Pre Finals bye and Qualifying Final winners - 1 game in 28 days

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Power Raid

TheBrownDog
Oct 15, 2004
68,041
57,558
West Perth
AFL Club
Port Adelaide
All clubs need to deal with a finals series format delivered. As such Port and Brisbane failed, evidenced by their low intensity return after two short spaced byes.

However I would get rid of double chance and have 8 times down to the GF result in 3 weeks

or move the end of season by to week 18-20
 

HotSausage69

Premium Platinum
Aug 25, 2018
328
767
AFL Club
Port Adelaide
Scrap the pre-finals bye, how about the 2 qualifying final winners play each other the next week, with the winner booking a place in the grand final. Then the other QF winner that loses this game still gets a week off while the 2 semi finals winners play each other, who then play them next week for the last GF spot.
It adds an extra week to the finals and one extra match, and yes the QF winner that beats the other QF winner then has 2 weeks off, but has already got a grand final spot sown up. I think they'd take that.
It rewards the stronger performing teams through the home and away season even more and makes it harder for the bottom half of the 8 as they now have to win an extra finals game.

Week 1:
QF1: 1 v 4
QF2: 2 v 3
EF1: 5 v 8
EF2: 6 v 7

Week 2:
PF1: QF1 winner V QF 2 winner
SF1: QF1 loser v EF2 winner
SF2: QF2 loser v EF1 winner

Week 3:
SF3: SF1 winner v SF2 winner

Week 4:
PF2: PF1 loser v SF3 winner

Grand Final:
PF1 winner v PF2 winner
 
Last edited:

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Clark G

All Australian
Oct 10, 2010
978
365
AFL Club
Essendon
Teams had been doing it forever, not sure why Ross Lyon got singled out for it. Heck, in 2009 Geelong and the Saints were so far ahead of the rest of the competition that they spent half the season resting players. Geelong went from being undefeated to losing a few they shouldn’t have because of this. Not sure why that wasn’t a problem back then.
Good point. Even last year Essendon rested several players in the final round before bringing them back for the elimination final two weeks later due to not being able to fall out of the top eight with a loss. Bye or no bye teams will rest players if it might enhance their chances in finals. Therefore, the bye is pointless and it only serves to potentially disadvantage the QF winners as others have pointed out.
 

Chiz

All Australian
Jul 2, 2002
783
251
AFL Club
Essendon
in the 5 years since the pre finals bye qualifying final winners have gone 4-6, in the previous 16 seasons before that they went 28-4.

How can you not see there is an issue?
There's no doubt the pre-finals bye has removed much or all of the advantage the QF winners used to receive, and probably to the point where they are disadvantaged, compromising the integrity of the finals system.

But the advantage the QF winners received prior to 2016 was huge - PF upsets were extremely rare (once every 8 games). Ideally we end up somewhere where the home team loses about 30% of the time, which is about what it is in week 1 of the finals.
 

ep2018

Bigfooty Pessimist
Sep 16, 2006
28,569
25,191
AFL Club
West Coast
Since it was introduced I've seen my own team:

- lose to a team that got players back from the extra week off
- win a flag from 2nd with the extra week off
- win an EF then lose a SF
- lose an EF getting players back from the extra week off

As I fan I just don't like the week break after Rd 23.
Ironically the pre finals bye this season is the reason we could play a final in Perth.
 

Scotland

TheBrownDog
May 5, 2006
56,838
61,018
AFL Club
West Coast
Ironically the pre finals bye this season is the reason we could play a final in Perth.
I think it would have benefited us if we finished top 4 and had a double chance, even though it's unlikely a home semi would have been in Perth. Definitely looked like a team with a handful of non match fit players in the EF but that's footy, not like were in a consistent run of good form at any stage.

Not sure if Port or Brisbane think it had a big impact given the shortened season. Different dynamic having a week off after 22 full games vs 17 shortened ones.
 

LordLucifer

Brownlow Medallist
Mar 20, 2002
20,800
19,870
The North Shore Daaaahling !!
AFL Club
Carlton
Could you have every team play each other once then Have a bye round after round 17. Play your last 5 double up games and then go all the way through the finals. It means QF winners would’ve played 6 weeks straight until their second bye.
I'm not a fan of having byes at any time but if there has to be one, then that concept makes way more sense than any of the suggestions put up thus far.
 

