How a two tier AFL system could work

With calls for the AFL to be split into two divisions to introduce more excitement in the later rounds, we’ve proposed a possible format for a two tier system.

Former Fremantle coach Chris Connolly suggested this week that the league should split the competition into two divisions and should involve promotion and relegation to add “excitement and purpose right up until the final round of the season”.

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Perhaps it is about time our great game entertained the idea of promotion and relegation.

Nearly every soccer league around the world has relegation and promotion and it certainly adds another level of excitement come the end of the season.

A two tier system would not only reduce the number of blowouts towards the end of the season and increase the excitement of the tail end of the year, but would also have countless other benefits.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 13: Ben Kennedy, Nathan Jones, Chris Dawes, Tomas Bugg and Max Gawn of the Demons sing the song in the rooms after winning the round 12 AFL match between the Melbourne Demons and the Collingwood Magpies at Melbourne Cricket Ground on June 13, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – JUNE 13: Ben Kennedy, Nathan Jones, Chris Dawes, Tomas Bugg and Max Gawn of the Demons sing the song in the rooms after winning the round 12 AFL match between the Melbourne Demons and the Collingwood Magpies at Melbourne Cricket Ground on June 13, 2016 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Here is how our idea would work:

The current league would be split into two nine team divisions.

Each team would play the other eight teams in the division twice. This would eliminate inadequacies in the current fixture.

The top four sides from each division would then play out a finals series.

The top two teams (the grand finalists) from division two would then earn promotion to division one, while the bottom two from division one would be relegated to division two. This would mean nearly every fan has an invested interested in the season right up until the final round.

It would also see a second piece of silverware on offer, which would give supporters of the likes of Melbourne, St Kilda and Fremantle who have waited too long between drinks or never tasted success, the opportunity to win a premiership.

Another benefit of the proposal is that the AFL Players’ Association, who have been crying out for a second bye, would have their wish granted, with one team needing a bye each week in a nine team competition.

While this proposition would see a reduction in the number of rounds each season, it opens the door for the return of State of Origin footy during the middle of the season, which would fill out the football calendar.

CHECK OUT OUR PROPOSED STATE OF ORIGIN SCHEDULE

The AFL could then also introduce an FA Cup style tournament. This would be a knockout tournament across both divisions, where the bottom division sides are given the opportunity to compete against and knock off the top tier clubs.

Ideally, a 10 team, two tier competition could be introduced in the future with the implementation of two new clubs down the line for a bigger competition and longer season.

While the format is unlikely to be implemented by the AFL any time soon, it is certainly food for thought should the complaints around tanking and end of season blowouts grow louder.

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