AFL: Melbourne coach Simon Goodwin has thrown his support behind a conference-styles fixture, where AFL clubs would be divided into three sections.
The fixture would mimic US sports, including basketball, where conferences produce a number of teams to progress through to finals.
In Goodwin's eyes, creating a conference system would breed more success for more clubs, as well as heighten the anticipation of finals, with a wildcard playoff for the final two spots in the eight.
"I like the fact that more teams can be involved at the end of the season,” Goodwin said.
"I'm a bit of a believer that we should have three conferences. I like the American sports system.
"I think you could have the top two of the conferences go through to the finals and then four teams play off in a wildcard weekend heading into the final eight.”
Goodwin didn't suggest how the conferences would be split, but if the conference-style fixture were to truly mimic the US sports model, it would come down to geography.
The difficulty would be dividing the 10 Victorian-based clubs.
The AFL may trial conferences with AFLW if and when the league increases to eight or more teams so that it can accommodate a shorter season with the additional franchises.
Goodwin suggested conferences would not only give the AFL fixture a rejuvenated feel and look, but ensure middle-range teams have something to play for at the end of the season, with a wildcard play off deciding the final two spots of the eight.
What's more, he said having three minor premiers would also encourage teams to strive to finish on top of their conferences.
"I think that would build more success within the competition in general, having three conference winners,” he said.
"I think with an 18-team competition there's only ever one winner that's defined as being successful.
"I think we could develop a better system that actually breeds more success for more teams.”
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