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Gus Gould... you might hate him, but gotta admit it, he's smart.

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What do you all think?

http://www.smh.com.au/rugby-league/league-news/conference-system-wo...

Conference system would reinvigorate finals series
Phil Gould
September 11, 2011





I know I am dealing with a hypothetical here, but let's suppose this year rugby league ran a two-conference system for the NRL competition. In one conference we have all the teams from outside Sydney - let's call this the regional conference. In the second conference we have all the Sydney-based teams - let's call it greater Sydney.

As the competition stands, we have nine greater Sydney teams and only seven regional teams. Let's assume that to accommodate this new conference format our game has had the foresight and courage to adjust the numbers and expand the game to new regions so we would have two equal divisions of either eight or nine teams.

Based on this year's finishing positions at the top of the ladder we could have a regional top-five finals series that sees Melbourne as conference minor premiers, followed by Brisbane in second position, the Warriors third, Cowboys fourth and Knights fifth.

In the greater Sydney conference Manly would be minor premiers, followed by the Tigers in second, Dragons third, Bulldogs fourth and South Sydney fifth.
Each conference would now play its own top-five finals series to determine the conference champions. Let's see how the finals would play out and what sort of crowds this concept could generate.

Week one
In week one of the finals, the two conference minor premiers, Melbourne and Manly, would enjoy a weekend off as reward for a great home-and-away series.
The regional semi-finals would see team two (Broncos) versus team three (Warriors) at Suncorp Stadium. The other semi-final would be a sudden-death knockout between the Cowboys and the Knights in Townsville. The greater Sydney semi-finals would see the Tigers play the Dragons and the Bulldogs face the Rabbitohs in the knockout match.
That is four finals similar to what we have under the current system. I suggest crowds would be greater, but for the sake of the exercise we will call it even. The big difference here is that we know going into these games which teams get the second chance in week two and which games represent instant elimination for the losers. That has to be better than having the Dragons wait around all weekend wondering if they have a game next weekend. I hate the McIntyre system.

Week two
Under the current system, we now drop back to only two finals matches in week two. Under a two-conference system we would have four matches. The draw (assuming, for the sake of the exercise, the top seeds win every game) would look as follows.
In the regional division, Melbourne would play the Broncos in Melbourne. The winner would go straight through to the conference grand final. The loser gets a second chance the following week and plays the winner of the other semi-final. The second match is the Warriors versus the Cowboys in Auckland. The winner survives to play the loser of the major semi-final. The loser is out.
The Sydney conference would see Manly play the Tigers in the major semi. The elimination final would see the Dragons play the Bulldogs.
OK, that's four big games in week two. Big crowds, big venues; the Sydney matches are blockbusters. That represents double the television audience and double the crowds of the current system.

Week three
The two conferences now run their preliminary finals. Brisbane play the winners of the Warriors and the Cowboys in the regional conference at Suncorp. In the Sydney preliminary final, the Tigers play the winner of the Bulldogs versus South Sydney match.

Week four
The regional grand final sees Melbourne play Brisbane in Melbourne. The Sydney grand final sees Manly play the Tigers in Sydney. Melbourne are declared regional conference winners. Manly are declared Sydney conference winners.

Week five
The two conference winners, Manly and Melbourne, meet in a super final at ANZ Stadium to crown the Australasian champions for 2011. That's a magical five weeks of football right there. You could throw up myriad possibilities depending on which teams qualify for the respective conference finals.

Comparison
Under the current system of finals, we have nine matches played over four weekends. The two-conference system would see 13 finals matches played over five weekends. Needless to say this would represent a huge financial boost in the shape of increased crowds and significant television revenue. The four weekends of rivalry matches in the Sydney conference alone is a no-brainer. Our biggest finals crowds over the past few seasons involved the Eels, Bulldogs and the Dragons. A final series that guarantees the place of five Sydney teams every year is surely a ratings winner for the game of rugby league.

The regional conference system would see the opportunity for more finals matches played in areas with big stadiums such as Brisbane, Auckland and Melbourne. These games would be beamed live on TV into the big markets. However, the benefit of a two-conference system goes a lot further than just a bigger and better finals series.

