Disbelief And Anger At 'C-Word' Ruining The AFL Women's Season
The AFL Women's season is a mess and fans are furious.
And that's a shame because the overall standard of footy has been miles ahead of last year and the season before that.
Unfortunately, several top teams won't be rewarded for their great football, due to a two-conference system which has needlessly split the AFLW in two.
The AFL added two new teams to the AFLW in the off-season, then announced it would adopt a conference system for the 2018/19 season, with five teams in each conference. The top two from each conference would play off in the finals.
The AFL’s head of women's football, Nicole Livingstone, said it would "be unique and innovative".
In truth it has been a failure.
As you can clearly see below, teams in Conference A are so dominant that the bottom Conference A team (Western Bulldogs) has a better record than the top team in Conference B (Carlton).
In fact, not a single Conference B team has beaten a Conference A team.
And what this means is there's now the very real prospect of a finals series where the teams ranked 6th and 7th at the end of the season will play the teams 1st and 2nd -- while the 3rd and 4th ranked teams miss out.
Which isn't fair at all. In fact it makes a mockery of the very reason you have finals.
As you'd expect, fans are unimpressed.
In a sense, the AFL has gotten unlucky here. They chose the two conferences from last year's ladder positions (odd-numbered finishers in one conference, evens in the other).
Then they put one of the two new teams (Geelong and North Melbourne) in each conference.
So on paper at least, it's bad luck more than bad management that the conferences have turned out so lopsided.
But the over-arching questions remain: Why were conferences introduced in the first place? Why not just a single ladder? Why innovate for innovation's sake alone?
Usually in sport, leagues puts conferences in place to help teams play local rivals more often instead of travelling. There's nothing like that going on here.
We've just got conferences for no especially good reason and they're taking the focus off what everyone should be talking about -- the bloody excellent footy.