and the game shows up differences in skill due to higher amounts of scoring, however my idea to combat that was to have conditions on the AFL teams selected. So you could say 8 of your players have to be 21 and under and you have to play at least 4 players off your rookie list. I’m not sure what balence of numbers would work, or if it even would work, but it is worth exploring in my opinion anyway.

  22. LeatherHed

    June 21, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    I can see the complexity of the conference model being a major issue, especially when considering the new / occasional viewer or follower of the game. Unnecessarily confusing AND annoying. Has the AFL stopped to ask why the NBA is the only sport that uses these conferences?!

    Option 3 for mine.

  23. stevemac

    June 21, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    While I love your idea m0nty, I agree with hawk88 about the need for a balance between innovation and simplicity.

    And hawk88/disco db, the AFL Cup idea almost makes me need to go to the toilet! I love it! Sharker18 – I think it would be more even than you think if you consider the AFL clubs fielding a B-team for most of their matches.

    @ The Plus Four DT Talk, its those $$ signs that made the AFL take great leaps forward in the past 15 years.

    @illusive – I like your idea about consolidating the Victorian clubs, but we should also take away Port Adelaide and the Crows licences and start-up a Northern Adelaide and Southern Adelaide, both playing in an inner city stadium.

    It sounds like there is a lot of support for some form of representative football which I don’t think the AFL should ignore. Rather than State of Origin, they should have under 25’s vs. over 25’s (or Cameron Ling, Todd Banfield and Daniel Merrett et al. vs. The Rest)

    Whatever is implemented, I hope it has the flexibility to accommodate new teams in the future.

    Pre-Season: Representative Football
    Home and Away: 17 Rounds
    AFL Cup: 6 Rounds (1 x every 4 H&A Rounds)
    Finals: Top 8

  24. Bomber man

    June 21, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    or we could just keep 22 rounds, keep the top 8 system and if you are drawn to play 4 good sides twice then bad luck

    i appreciate how much time and effort has gone into your proposal m0nty but surely it doesn’t have to be any more difficult than how i have put it above. enough has changed in the afl over the last 5-10 years so why cant we at least keep the system we already have and just add in 2 teams?

  25. rusty007

    June 21, 2010 at 5:04 pm

    monty having a conference would not work because afl is still deeply ingrained in vfl queensland and nsw would not survive, the sanfl and wafl would be severly damged by this proposal
    18 teams should continue to play each other at least once and marquee games should be repeated ie showdowns, collingwood carlton, previous years finalists and clubs who have big turnouts playing particular sides should be cosiderered on an annual basis

  26. Spector

    June 21, 2010 at 6:35 pm

    Slightly off topic but can anyone explain how you distribute 22 byes to 17 teams for 2011 equally…?

  27. asmodean

    June 21, 2010 at 8:05 pm

    The current format attempts to hold derbies and rivalries twice a year already, with some teams playing each other twice and others only once without much evidence of ironing out the occurrence. I think rusty007 is right, where it should be kept in the traditional 22 (or 24) round roster. It’s worked fine up until now, the concept of a brand new format is very exciting and all, but if it isn’t broken why try to fix it? A new format is a novelty, and I can’t see how changing it to a different system will improve it at all.

  28. monkeybums

    June 21, 2010 at 8:24 pm

    the 12 extra byes that have to be made up are obviously in even numbers so my guess would be 6 rounds with only 7 games allowing for 3 byes that week. would make dream team a total head case for 6 weeks, although being the afl i wouldnt be surprised to see only 4 games in the last round meaning 9 byes and 6 games the previous week with 5 byes.

    think your theory is too complex monty, if youre setting up a system to be fair over a number of years you might aswell just say each year you play your rival twice plus 4 other teams and the other 12 once, after 4 years each team will have played their rival 8 times and every other team 5 times, if they get the rivalry matchups right for victorian teams it would be great for rival fans and fair amongst the remaining teams. maybe let the wa/sa/qld/nsw teams play their rivals 8 times over the 4 years but victoria could share theirs around so that way the afl wouldnt have to pick between collingwood/carlton, collingwood/essendon, carlton/richmond, essendon/hawthorn etc

  29. team rohan

    June 21, 2010 at 8:24 pm

    Its not just the NBA which has conferences, but also NFL and I believe baseball as well.