The regular-season part of the competition under a two-conference system would be infinitely more beneficial. For the future of rugby league in Sydney it is absolutely imperative that the Sydney clubs play each other twice each season on a home-and-away basis. Ideally, most of these games would be played on Sunday afternoons.

This season, for example, the Panthers played only two of their last six matches at home: on a Friday night against the Tigers and on a Saturday night against the Warriors. Friday night games make it difficult for people to get home from work and then out west to attend. The Warriors are not a big drawing club. This final home game was in round 24. Further to this, the Panthers' last four away games of the season were in Melbourne, Townsville, Canberra and Wollongong.

So, effectively, you were not given much chance to see your team play at home if you were a Panther supporter; and you were given zero chance to go and see your team play away from home against another Sydney rival. Your season of going to the football ended six weeks before the finals. Is this how we intend to secure the hearts and minds of the western Sydney region? That's just one example. I'm sure other Sydney teams could tell a similar tale.

The future
How many teams will we have in 10 years? What will our competition look like? I would like to see another team in Auckland, perhaps even a third New Zealand team on the South Island.
We definitely need another team playing out of Brisbane. Perth is a city that always throws up competitive sporting franchises. Eventually I would love to see a PNG/Pacific Islands team playing out of Port Moresby. Expansion to other major cities to increase the regional numbers could one day see the likes of Newcastle and Canberra included in the Sydney conference to make it more of a NSW conference.
This would give greater weight to the title, "Australasian champions", being given to the winners of the competition each season. Of course this is just one man's dreaming suggestion. Is there anyone at the NRL who has similar dreams of making our game bigger and better?




Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/rugby-league/league-news/conference-system-wo...
 
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Would that mean completely seperate comps?

If so, we'd have to introduce a lot of new teams imo
 

Q-Tip

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Only problem is that one conference might be stronger than the other meaning teams that miss out in the stronger conference who would've placed better in the weak conference miss out and feel a little cheated by the system. But other than I don't mind it.
 

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Would that mean completely seperate comps?

If so, we'd have to introduce a lot of new teams imo
No. It'd be like the NBA where theres two conferences and teams within their own conferences play each on a more regular basis. But there will be inter-conference matches still (e.g. Bulldogs v Broncos and Bulldogs v Cowboys, etc). Thats what i gathered from the article anyway.

In terms of finals, each conference will have a winner. And then the winners of the respective conferences play off to be the champions.
 

Malla

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NRL is not big enough to run a competition with conferences. Not enough money in the sport.
 
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No. It'd be like the NBA where theres two conferences and teams within their own conferences play each on a more regular basis. But there will be inter-conference matches still (e.g. Bulldogs v Broncos and Bulldogs v Cowboys, etc). Thats what i gathered from the article anyway.
Ah, I get it. So vs the teams in your conference twice, then the ones in the other conference once, then split for the finals?
 

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It would mean a NFL Style Draw. Dont mind. However, i hope just because they are in seperate conferences, does this mean we wouldnt see the likes of New Zealand Vs Canterbury? I do hope not... or Melbourne vs Sea Eagles?
 

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Ah, I get it. So vs the teams in your conference twice, then the ones in the other conference once, then split for the finals?
Yeah basically.
 

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I like it ... but there's gaping holes in it. I want the following addressed.

The draw

9 team / 2 conference draw equates to a minimum of 17 home and away games. It amounts to 25 games using Gus's theory where inter-conference teams play each other twice. I fear with Gus's theory it makes expansion improbable considering the issue of 'player burnout' and 'talent banks'.

If the conferences were expanded to accommodate 10 teams in 2 conferences, we're looking at either 19 games or 28 including Gus's draw.

If we had 11 teams/2 conferences = 21 games, or 31 with Gus's draw.

Promotion/Relegation

Gus's two conference idea could work if it was backed up by a two conference Division One comp.

NRL Sydney Conference = 9 teams : H&A season of 25 rounds across BOTH conferences using Gus's blockbuster draw.

NRL2 / NSW Cup = 12 teams : H&A season of 22 rounds within own comp. Sides from NSW Cup, Group leagues, and coastal country sides looking for growth/a higher profile/sponsors.

