AFL looks to expand season format - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

AFL looks to expand season format

By Justin Chadwick 12/03/2010 06:38:11 PM Comments (0)

The AFL are considering whether to implement a nine or 10-team finals format for when the competition expands to 18 teams in 2012, according to chief executive Andrew Demetriou.

And Demetriou said the pre-season competition was here to stay despite former Essendon forward Matthew Lloyd calling for its scrapping.

Demetriou confirmed the AFL are exploring the merits of expanding the home-and-away season to 23 or 24 rounds once Gold Coast (2011) and Greater Western Sydney (2012) join the competition.

And Demetriou hinted the league was leaning towards creating a nine-team finals format, although the merits of 10 teams making the finals was also being discussed.

"We're actually doing a huge body of work on 17 and 18 teams," Demetriou said in Perth on Friday.

"As you know there'll be a bye next year (and) we're doing work around whether it'll be a 22 or 23 or 24-round season when we go to 18 teams.

"They're all options that we're looking at.

"Our guys are doing a mountain of work with a sub-committee that involves clubs on what the structure of the competition will look like (so) hopefully by mid-year, probably towards August-September, we'll have a better feel."

The AFL have used a top-eight finals format since 1994 but Demetriou hinted that was likely to change in 2012.

What do the finals look like? Do we still have a final eight? That's being done at the moment," Demetriou said.

"We have a top eight with 16 teams, which is 50 per cent of the competition. When you go to 18 teams someone could run the argument 'why haven't we got a top nine?'

"There's no reason why we can't have a top nine. Someone sent me a proposal the other day suggesting a top 10.

"We'll look at all those things and we'd be remiss in our duties if we weren't looking at and canvassing all the options."

Lloyd said the pre-season competition was unnecessary and called for a longer home-and-away season instead.

But Demetriou confirmed the pre-season competition would remain.

"I think Matthew's entitled to his opinion but every club tells us they need preparation to get these elite athletes ready for the season," he said.

"They just can't throw them into round one.

"I can assure you that ... if we didn't have a NAB Cup competition, particularly a NAB Regional Challenge, it would be to the detriment of the preparation of the players.

"We get to showcase the game, we allow people around the country to touch their players and connect to their teams that they wouldn't normally see.

"Not having a NAB Cup or Regional Challenge would provide four or five weeks of no football coverage.

"And as other codes elongate their seasons we actually want football to be talked about."

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