    The simplest way to make a 10 team finals series is just to have the first week as a ‘wild card’ round where 7v10 and 8v9 play-off to be the 7th and 8th team and then just continue finals as is.

    Conferences could work, if it was based around geography. You wouldn’t want Brisbane and Perth teams to have to play each other multiple times because the travel schedule would be a severe disadvantage for those clubs. That is the biggest limitation I can see with your conference idea Monty.

    3 conferences could be good though (at least better than 2). Play every team once, that is 17 games. Then play the teams in your conference a second time, so we still get 22 game seasons.

  30. hairydog84

    June 21, 2010 at 8:27 pm

    montys idea is stupid and will never work. it will kill the derbies and showdowns. 24 game season with a draw system and 8 teams finals.

  31. LaHug

    June 21, 2010 at 8:40 pm

    I really like the two conference system with the top 4, 5 or 6 going through from each conference. Sure, one conference could have more talent and better teams could miss out on finals, but the simplicity would make it great. Also, the conferences could also change each year based on the results from the last year. For example, 1, 4, 5, 9, 10, 13, 14, 15, and 18 in one conference and the rest in the other. Or something like that.

  32. Marcz

    June 21, 2010 at 9:56 pm

    gotta say im a fan of option 4 only, it basically extends the finals by 5 rounds so it will be taxing on the teams but awesome for fans, i dont think the all year conference is any good if u look at the american sports which it seems to be modelled from there are some sub par results, in the NBA over the last 10 years the lowest seed in the western conference finals has had a 60% win percentage and the eastern conference lowest seed has averaged a 47% win percentage,consequently there are better teams in the west with better records that dont make finals, option 4 will ensure the teams deserving of finals make them

  33. Marcz

    June 21, 2010 at 10:06 pm

    sorry guys top six middle six bottom six option

  34. jackflash

    June 22, 2010 at 2:02 am

    22 rounds will stay with us for a long time and so will that last day in September, traditional sentiments have a powerful hold.

    But for the finals we should not reward mediocrity, 18 teams means at most 9 should play a finals series, any more in the finals and the exclusivness of the event is comprimised.

  35. Damoman

    June 22, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    has to be something that can be summed up in a paragraph. option 3 for me.

    there’s no need to be attatched to playing teams twice.

    essendons terrible draw this year makes me biased. We got away with some respect in the geelong game and got a good win over the hawks, I’d like to continue taking on new sides. Instead they get second chances and our season is as good as over from playing these sides again.

    17 games play every team once. after that, even conferences.

  36. Max Power

    June 22, 2010 at 5:19 pm

    Posted this on

    Things don’t need to get so complicated. Keep it simple. Every team plays every other team once, (preferably in the first 17 rounds), and each team plays 7 other teams twice (preferably in the first and last 7 rounds). This means a 24 round season. Top 8 make the finals, which are played in the same format as they are currently.

    The Finals are for the elite teams, there is no way a team in the bottom half of the league should get to play finals. You don’t play 22-24 rounds of footy just to weed out the bottom 6!

    The only thing which needs to be addressed is the inequality of the draw. This can be fixed quite easily. You take the previous years ladder and divide it into 4 sections. 1-4, 5-9, 10-14, 15-18. Each teams fixture is then made up by playing:
    3 teams in their own section twice,
    2 teams in each of the two nearest sections twice, and
    one game against each team in the section farthest from their own.

    This serves the AFL’s equalisation policies (eg. Draft picks, Salary Cap), allows freedom to allocate blockbuster double ups, and guards against unfair draws.

    Some examples of what this draw would accomplish:
    Top four would have to play each other twice, and only play bottom four once.
    Bottom four would only play top four once each and play each other once.
    Mid range teams would not have to play all top four sides twice, as Essendon (8th) do this year.
    Teams finishing close on the ladder would have very similar strentgh draws.

  37. carpsi

    June 22, 2010 at 6:53 pm

    Why is everyone complicating things??

    Next year or when there is an 18th team, The bottom 8 sides from the previous year should play every other bottom 8 side twice and play the top 8 sides from previous year once.
    Therefore the top 8 sides should play each other twice and bottom 8 once.
    Chuck in one of the new teams in either category.
    Nine teams in each category now.
    Therefore a total of 16 games per team will be played from their category.
    Another 9 games each from the other category.

