Richmond captain Trent Cotchin celebrates with the premiership cup. Picture. Phil Hillyard
Richmond captain Trent Cotchin celebrates with the premiership cup. Picture. Phil Hillyard

Swans serious about best-of-three grand final

SYDNEY will push the case for a best-of-three grand final series when the AFL competition committee meets next week.

West Coast's dramatic premiership win hasn't changed Swans CEO Andrew Ireland's opinion that a one-off grand final at the MCG is unfair to interstate teams.

Ireland made his position clear on Wednesday after reports Adelaide Crows coach Don Pyke asked the AFL Coaches Association to campaign for the radical change after the Crows' 2017 loss to Richmond.

Ireland said this year's grand final should have been played in a best-of-three format, with the Eagles winning the right to host the first leg after finishing above Collingwood at the end of the home-and-away season.

The second game would have been played at the MCG and a third, if needed, back in Perth.

Ireland said the competition committee had been asked to look at ways to improve the fixture, and he will push for a 20-week home-and-away season and an extra week off before a possible three grand finals.

Collingwood fans outnumbered their West Coast counterparts at this year's grand final at the MCG. Picture: Jason Edwards
Collingwood fans outnumbered their West Coast counterparts at this year's grand final at the MCG. Picture: Jason Edwards

"It's never going to be perfectly equal," Ireland said.

"My view is, and I think it's worth looking at, maybe a 20-week season ... the thing I look at with the grand final in particular - I'm not a betting man but I'm sure the odds for the grand final if Adelaide had have been playing at home (in 2017) compared to the MCG would have been dramatically different, and that tells you that there is a skew for having to give up that home ground.

"We were talking about equality and my view is the AFL really made this call back in the early 2000s when they renegotiated the contract with the MCG when they decided it was unfair for teams to have to come and play the preliminary final if they are the higher ranked team, and my view is it unfair that the higher ranked team has to come to the MCG (for the grand final), and if you're looking at fairness it's one of the things you should look at."

 

Trent Cotchin celebrates on the siren after Richmond’s upset victory against minor premier Adelaide in the 2017 grand final. Picture: Stephen Harman
Trent Cotchin celebrates on the siren after Richmond’s upset victory against minor premier Adelaide in the 2017 grand final. Picture: Stephen Harman

West Coast's narrow victory bucked a trend of interstate teams losing the grand final to Victorian sides that finished the home-and-away season lower on the ladder.

The Crows' loss to Richmond followed the Western Bulldogs (seventh) upsetting the Swans (first) in 2016, Hawthorn (third) thrashing the Eagles (second) in 2015 and toppling Sydney in 2014 after finishing just below the minor premier on percentage.

Last week Geelong champion Jimmy Bartel called the best-of-three grand final proposal a "dumb" idea.

"It's one of the more ridiculous ideas I've heard," the three-time premiership player said.

"Our game is not suited for a best of three. We play a two-hour game that's a physical contact game, we have players struggling to get up each week during a footy season but you want to get them up for three grand finals?

"Do we have … three grand final parades?"

Ireland is about to hand the reins as CEO to Tom Harley but will remain on the Sydney board and on the competition committee, formed earlier this year to replace the old laws of the game committee.

The competition committee also includes current players Patrick Dangerfield and Steven May, coaches Brad Scott and Chris Fagan, and presidents Eddie McGuire, Peggy O'Neal and Colin Carter.