NRL retains McIntyre system for finals - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

NRL retains McIntyre system for finals

By Steve Jancetic 02/12/2009 08:01:32 PM Comments (0)

St George Illawarra's stunning NRL finals demise has not affected the game's decision makers, with the McIntyre system to be retained in its current format next season.

The Dragons this year became the first minor premiers to be bundled out in straight sets when they lost to Parramatta and Brisbane in consecutive weeks.

Their speedy exit prompted calls for teams that finish in the top two be given home ground advantage in the second week of the finals, after the Dragons were forced to play their semi-final against the Broncos at a raucous Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.

But the two-day NRL CEO's conference, which wrapped up in Sydney on Wednesday, voted to stick with the status quo, reasoning that the protection of elimination in week one of the finals for the top two sides was already enough of an advantage.

Numerous examples were put forward at the conference of how any change to the system would disadvantage teams that finish outside of the top two.

"The years of the McIntyre system have coincided with some of the best finals series in the game's history," NRL boss David Gallop said.

"There are always points of debate but sometimes you have to stand back and look at the whole picture and the system has served rugby league well."

The CEO's conference also decided against stripping Sydney teams of home ground advantage in week one of the finals, an issue which raised its head this year when tens of thousands of fans were locked out of WIN Jubilee Stadium when the Dragons hosted the Eels.

The NRL said it would be open to teams moving games to bigger venues to accommodate larger crowds, but conceded it would be unfair to impose a set of rules that only apply to Sydney teams.

"Nothing will stop a club making the decision to move a home finals match if they choose," said Gallop, who had offered the Dragons $250,000 in compensation to move the game against the Eels to the Sydney Football Stadium.

"However, the idea of the NRL telling members and players that `you have spent 26 weeks to win the right to a home final, but we are going to simply take it off you,' is not something that we believe the NRL should do.

"Until we reach a point where demand is such that we move away from home finals in week one completely, and that is clearly not the case at the moment, I don't believe we can target some clubs, their players and fans, and not others."

The NRL also announced that it expected to generate a $1.5 million windfall for community programs courtesy of the All Stars game to be held on the Gold Coast on February 13.

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