    25 round season. Have all teams on the same ladder. For finals they can do whatever they want.

    I follow a heap of american sport and every sport is divided in conferences. No good I feel. Too complicated.

    Any objections/ support. Go for it 🙂

  38. DredgeD

    June 23, 2010 at 11:48 am

    I just need to point out that the ‘Top 6, middle 6, bottom 6’ idea is ridiculous. Here’s why;

    The bottom 6 playing for draft picks makes NO sense. The whole idea of the draft is equalisation of the competition. You are now suggesting that this equalisation will occur by awarding the best draft picks to the clubs who are playing best(6th worst club).

    AFL: Yes we realise your list is terrible and you can’t win a match to save yourself but you may not now, or in the future, have a draft pick any higher than 6.

    That’s so illogical it makes my head ache. But if we remove this lunacy the bottom 6 guarantees 15 dead rubbers a season. Not good for football.

    The top 6 is also a problem. It effectively becomes a finals series before the finals series and, depending on how you structure the finals, may lead to more dead rubbers.

    For best effect, imagine we had this system now. 15 rounds then break the teams into 2 groups of 8. Top 8 play finals bottom 8 play for draft picks. Do you think the end of the season would be very interesting?

    Let’s draw a line through this option right now!

  39. hawk_88

    June 23, 2010 at 12:25 pm


    I have to totally disagree. For start pick 6 is still a very good pick. From memory Joel Selwood was picked at 7 as had a major impact on the team almost immediately. The idea of draft equalisation still requires smart recruitment and a bit of luck.

    Let me ask you a question, what is worst for footy, Melbourne V Richmond where both teams are trying to win or both teams are trying to lose, worst still both sets of fans want them to lose or want them to win.

    The competition already naturally structures itself this way from round 17-18. You have your top 5-6 who are already clearly in the finals and are playing for position on the ladder for a second chance in the finals. You have your next 4-5 who can still make the 8 if they win enough and the bottom 5-6 who can’t make the finals and have nothing but pride compelling them to win.

    What this system does is group teams such they both have the same motivation to win. The both have the same consequences to lose which makes it much more exciting that Collingwood playing Richmond for the second time in the season with only one team having something tangible to take from a win.

  40. DredgeD

    June 23, 2010 at 9:44 pm


    You can’t have it both ways. If there is no difference in the first 6 draft picks then tanking is pointless and clubs in the bottom 6 group will automatically play for a win without extra incentive and there are 15 dead rubbers.

    If there is a difference between pick 1 and pick 6 (which history says there is) then my original argument holds. Either way the bottom 6 doesn’t work.

  41. hawk_88

    June 23, 2010 at 11:48 pm

    It does still hold up. They are still getting to pick before 12 other teams at the very worst. My point was that a club won’t collapse without getting the number 1 pick. Of course you want first access to the list of talent which is incentive to play to win.

    As I said, by round 17-18, teams already know whether or not they are a chance to make the finals. Under the current system, senior player are often rested, others have surgery to enable them to have a full pre-season without having to worry about recovery. Then there are teams that even *might* actively aim to lose. What you already have is 4-5 rounds of some dead rubbers. It is the status quo. This system’s purpose is to remove dead rubbers from the season.

  42. Disco DB

    June 24, 2010 at 7:50 am

    @carpsi – sounds alright. There’s a chance average teams with upside, who look like finishing 6/7/8th, might tank to miss the finals, so they can get a possibly easier fixture next season and have a crack at top 4. That would’ve worked well for Hawthorn this season. Freo would easily be top 4.

  43. elslpaos

    June 24, 2010 at 4:30 pm

    I have a radical idea so bare with me. This format fits to a 24 round season while keeping the current top 8 finals system.
    Along side a premiership season we have a separate Cup competition with group stages and knock-out (NAB Cup maybe?). How this would work is we would have every team play each other once in the regular season (17 rounds) and have 7 weeks for the Cup competition.

    There would be 4 Groups, two groups with 4 teams and two groups with 5 teams. Groups could be organised by seeding via previous year ladder position. The first 4 weeks would be dedicated to the Cup for the groups with 5 teams, each team playing a team in their group once, while the groups with 4 teams would get 1 practice match and then start the group stage. The 2 top teams would progress to the Quarter Finals of the Cup.

