Duff and Quarters: A plan to reshape AFL finals and celebrate every state’s contribution to footy
A bye week before the AFL grand final may be the perfect break to ensure the best talent is available for the game’s biggest stage while providing a unique celebration of all states’ contribution to top-tier footy.
On this week’s episode of The Duff and Quarters Podcast The West Australian’s chief footy writer Mark Duffield and The Sunday Times’ sports editor Glen Quartermain believe bye week’s relocation from before the first week of finals to after the preliminary finals would benefit everyone.
The NFL uses the fortnight break prior to the Super Bowl to build towards the biggest day on the US sporting calendar but the pair argue the benefits go beyond hype.
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“It takes away missing a game of that magnitude for those battling injury or potentially those forced to miss for concussion,” Duffield argued.
“First week can be about the celebration of the season and the second week can be about focusing on the game as it draws closer,” Quartermain replied.
“Not just concussion but little niggling injuriues and what have you, so that means you have the best two teams that year, in the best condition ready to battle on grand final day.”
On top of the potential for players to avoid missing out on a premiership due to a concussion rule or a niggling injury, Duffield and Quartermain believe the weekend prior could be devoted to a footy grand final marathon of the nation’s second tier leagues.
The extra week also allowing players to push their case for an AFL grand final selection while playing a full game in a club’s respective reserves side.
“It would enable you to use that weekend, before the grand final weekend, to potentially put the spotlight on all the second tier competitions’ grand finals - WAFL, SANFL, VFL & NEAFL,” Duffield said.
“Make that weekend about all those competitions, allow them to shine the spotlight on them and then get to business the following weekend.
“You could have a footy marathon, you could coordinate it so that all the grand finals are broadcast back-to-back, it would be fantastic.
“And it would give second tier players play a full game in their second tier grand final and press for a spot in the AFL grand final, as what we have seen recently is players pulled at three quarter time in a second tier quarter final to make sure they are fresh for the AFL grand final.”
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