Thursday, 14 February 2013

Fixture Reform- Off-Season [4/5]

In previous posts, we described our proposal for change and the reasoning behind it, as well as detail on implementation.

In this post, we look at other areas outside the main playing season that the reforms can impact on.


Before we detail how our system of conferences influences the draft, the pre-season competiton and the following seasons conferences, a point on three conference models.
As we have seen in the previous post on the finals, a three conference system is difficult to fit into any normal linear system, or an even numbered team system.

Accordingly, we consider the best approach to determining the (lineal) draft order, and the (lineal) re-ordering of conferences that we described in the original post, is to merge the three conferences back into a full 18 team ladder, based on merit.

So as a preamble to the below, the merging of the three conferences at right (from our worked example listed in the previous post) into a single, merit-based ladder, produces the table as below.

From this table, the draft is easily set and the next seasons conferences can be re-drawn.

To arrange the draft order, the AFL need only revert to the re-combined ladder (a single 18 team ladder as above).
Under this modelled example, GWS get first pick, followed by the Gold Coast, Melbourne etc.

We propose no further changes to the draft system.

The model we propose fits inside a regular 22 round season. We see no need to alter the format of the pre-season competition as it stands today.

As per our opening statement (Principles), the only path to a fair conference system, is by altering the make-up of the conferences season-on-season.

Only by re-drawing the conferences each season can you remove any perceptions of imbalance, or powerful / weak conferences. With the competition geographically compromised by 10 teams (more than half of the whole) in the one market, Victoria, re-configuring the conferences annually distributes the Victorian teams, as well as varying each teams travel requirements.

As per the second post (Detail), the conference selection method we have elected to use is a seeded system to attempt to balance them. As per that system, the following teams fall in each group.

     Barassi Conference:      1st, 6th, 7th, 12th, 13th and 18th.

     Farmer Conference:       2nd, 5th, 8th, 11th, 14th and 17th.

     Robran Conference:       3rd, 4th, 9th, 10th, 15th and 16th.

Which from the worked example, in the combined ladder above, yields the 2014 conferences as below.

Again, this seeding selection provides each group with two teams from the top 6 teams, two from the mid-table 6 teams and two from the bottom 6 teams.

In this season, there are
   - two conferences that have 2 interstate teams in them, and one that has four,
   - the two Adelaide teams and the two Sydney teams are now not pooled together,
   - the Queensland teams and the West Australians are pooled together,
   - the Melbourne 'blockbusters' look to be based on Collingwood having 2 games against Carlton and Geelong, though Hawthorn v Richmond should also draw a crowd.
   - The one Collingwood v Essendon game can still be reserved for Anzac Day.

The seasons draw then falls out of this with teams playing 10 games inside each conference and 12 outside the conference, as we described previously.

As before, our proposal brings transparency to the draw, and removes the gerrymanders of the current fixture. It still leaves open the AFL to schedule blockbusters into appropriate dates, as well as provide some randomness to each seasons draw.


  1. Just read through the four posts and am very curious to see what delights the final part will embiggen us with.

    I'm curious to know whether you considered a bastardised fixture, compromised of each team playing each other once (17 games) followed by a final five rounds within your conference structure. To provide a measure of clarity to clubs / sponsors / broadcasters et, conference assignment would have to be for the following season (ie ladder after end of 17 'regular season' games for 2012 would determine the composition of the 2013 conferences).

    1. Thanks for the comment Mezzoculo

      1) Please don't expect too much from the final post!

      2) If you look at the 'Details' page of the series, you can see a rough draw (with the yellow and green markings). In that structure, it is scheduled that each team plays the 17 others first, and the last 5 rounds are only 'within conference'. This gives
      ...A) the conference teams an internal battle for the conference championship and finals positions and,
      ...B) a relatively even run home to the finals... playing among 2 top teams, 2 mid teams and 2 lower teams and,
      ...C) it balances up the conference draw, rounding out the home-away balance inside each conference

      3) As to determining the next seasons conference after 17 games... its an interesting idea as teams have played each other once, so on that, a positive. There is still the balance of home/away matches that would skew that slightly though, so I remain unconvinced.

    2. Its definitely an interesting issue. Call me a cynic, but it would be a great conversation for the AFL to initiate to either distract or move on from the damaging tanking / salary cap / PEID offseason controversies.

      On your points:
      1) Ha ha. Too late, my expectations are already at unsustainably high levels.

      2) I'm not quite sure I understand this, but I agree that your conference structure is a pretty robust one and seems to be fair whilst also preventing these games from being 'dead rubbers' for the top tier teams. Rating A ;)

      3) Home vs away will be a problem for ALL future fixture fixes considering we have a national competition. I'd suggest that the venue for the first 17 games (i.e. non-conference games) alternate between years. That way, say, the Eagles would play the Hawks at Subi in 2014 and then the 'G in 2015. The conference match-ups would have to be played at the venue that the two teams DIDN'T play during the pre-conference game. Not truly fair, but as I mentioned earlier, that is close to impossible in a national comp!

      What do you think?

      Also, I cannot post comments using Safari!

    3. Thanks for the reply...
      Your point # is interesting, as it balances the home/away ledger. But if season-on-season the conferences are reset and teams mixed, then this becomes hard to achieve. It is easier to set a 10 game series (5 home / 5 away) as your conference games and then tinker with the other 12 games to ensure travel plus home/away balance is achieved for the rest of the season.

      I have no idea why using Safari fails... a Blogger/Google or Apple thing?