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Duskfire

Norm Smith Medallist
Jun 30, 2007
6,768
5,479
Perth
AFL Club
Geelong
It's hard for me to see an issue with this - Tigers 2017 + 2019 and Eagles 2018 all won the premiership when the pre-finals bye was active and they all won the qualifying week. Giants/Cats won their QF's in 2016 botched it, as did Lions/Power this year, Tigers in 2018 and Magpies in 2019. Doesn't seem like a big enough sample size.. or maybe, just maybe, those teams just weren't good enough.
As has been pointed out, more teams have lost this way since it was introduced in 2016 than in the previous 20 years. It clearly has an influence. It may not necessarily be a negative one - it allowed Bulldogs to field a full team for instance - but it is there.
 

Handsuper47

Club Legend
Aug 5, 2012
2,773
4,263
AFL Club
Richmond
As has been pointed out, more teams have lost this way since it was introduced in 2016 than in the previous 20 years. It clearly has an influence. It may not necessarily be a negative one - it allowed Bulldogs to field a full team for instance - but it is there.
You might be right.. while at the same time this is the fifth year it's been in effect and three of the premiership winners won in their qualifying final. I don't think there's a large enough sample size.
 

RiskingHead

Debutant
Aug 2, 2019
65
120
AFL Club
Richmond
You might be right.. while at the same time this is the fifth year it's been in effect and three of the premiership winners won in their qualifying final. I don't think there's a large enough sample size.
It's hard to know re sample size. You could be right, yet it feels to me that there are enough cases now to think the pre-finals bye idea has a bad smell. What I think is fact though, rather than a subjective feeling, is that the AFL implemented the idea without any due and careful consideration. In their inimitable way, they used a hammer to crack a walnut, and left the audience with bits of shell in its eyes.
 

daniel_4tw

Club Legend
Aug 25, 2009
2,057
2,962
Brisbane
AFL Club
Adelaide
I think it’s clear we need an entire overhaul of the season and finals for greater equality, and I think we could borrow some ideas from American sports.

Firstly, the who you play as double ups is obviously ridiculous. So let’s switch to a 17 round season. Every team plays each other once, either home or away, and alternate each year.

Ok, now we have a fair season and everyone has finished where they deserve.


Next, the finals. Weeks off/HGA/and the chance of having a one-off bad game, means the best team doesn’t always win. I also feel finals run out of steam after the first week as we switch from four games to just two for the next two weeks.
Instead, forget grouping top 4/bottom 4. You finish too 8, you qualify for finals. Each team now plays a best of three series - first to two wins advance to the next round. 1st v 8th, 2nd v 7th, 3rd v 6th and 4th v 5th. Switch H&A ground, with higher ranking team playing home first and third game, if needed. Highest ranking qualifying team plays lowest ranking qualifying team, until the Grand Final.

Top teams get advantage of more home finals and easier run in. But every team for the most part has a fair shot. Could play games within the series off 5 day breaks since each team has the same recovery time.


More finals played to make up for shorter season. Better for AFL dollars. Takes ‘one bad game’ out of the equation with you having to win two games. Fans get to watch their team at home at least once per series.


Fairer season with more deserving Premier.
 

dlanod

Moderator
Sep 14, 2006
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You might be right.. while at the same time this is the fifth year it's been in effect and three of the premiership winners won in their qualifying final. I don't think there's a large enough sample size.
It's hard to know re sample size. You could be right, yet it feels to me that there are enough cases now to think the pre-finals bye idea has a bad smell. What I think is fact though, rather than a subjective feeling, is that the AFL implemented the idea without any due and careful consideration. In their inimitable way, they used a hammer to crack a walnut, and left the audience with bits of shell in its eyes.
I did the maths before the weekend (which I probably stuffed up given I haven't done it in forever), but because of the relatively large sample size between 2000 and 2016 (32 games) it worked out to be about 12 games post-change for this delta to be significant (95% confidence) and it was already ~90% confidence. So I think it's reasonable to say the sample size is getting adequate enough now to start commenting on it.
 

