NRL finals system fatally flawed: Ryan - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

NRL finals system fatally flawed: Ryan

By Steve Jancetic 09/09/2008 07:59:41 PM Comments (0)

Coaching guru Warren Ryan has attacked the NRL's McIntyre finals system as flawed with top four sides facing the prospect of being `punished' for opening week victories.

Cronulla and the Sydney Roosters are in biggest danger of being exposed by the finals format, which sees qualifying finals between the top four sides up against the bottom four this weekend.

"There are some really bad anomalies that can occur, when you can get two top four sides playing against each other in a sudden death encounter in the second week of the finals," said Ryan, a longtime opponent of the McIntyre system.

"The McIntyre system discards rankings after week one - all that you've played for all year long in terms of rankings is discarded once the first week is over."

Despite finishing the regular season tied on 38 competition points with minor premiers Melbourne and Manly, the Sharks are the most vulnerable of the top four sides in the opening week.

And worse still, the NRL says it is reluctant to tamper with a finals format which has come under heavy public scrutiny.

There have been calls for the NRL to adopt the system used by the AFL in which the top four and bottom four are split up on the opening weekend of the finals.

Ryan has also come up with his own formula, which he has forwarded to NRL chief operating officer Graham Annesley, which would actually see an extra game played in the second week.

Ryan is part of the committee which meets to discuss prospective rule changes at the end of every NRL season, but the man who guided Canterbury to premiership success in 1984 and 1985 said alternative finals systems were never given an airing.

"I've never spoken about it at the rules committee meeting - they're too busy worrying about wrestling and grappling," Ryan said.

"I've been in there and seen (chief operating officer Graham) Annesley, he's got a copy of (my system) in his file somewhere.

"They're very reactive rugby league, they only react when something really blows up in their face."

Annesley claimed the finals system was reviewed on an annual basis but denied there was a push to have it changed.

"It gets approved every year, but there's been absolutely no move to change the format," Annesley said.

"The McIntyre system has served the NRL well."

Not only do Cronulla face the remote prospect of being bundled out in the first week of the finals - should the bottom four sides all win - they could also could be `punished' if all results go according to plan in week one.

Should the top four all win this weekend, Cronulla would be rewarded for beating sixth-placed Canberra by facing up against Brisbane in a knockout match in week two.

The Roosters, who finished the regular season in fourth spot six points behind the top three, would get the seemingly easier draw against the Raiders.

Should Brisbane upset the Roosters, Cronulla would get the Roosters in week two, with Brisbane facing Canberra.

If the only upset this weekend was St George Illawarra beating Manly, the Roosters would be `rewarded' for winning in week one with a second week match against the Sea Eagles.

Sharks halfback Brett Kimmorley claimed he hadn't looked too far into the permutations of how Cronulla's finals schedule could pan out.

"You've just got to look at it that you've got to win," Kimmorley said.

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