https://www.foxsports.com.au/nrl/nrl-premiership/wildcard-round-nrl-set-for-massive-topeight-finals-shakeup/news-story/2a4f564e60b83b0746a342c7499e07e4NRL finals shake-up: Top 10, wildcard round... but is it a game-changer or gimmick?
Under a new proposal, the NRL is set for a massive top eight finals shake-up in 2020 with the introduction of a wildcard round to be played between four teams.
Mar 15 2019
- March 4, 2019 7:02pm
- by Staff writers
- Source: FOX SPORTS
The NRL finals race is set for a shake-up in 2020.Source: AAP
In what will make the race to the finals more exciting and minimise dead rubbers, the proposal is that teams that finish seventh to 10th on the NRL ladder will compete against each other for the final two spots in the top eight.
The teams that finish first to sixth will earn a week off.
Major shakeup for NRL Finals
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If the change had been implemented last season, the Wests Tigers and Canberra would’ve had the chance to break into the finals despite six and 10 points behind the Warriors who finished in eighth.
The fourth team that would’ve made up the wildcard round would’ve been St George Illawarra who finished in seventh.
Eighth will play ninth, while seventh will play 10th for spots in the elimination finals.
How the Wildcard Weekend would've worked based on last year's ladder.Source: FOX SPORTS
The NRL finals format will follow following the wildcard round.
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The proposal from new NRL head of football, Graham Annesley, will go to the game’s powerbrokers for a final sign-off.
“It’s probably not fair on the face of it, but in any finals system it’s not fair in itself,” Annesley said.
“Because you are playing a competition over four weeks involving eight teams where not everyone plays each other. All finals systems are inherently unfair to some degree.
“It’s all a balancing act.”
NRL CEO Todd Greenberg said: “There’s some work we’re doing behind the scenes, which today we’re starting to brief some people on including our clubs about a different type of format from our finals series.
“It’s very much exploring it as a concept rather than signing it off.”
Kenty fumes at finals changes
According to NRL figures, the introduction of the wildcard weekend would reduce dead matches - featuring a team that cannot make the finals - from 22 to 13 based on the last 11 years.
Those figures also show there is a decline of around 3,300 in crowd numbers for those games, as well as an eight per cent drop in television ratings.
“It’s all intended to try and maintain interest in the competition for the participants, for our fans and members and people who come through the gates each week,” Annesley said.
A decision is likely to be made in the coming months.