Mid Off Cricket Podcast – Episode 22



Fixing the AFL byes

The AFL byes are OVER!

The bye rounds, the three rounds of 6 games – 6 6 6 – the devils work.

They are a momentum killer, its drawn out and the weekends are boring with less matches and there is a real lack of AFL on Free to Air TV in particular on Sunday afternoons.

There are two options:

Option A: Empty weekend

One weekend every club has a bye – no AFL. Simple.

Broadcasters have plenty of football content they could put on TV.

The AFL Under 18 National Championships was on during the bye weeks.

The Community Cup between The MegaHertz and the Rockdogs was played.

There is state league football – SANFL, VFL and WAFL. Channel 7 in Victoria have been showing 2 VFL matches a weekend for 3 weekends.

Community Channel 31 even had a game of local footy on TV last Sunday to fill the void left by no AFL on Free-To-Air TV.

There is plenty of football content available to fill one weekend. From next year there could even be a AFL Womens State of Origin matches as it would be well after the February- March AFL Womens season.

Option B: 9 weekends of 8 matches

There are more creative ways to approach the bye weeks.

Have 2 teams have a bye every round for 9 rounds. This would start in about Round 7 and flow through Round 16. (The Queens Birthday weekend would still have 9 games)

The two teams that have a bye in Round 7 would then play Thursday night on Round 8. For example if Adelaide and Brisbane had a bye in Round 7 they would play each other on the Thursday night to start Round 8.

The bye teams meeting each other on Thursday night eliminates the argument of one team having a 6 day break and the other team a 12 day break. In theory providing a more even contest as both teams would have had similar breaks.

(I don’t buy into this length of breaks bullshit as each team has a phalanx of sport scientists and fitness and conditioning coaches to prepare the players and the fixture is known months in advance – do some planning –  but it is convenient for poor coaches to trott out when their team plays badly and can easily be eliminated)

For an 8 game round the Saturday twilight match (4.40pm) would be cut. To fit Thursday night football I would remove the Sunday twilight match but the AFL would probably omit one of the Saturday afternoon games.

Thursday night football, which the AFL seem quite keen on at the moment, could have 10 matches –  Round 8 through to Round 17. This might be an enticing package for broadcaster.

The AFL Players Association want two byes during the home and away season but the AFL have ignored that request by scheduling a pre-finals bye weekend this year. Neither I’ve my options cater for two byes per season but it doesn’t seem to concern the AFL.