Grand final system just doesn't work
I HAVE never really been a fan of the grand final system for the A-League and I am certainly not in favour of the sudden-death playoff system introduced this year.
I was brought up in England where it has always been a case of first past the post wins the race.
In my eyes that is the fairest system, and in a true home and away season where teams play each other at least twice it has to be the way to go.
I understand it is part of the Australian sporting heritage to have a grand final, but I think in the case of football where it is a genuine home and away season, it does not work.
All it is doing in my opinion is encouraging mediocrity.
It works in the AFL and NRL where the home and away season is more random where teams might not get to play each other at least twice.
But I think if your team is top of the ladder at the end of the regular season then it deserves to be called the champion of that league.
At the moment all the playoff and grand final system is doing is making the competition all about the finals series.
Ok, some might say the team at the top of the league at the end of the regular season does get to win the Premier's Plate.But nobody remembers who the Premier Plate winners are apart from the club itself.
The grand final system for me can create what I would call a 'false champion'.
Fortunately over the past couple of years the Brisbane Roar has been the best team over the season and it has gone on to take out the grand final.
But there could also be a scenario where a team just scrapes into the top six, finishing, let's say 20 points behind the Premier's Plate winners, and because the team has hit some form just at the right time, it goes on to take the grand final win and all the glory.
With three games of the regular season to go, Western Sydney is clear at the top and look favourites to take the Premier's Plate.
Come grand final time, however, we could see the top two miss out on the grand final.
The FFA has dropped the two-legged major semi-final and the preliminary final and reduced the series from four weeks to three.
Now the two top clubs sit out the first week of the playoffs and wait to play the winners of third versus sixth and fourth versus fifth in the semis, with the winners then progressing to the grand final on April 21.
In effect it means the champions of the A-League needs to string just three wins together to take the crown.
FFA boss Damien de Bohun defended the revamp recently.
I can understand the FFA's stance when it comes to the revenue side of things and crowd excitement, but I can't see how a team finishing sixth can have the chance of becoming champion - and I probably never will.