    After the group stage the premiership season will begin. After 5 weeks, the premiership season would break for 1 week for the Quarter-Finals of the Cup, where the winners progress to the Semi-Finals of the Cup.

    After the Quarter-Finals of the Cup the premiership season will continue. After 5 weeks, the premiership season would break again for 1 week for Semi-Finals of the Cup, where the winners progress to the Grand Final of the Cup.

    After the Semi-Finals of the Cup the premiership season will continue. After 7 weeks, the premiership season would be completed and the following week would be for the Grand Final of the Cup.

    After Grand Final of the Cup the regular 4 week Final series would commence as normal.

    What do you think?

  44. Andrew3737

    June 27, 2010 at 10:43 am

    Wafl clubs are not that rich won’t be able to afford club travel a lot. I say seperate the h&a season from the finals.

  45. Danoz

    June 30, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    I made this suggestion to afl:

    Option 3 is the best. However i also think there could be a few changes

    H/A 17 rounds, on a 2 year rotation, if you play a home game against a team one year, then you play away the next year.

    After rd 17 split into 3 groups, ladder reset.

    First, bottom 6, as suggested by afl, play for draft picks, prizes etc (note that afl didn’t say how prizes/picks would be awarded, and i’m sure an equitable format could be devised.)

    The problem is, if you reward last place with something as valuable as 1st pick, there will always be either teptation or speculation regarding tanking. Perhaps if a team was to finish bottom 6 two years running they could get a consolation pick after rd one of draft i.e pick 19 – this would mean to tank to gain this pick, a team would miss out on finals (explained below)so unlikely a team would tank to gain pick 19.

    Another suggestion for bottom 6 could be to play 1 more game each at the start of finals (13 v 14, 15 v 16, 17 v 18) and the winner gets the higher pick of the two teams.

    Top 12 split into 2 groups of 6 teams, with equal weighting of ladder positions (e.g. 1st, 4th, 5th, 8th, 9th, 12th in one group, 2nd, 3rd, 6th, 7th, 10th, 11th in the other)so teams play each other team in group once, and top 4 teams in each group go through to current final 8 in this order – 1st week
    Qualifying finals
    1. 1st (group A) v 2nd (group B)
    2. 1st (B) v 2nd (A)
    Elimination finals
    3. 3rd (A) v 4th (B)
    4. 3rd (B) v 4th (A)
    2nd week (as in current system)i’m sure you can work the rest out.

  46. radmaggot

    July 1, 2010 at 8:28 pm


  47. TNTre

    July 8, 2010 at 10:33 pm

    Personally I’m not a fan of the conference idea.

    I think playing 17 rounds, playing each team once, would work. Would love to see the advent of a state of origin competition being worked into a break in the season to fill out the games to 22, but can’t see that happening due to the AFL’s love of money. Even with more teams I’d say leave the top 8 as it is, a top 10/18 instead of a 8/18 would encourage mediocrity in teams.

    Though I don’t think the state of origin would take off, an AFL cup, with possible inclusions of the ‘outpost’s’ of footy in South Africa, New Zealand, and Papua New Guinea would definitely create a show case for the AFL.

  48. poita78

    July 12, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    I’m not sure about the regular season fixturing, but anything more than 8 teams in the finals is rewarding mediocrity. We saw last year with Essendon making the finals with 10 wins and being belted by Adelaide how unnecessary it is to have 50% of teams playing finals.

  49. koggy

    August 2, 2010 at 4:59 pm

    Wow you must have been bored Monty…

    Only problem i see with this is that it takes 6 years to get through a full cycle.

    Premiership windows arent that big – you’d hate to get a tough conference in your 1-3 year chance.

    Whats wrong with everyone playing everyone once (17 rounds). Then split into 3 conferences of 6, based on ladder position as follows…

    Conf 1: 1,6,7,10,13,18
    Conf 2: 2,5,8,11,14,17
    Conf 3: 3,4,9,12,15,16

    5 more rounds of everyone plays everyone in their conference then just take the top 8 on the final ladder?

    This way the draw cycle is only 2 years as you either play home OR away. and your final 5 games a year are based on your performance.

    only small issue i have though is 9th arguably gets a better draw than 7th & 8th for the final 5 rounds but conferences can be tweaked (this was just copying the afl’s conference idea)

    Its simple, it makes sense and it means EVERY year is exactly the same as the last except home or away.

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