K rock Football

Windy proposes Wildcard weekend

North Shore co-coach Darren Winter. (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)

NORTH Shore coach Darren Winter has proposed introducing a “wildcard weekend” to allow clubs to play an extra game, under finals-like conditions, in the COVID-shortened GFL season.

Under Winter’s plan, based on the season resuming on July 31, clubs would play their three home-and-away games against those they are yet to face in 2021.

Instead of finding another match-up on the weekend of August 21, Winter has proposed the bottom-eight teams face each other (5th vs. 12th, 6th vs. 11th, 7th vs. 10th, 8th vs. 9th) in a system similar to that used by the NAB League previous years.

From there, the top four would have direct entry into two qualifying finals in an AFL-style top-eight, and the four “wildcard” winners would feature in elimination finals.

“The players and coaches in club put so much time and effort into playing footy, and to have it shortened by potentially six weeks, or even more, is really disappointing,” Winter said.

“I did read somewhere there was a top-eight touted … if we are going to start talking about that, how about we go a top-12 and give the players an extra game.

“We’ve put so much time in to have a 12-week season; that’s a little bit unfair.”

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Winter says there would be plenty of benefits for clubs to feature in a match with more than just four points on the line.

“Realistically, if you’re sitting 12th, 11th or 10th, you probably shouldn’t be winning those games,” he said.

“It gives the top six or seven a chance to play finals the next week.

“But it also gives some kids an opportunity to play another game of footy, and potentially another after that.

“If we get that opportunity to sneak another round in and make it a “wildcard” round for finals, why wouldn’t we do it?”

The Seagulls, who were scheduled to play St Mary’s this week, are still to face Geelong West, Leopold and fellow winless team St Albans in 2021.

Twitter: @tom_king79

WINDY’S WILDCARD WEEKEND

(all games at the home ground of higher-ranked club)

  • 5th vs. 12th
  • 6th vs. 11th
  • 7th vs. 10th
  • 8th vs. 9th.

The winners progress to an AFL-style top-eight system, with the two highest-ranked winners play the two lowest-ranked winners in an elimination final.