NRL Regional Conference = 9 teams : H&A season of 25 rounds across BOTH conferences using Gus's blockbuster draw.

NRL2 / Qld Cup = 12 teams : H&A season of 22 rounds within own comp. Sides from Qld Cup, coastal/country clubs looking for growth/a higher profile/sponsors.

A national knockout

Just like the FA Cup in England. Open to ALL clubs from ALL levels.
Allocate seedings to NRL clubs.

Sell the rights OFF to someone as a separate comp.
Have a big old pool of prizemoney for qualifications into quarter-final rounds.
For regional teams with regional supporters, the exposure on a national level is priceless.

Use this as a pre-season comp for NRL clubs to get rid of pointless, injury making, trial games.
Make NRL sides travel to opposing clubs to promote the game in early rounds.

Sure, rest your stars, and play juniors instead, but run the risk of having pants pulled down by some club like Atherton Roosters, and being knocked out (which kind of messes with pre-season conditioning) !

Showcase the PNG, Pacific Islands.
Include the Affiliates States in the form of "Combined WA", "Combined VIC" and "Combined SA" league players.

Play finals mid-year as curtain raisers during Origin.
 

Hansta

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You would take on teams in your conference say 2-3 times a year and teams outside the conference 1-2 a year. Not too bad. The idea has merit. Certainly should be looked at down the track.
 

pillow

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As already said, not enough teams, not enough money, not enough crowds.
 

Hansta

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i dont think Gus meant the immediate future. Def not within the next TV rights deal, however 10 years down the track it could be possible.

I would love it if we can have a final series vs the ESL teams. I know hich ever teams come here would be at a disadvantage and vice versa but it would be exciting.
 

TheBarba

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too many holes in it for my liking.

Sydney Comp has to thrive with less travel, meaning less expenses, greater sponsorship $$$ so they can pick and choose the stars out of the weaker regional comp!! That is only naming one thing. There are so many more factors that need to be considered.
 

Moe

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I hate the McIntyre system
lol, i love how he through that in.

I love the idea. Fix the flaws. Make it happen!
 

the duke

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NRL Conference System?

Here are some thought about NRL competition structure. (Hopefully it is not too long winded. )

The NRL is not an even competition and it is not a level playing field.
The NRL draw is not equal. Every team does not play every team twice.
Some clubs have to battle for crowds and sponsorship dollars. Others are one city teams. Some teams share a home ground and get little home ground advantage others have home ground fortresses. Then some clubs get semi finals at their home ground others have to play in neutral venues.

Then when you start considering the salary cap and third party deals there is no level playing field.

Therefore changing the NRL structure to a conference system is something that could be considered to address some of these issues. Here is how a conference system could work.
There are two conferences
1. Sydney Conference
2. National (Outside of Sydney) Conference.

In the Sydney conference you have all Sydney teams and these all play each other twice during the season. The first point here is it promotes crowds and TV rating because it automatically increases the number of local derby’s which are the most popular games.
The Sydney conference also plays the National conference teams once, much like what happens now.

The difference really is with the semi finals. The top four Sydney conference teams play off. Whilst the top four National conference teams play off. The winners then meet in the grand final. The Sydney semi finals would be huge. Compare that idea to what has happened this year.

The lack of Sydney teams and local blockbusters in Semi Final football is going to be to the long term detriment of the game. TV ratings for this weeks games will be down throughout Sydney especially. I know the out of Sydney teams get good crowd figures, but Sydney is still the heart of the game. The most glaringly obvious point to me regarding this years finals is that all the teams remaining have a significant regular season home ground advantage.

In summary the positives to a Conference system would be:

1: MORE regular season local derby games which equals bigger crowds, more media interest and bigger TV ratings
2: GUARANTEED semi final blockbusters in Sydney involving Sydney teams.
3: Never again will we have grand finals with no Sydney teams.

The negatives:

The Sydney conference is 9 teams, not 8. Move the Sharks? Or play Manly in National Conference.
 

the duke

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lol.
what can i say?
work is pretty quiet at the moment.
 
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