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I got to thinking about the NRL Finals format where in my opinion, a lot of the intensity is lost in the first week because the top four get a second chance if they lose.

I see in the last non-Covid affected season, the SL opted for the classic top 5 format. Whilst this format does give a team a second bite of the cherry, it does mean that if you are beaten, there is no way to make or win the GF without beating the team that beat yours. It’s a theory I like. A downside in my opinion is the league leader could enter the GF having played just one game in the past three weeks.

More recently, the format is a top six. Many would say that rewards mediocrity in a 12 team competition. There is merit to that opinion for sure, but I am ok with it.

Interestingly, the top five system gives broadcasters six finals fixtures, whilst a top six gives just five fixtures. Go figure. Broadcasters will ensure the survival of finals football.

In any case, as far as I am concerned, attendances for finals footy in the SL other than the GF is traditionally pitiful. A telling reason for that could well be cultural. Another could be playing finals on a Thursday.

Is it the structure wrong and/or the philosophy?

Would a simple top 3 will see fans through the turnstiles?

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If we are to have play offs then the McIntyre system top 5 has always been my favourite as it rewards league placing and means you have to beat every team that finishes above you.

I never like any system that has half the league finishing in the play offs as it just rewards mediocrity.

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1 hour ago, Sir Kevin Sinfield said:

Losing teams should always be eliminated from the play offs imo. I like the current top 6 format with 3v6 and 4v5 then 1v4/5 and 2v3/6.

That's not how it works.  Team 2 can never play team 6 in Week 2.

"We'll sell you a seat .... but you'll only need the edge of it!"

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46 minutes ago, Damien said:

If we are to have play offs then the McIntyre system top 5 has always been my favourite as it rewards league placing and means you have to beat every team that finishes above you.

I never like any system that has half the league finishing in the play offs as it just rewards mediocrity.

The problem is is that there aren't enough full-time RL teams. I do like the top 6 played over three weekends. But I'd only have 21 SL matches per season. 10 home, 10 away and MW of course. I'd like to see the CC Final in April too. Only SL teams are gonna win the C Cup, so I'd make it the top 10 from SL from the previous year. Have a preliminary round of 7 v 10 and 8 v 9 at the beginning of March. The QF at the end of March etc. Like to see the SL GF on the second Saturday of September with a 4.15pm start as well.   

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Kangaroos

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I think any system should have the top ranked club getting a bye so back to the McIntyre system for me. Maybe get rid of the qualifying final but I don't think it is necessary.

So elimination final would be 4 v 5. Semi Finals would be 1 v 4/5 and 2 v 3.

 

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9 minutes ago, LlanWests said:

The problem is is that there aren't enough full-time RL teams. I do like the top 6 played over three weekends. But I'd only have 21 SL matches per season. 10 home, 10 away and MW of course. I'd like to see the CC Final in April too. Only SL teams are gonna win the C Cup, so I'd make it the top 10 from SL from the previous year. Have a preliminary round of 7 v 10 and 8 v 9 at the beginning of March. The QF at the end of March etc. Like to see the SL GF on the second Saturday of September with a 4.15pm start as well.   

11 home, 11 away plus Magic would be 23 SL matches per season. Are you saying that the top 10 should advance because that would kill the whole point of a league.

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1 minute ago, NW10LDN said:

11 home, 11 away plus Magic would be 23 SL matches per season. Are you saying that the top 10 should advance because that would kill the whole point of a league.

If you would read my post again you'd see I was on about the CC with the top 10 from the previous year. The non SL teams can play for the 1895 Cup. So for example, at the beginning of March Hull would play Huddersfield and Was v Wakefield. The two winners would go into the hat with Leeds and Hull KR, the top 4 from the pervious year would be seeded, so first out of the hat would be away to the number 4 seeds who would be Wigan(I think they finished fourth), etc. I know I'm on about the CC here not the SL GF. I'm sorry for going off topic.

Kangaroos

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51 minutes ago, LlanWests said:

If you would read my post again you'd see I was on about the CC with the top 10 from the previous year. The non SL teams can play for the 1895 Cup. So for example, at the beginning of March Hull would play Huddersfield and Was v Wakefield. The two winners would go into the hat with Leeds and Hull KR, the top 4 from the pervious year would be seeded, so first out of the hat would be away to the number 4 seeds who would be Wigan(I think they finished fourth), etc. I know I'm on about the CC here not the SL GF. I'm sorry for going off topic.

Think this is the reason they get a computer to sort the fixtures out.....

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All systems we have tried are imperfect.

The top 5 usually sees the top 2 in the league play each other twice in three weeks and, potentially, the top ranked side having maybe too long between matches.

The 2002-2008 style top 6 has the same issue with repetitive matches and there is little difference between finishing first and second.

