AFL not suited to best of three fi­nal – Bar­tel

Geelong Advertiser - - SPORT - MICHAEL RAN­DALL

GEE­LONG great Jimmy Bar­tel says the push for a three­match AFL grand fi­nal se­ries is a “dumb” idea.

Syd­ney is re­port­edly push­ing for the grand fi­nal to be played over three matches at dif­fer­ent venues to make the con­test more even for in­ter­state clubs.

The grand fi­nal will be played at the MCG un­til at least 2057, but the door has re­port­edly been left open for changes.

But the Brown­low medal­list says he is “baf­fled” by the idea.

“How does it fit into the foot­ball cal­en­dar?” Bar­tel said on Mac­quarie Sports Ra­dio.

“The at­tri­tion rate of play­ers — if you’re a sup­porter, you’re go­ing, ‘am I go­ing to see the best play here in game two or three?’ Ev­ery­one gets a turn. It’s one of the more ridicu­lous ideas I’ve heard.

“Our game is not suited for a best of three. We play a twohour 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?”

The three-time pre­mier­ship player said he un­der­stood the ar­gu­ment for fair­ness, but it was sim­ply not a re­al­ity.

“I’m all for fair­ness and even­ness but it never ex­ists in our game and as soon as we ac­tu­ally un­der­stand that ev­ery­thing in our game is not fair, you can move on, you can deal with it,” he said.

“It’s just the na­ture of the com­pe­ti­tion, it’s not a fair com­pe­ti­tion, the draw says that, lo­ca­tion says that, dif­fer­ent­sized grounds say that, sup­porter bases say that.”

Bar­tel pointed to the blood­bath be­tween Hawthorn and Gee­long in 1989 and the drawn grand fi­nal be­tween St Kilda and Colling­wood as ex­am­ples of how hard it would be for play­ers to get up for a three­game se­ries.

“Imag­ine the 1989 grand fi­nal, we had ‘Dip­per’ (Hawk Robert DiPier­domenico) with col­lapsed lungs, we had (Hawthorn’s) Der­mott (Br­ere­ton) with bro­ken ribs, we had play­ers who were just out on their feet,” he said.

“You saw how hard it was in the grand fi­nal draw in 2010 — they could barely get up a lot of those play­ers.

“I’m baf­fled at the idea.”

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