powerrrrrrrrrrrr

Club Legend
Feb 17, 2010
1,590
2,522
adelaide
AFL Club
Port Adelaide
Was never a need to introduce the pre finals bye. If a team earned the right based on where they will finished before the final round that they are able to rest player then they deserve it. If that impacts other teams then that’s irrelevant as it’s about the deciding team getting an advantage if they have earnt it. It was another ridiculous AFL overreaction to two occasions where teams rested a large portion of their teams. Other then that, it rarely happened bar a couple players.

The rest evens up the competition come finals which in effect removes the benefit of finishing top 4.

The whole point of finishing top 4 is that you have a benefit.if you take away that advantage, then what’s the bonus for having a good season if come finals it is an even playing field again?

The recent stats don’t lie since the introduction of the bye. Top 4 has become more irrelevant than ever with the main benefit being home finals rather than the rest.
 

Chiz

All Australian
Jul 2, 2002
783
251
AFL Club
Essendon
I did the maths before the weekend (which I probably stuffed up given I haven't done it in forever), but because of the relatively large sample size between 2000 and 2016 (32 games) it worked out to be about 12 games post-change for this delta to be significant (95% confidence) and it was already ~90% confidence. So I think it's reasonable to say the sample size is getting adequate enough now to start commenting on it.
I've just calculated some p-values to check this - the sample size is large enough to conclude that the PF home team has less of an advantage under the pre-finals bye than they did before the pre-finals bye. But the sample size is not large enough to say whether the reduced advantage is caused by the fact that both PF teams have had a bye (ie pre-finals) or the fact that the home team has had a second bye (ie over SF weekend).

To see if the bye before the PF provides an advantage or disadvantage to the home team, I compared PF results to QF results (for both 2000-2015 and 2016-2020). Before the pre-finals bye was introduced, the away team won 8 out of 32 QFs (25%), and after the pre-finals bye the away team has won 4 out of 10 QFs (40%). So it would seem that the pre-finals bye may also help the away team in the QF.

How statistically likely are the following?
1. PF home advantage is the same before and after pre-finals bye: p = 0.001 (extremely unlikely)
2. PF home advantage before pre-finals bye was the same as QF home advantage before pre-finals bye: p = 0.1 (unlikely, but insufficient data)
3. PF home advantage after pre-finals bye is the same as QF home advantage after pre-finals bye: p = 0.19 (insufficient data)
4. PF home advantage after pre-finals bye is the same as QF home advantage before pre-finals bye: p = 0.02 (very unlikely)
 

Father Jack

Brownlow Medallist
Mar 23, 2006
19,726
14,452
between hope and reality
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Was never a need to introduce the pre finals bye. If a team earned the right based on where they will finished before the final round that they are able to rest player then they deserve it. If that impacts other teams then that’s irrelevant as it’s about the deciding team getting an advantage if they have earnt it. It was another ridiculous AFL overreaction to two occasions where teams rested a large portion of their teams. Other then that, it rarely happened bar a couple players.

The rest evens up the competition come finals which in effect removes the benefit of finishing top 4.

The whole point of finishing top 4 is that you have a benefit.if you take away that advantage, then what’s the bonus for having a good season if come finals it is an even playing field again?

The recent stats don’t lie since the introduction of the bye. Top 4 has become more irrelevant than ever with the main benefit being home finals rather than the rest.
The whole point is that they haven't earnt it, it's just how things end up, I mean you can have teams finishing lower with a guaranteed spot being able to rest players compared to teams finishing higher but still battling for a top four spot who aren't really in a position to do the same. Plus it's not fair if one team fighting for a spot gets to face a team resting players when another team might also be fighting for the same spot but facing a full strength team.
 

harrythetiger

Jack Graham That Is ?
Sep 13, 2015
14,961
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Hillary Step
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Richmond
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As a supporter of the team who has won the most QFs in the time the bye has been around and therefore I must note has received the greatest disadvantage, from it, whatever that may be.

It really doesn’t matter that much.
 

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