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Alternative playoff system?

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Post by RDW Sun Aug 21, 2022 12:25 pm

Having lived in Australia the last few years I've become a huge Aussie rules (AFL) fan. Their home and away seasons ends in a top 8 who then go onto the 'final 8' competition.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/AFL_final_eight_system

It's more complicated than rugby's traditional 1 v 8, 2 v 7 etc straight knock out system, but has huge excitement and crowds and dominates the Australian press (same for NRL).

It essentially means the following:

Top 2 after regular season - home QF against 3/4. If you win you get a rest week then a home 'semi final'. If you lose you get another home game and a 2nd chance to make the semi, which is also at home.

3/4 - away QF against 1/2 then same outcomes as the top 2

5-8 - 5v8 and 6v7. Loser is out. Winner is away from home against the loser of the 1-4 games.

Thoughts on this in rugby? More games.in rugby is always a problem, and the UK audience doesn't like complicated playoffs, but I actually like this system. It makes 4th place in the league incredibly invaluable and worth fighting to the end for - typically there are a lot of teams with a real chance of finishing 4th come the end of the season. There's a reduced penalty for having one bad game in the knockouts (If you finish top 4 you get a 2nd chance). And let's face it 1v8 in most rugby leagues will only have one winner. 5-8 playing each other first prolongs the excitement of their seasons.

Thoughts?

RDW
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Post by Poorfour Sun Aug 21, 2022 3:23 pm

I quite like it as a system - the repechage quality means that a good season isn’t ruined by one bad game. The big issue for rugby is how to fit the extra two weeks into a schedule that’s already heavily congested.
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Post by RDW Mon Aug 22, 2022 4:08 am

Indeed, plus the AFL puts in a rest week in between the finals series which makes a lot of sense.

Certainly if the aim of a league is to prolong the season for as many clubs as possible, it's a good system

Worth noting that AFL is just the league comp - there's no Heineken Cup or Premiership Cup equivalent that goes in tandem - so all the focus is on a finals series.

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