The NRL-style top 8 that we had from 2009-2014 was farcical. Club call didn't help, but the opening week between 1 v 4 and 2 v 3 seemed pointless in its own right anyway. As did having a side in the bottom half with a chance of becoming champions.

The straight semi finals from 2015-2018 did not adequately reward the top sides. There was little difference regardless of your rank.

I do think the 2020 and 2021 style play off top 6 is about the best we've had. Keeps the top 2 apart until the final, gives a reward for the top 2, not too big gaps / too many weeks off. Only disadvantage is that the top 2 only get 1 shot.

I wouldn't mind a different structure to decide the champions. Each side plays home and away and the side that finishes top of the league are the champions. Bit out there I know.

Edited by Chris22
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58 minutes ago, Mr Frisky said:

Think this is the reason they get a computer to sort the fixtures out.....

Buddy, I'm about the CC, CC stands for the Challenge Cup. Only SL teams should be in the CC. The top 10 from the previous SL season, it'll give the teams at the bottom of SL something to play for, to get into the CC for the following season. 

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Kangaroos

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1 minute ago, Chris22 said:

All systems we have tried are imperfect.

The top 5 usually sees the top 2 in the league play each other twice in three weeks and, potentially, the top ranked side having maybe too long between matches.

The 2002-2008 style top 6 has the same issue with repetitive matches and there is little difference between finishing first and second.

The NRL-style top 8 that we had from 2009-2014 was farcical. Club call didn't help, but the opening week between 1 v 4 and 2 v 3 seemed pointless in its own right anyway. As did having a side in the bottom half with a chance of becoming champions.

The straight semi finals from 2015-2018 did not adequately reward the top sides. There was little difference regardless of your rank.

I do think the 2021 and 2021 style play off top 6 is about the best we've had. Keeps the top 2 apart until the final, gives a reward for the top 2, not too big gaps / too many weeks off. Only disadvantage is that the top 2 only get 1 shot.

I wouldn't mind a different structure to decide the champions. Each side plays home and away and the side that finishes top of the league are the champions. Bit out there I know.

You can't have MW then. 

Kangaroos

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There’s got to be a reward to finishing top beyond the hubcap and the five team play-off system we had in ‘21 is probably the best way to do that with the current twelve team Super League. 

Edited by Jughead
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27 minutes ago, Chris22 said:

All systems we have tried are imperfect.

The top 5 usually sees the top 2 in the league play each other twice in three weeks and, potentially, the top ranked side having maybe too long between matches.

The 2002-2008 style top 6 has the same issue with repetitive matches and there is little difference between finishing first and second.

The NRL-style top 8 that we had from 2009-2014 was farcical. Club call didn't help, but the opening week between 1 v 4 and 2 v 3 seemed pointless in its own right anyway. As did having a side in the bottom half with a chance of becoming champions.

The straight semi finals from 2015-2018 did not adequately reward the top sides. There was little difference regardless of your rank.

I do think the 2021 and 2021 style play off top 6 is about the best we've had. Keeps the top 2 apart until the final, gives a reward for the top 2, not too big gaps / too many weeks off. Only disadvantage is that the top 2 only get 1 shot.

I wouldn't mind a different structure to decide the champions. Each side plays home and away and the side that finishes top of the league are the champions. Bit out there I know.

Benefit of the current system is that it's easy to understand for new fans. No qualifying finals or preliminary finals. As you say, no repeat pairings as well.

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So a lot of feedback on the finals structure. Many preferences, which doesn’t surprise me.

Can anyone shed light on why finals football is not capturing the imagination of the RL public as a must attend fixture? 

I have my theories, like ticket prices, Thursday nights, lack of exclusivity because of repeat fixtures, season is too long. Anyone have personal reasons or know of personal experiences why people are not showing up to finals?

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1 hour ago, Chris22 said:

All systems we have tried are imperfect.

The top 5 usually sees the top 2 in the league play each other twice in three weeks and, potentially, the top ranked side having maybe too long between matches.

The 2002-2008 style top 6 has the same issue with repetitive matches and there is little difference between finishing first and second.

The NRL-style top 8 that we had from 2009-2014 was farcical. Club call didn't help, but the opening week between 1 v 4 and 2 v 3 seemed pointless in its own right anyway. As did having a side in the bottom half with a chance of becoming champions.

The straight semi finals from 2015-2018 did not adequately reward the top sides. There was little difference regardless of your rank.

I do think the 2020 and 2021 style play off top 6 is about the best we've had. Keeps the top 2 apart until the final, gives a reward for the top 2, not too big gaps / too many weeks off. Only disadvantage is that the top 2 only get 1 shot.

I wouldn't mind a different structure to decide the champions. Each side plays home and away and the side that finishes top of the league are the champions. Bit out there I know.

Does that mean ditching the successful Grand Final format?

 

 

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12 minutes ago, Sports Prophet said:

So a lot of feedback on the finals structure. Many preferences, which doesn’t surprise me.

Can anyone shed light on why finals football is not capturing the imagination of the RL public as a must attend fixture? 

I have my theories, like ticket prices, Thursday nights, lack of exclusivity because of repeat fixtures, season is too long. Anyone have personal reasons or know of personal experiences why people are not showing up to finals?

The Grand Final does get good figures generally as something major is decided: the champions.

I think the trouble with the play off system personally is the regular season is so long with many repeat fixtures that the playoffs exacerbate that issue.

This is an old chestnut that has long been debated as not everybody sees repeat fixtures as an issue.

Added to this is that in the U.K., we are wedded to the idea that a league is the fairest way to produce a champion sports team.

But administrators also look enviously at the NFL Super Bowl and therefore an attempt is made to have playoffs and a final to generate more revenue.

These traditions clash and the fallout is that the Final gets supported, but not always the playoffs.

Then there’s very real considerations around cost and time commitments.

 

 

Edited by Gerrumonside ref
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24 minutes ago, Gerrumonside ref said:

The Grand Final does get good figures generally as something major is decided: the champions.

I think the trouble with the play off system personally is the regular season is so long with many repeat fixtures that the playoffs exacerbate that issue.

This is an old chestnut that has long been debated as not everybody sees repeat fixtures as an issue.

Added to this is that in the U.K., we are wedded to the idea that a league is the fairest way to produce a champion sports team.

But administrators also look enviously at the NFL Super Bowl and therefore an attempt is made to have playoffs and a final to generate more revenue.

These traditions clash and the fallout is that the Final gets supported, but not always the playoffs.

Then there’s very real considerations around cost and time commitments.

 

 

I think this is it. NFL has a 18 week season so an extended play-off system works for them. There's no football for half a year. Union only has 4 go into the play-offs. Home advantage for the top 2.

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The playoffs used to get bigger crowds than they do now so it has been proven they can attract fans. There will be multiple reasons for the decline but I think the introduction of loop fixtures is a significant part of it. The repetition these bring for fans has done a lot of long term damage to SL. Playoff crowds were larger and the SL more vibrant when it was a 14 team league and now they want to reduce it to 10, madness in my opinion. You can probably also chuck in all the other issues regularly discussed on these boards about the general maialse which has afflicted the game at SL level in recent years, they all have their affect.

Edited by Whippet13
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5 hours ago, NW10LDN said:

I think any system should have the top ranked club getting a bye so back to the McIntyre system for me. Maybe get rid of the qualifying final but I don't think it is necessary.

So elimination final would be 4 v 5. Semi Finals would be 1 v 4/5 and 2 v 3.

 

You've essentially just said what we currently have except you've given an extra team (3rd) a bye to the semis.

Isn't the McIntyre system based on second chances? This one has none. It's just a straight knockout format with a bye for top seeds.

I did like the McIntyre systems, I thought they were very creative, but unfortunately your average punter over here doesn't get it and it's proven quite a turn-off on the terraces. A straight knockout with byes for top seeds is far easier to explain. Drop all the ridiculous round names ("elimination playoff" and "qualifying playoff" are completely unnecessary overcomplications).

Quarter final, semi final and final.

Easy.

If we ever go to 14 teams, do top 7 and only give the league leaders a bye. Exactly the same as top 6 except 2nd plays 7th instead of getting a bye. Easy adjustment.

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1 hour ago, Whippet13 said:

Playoff crowds were larger and the SL more vibrant when it was a 14 team league

No they weren't. In fact, the expansion to 14 teams and thus the expansion of the playoffs to 8 teams was the beginning of the poor attendance trend of playoffs. The top 5/6 format was far more popular attendance-wise.

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28 minutes ago, Wellsy4HullFC said:

You've essentially just said what we currently have except you've given an extra team (3rd) a bye to the semis.

Isn't the McIntyre system based on second chances? This one has none. It's just a straight knockout format with a bye for top seeds.

I did like the McIntyre systems, I thought they were very creative, but unfortunately your average punter over here doesn't get it and it's proven quite a turn-off on the terraces. A straight knockout with byes for top seeds is far easier to explain. Drop all the ridiculous round names ("elimination playoff" and "qualifying playoff" are completely unnecessary overcomplications).

Quarter final, semi final and final.

Easy.

If we ever go to 14 teams, do top 7 and only give the league leaders a bye. Exactly the same as top 6 except 2nd plays 7th instead of getting a bye. Easy adjustment.

50% of the teams advancing is a turn off as well. It should be no more than 4.

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