AFL wildcard round to elect final’s spots has 'major support', Gillon McLachlan said;

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A fresh wildcard round to select the last two spots in the top 8 could be familiarized as early as next year, according to Gillon McLachlan, Chief Executive AFL.

McLachlan met with chief executives of clubs in Melbourne on Thursday to chat proposals for reorganizing the season fixture.

"There was additional interest in the wildcard round leading into the last eight than I thought there would be," says McLachlan.

"I would say, not worldwide, but a vital level of support … and that was the thing that was most astonishing."

Numerous compositions are being well-thought-out for the wildcard round, including a situation where the seventh placed team plays the 10th side, and eighth plays 9th to decide who plays in the elimination final the next week.

The suggestion is part of a wider discussion about overhauling the existing season format, in which eighteen teams play 22 games each.

"The core of it is fairness," says McLachlan.

"We have a contest that is imperfect in the sense there are eighteen teams in a 22 round fixture."

McLachlan told clubs he favored a 17--5 model, where clubs play each other one time, and then divided into pools of 6 for the final 5 rounds.

The top 6 are guaranteed a finals berth and play off to choose positioning; the middle 6 compete for the remaining finals spots, while the lowest tier plays off for draft concessions.

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"The extra benefit [of change] is you have additional live games at the back end of the season if conceivable, and more convincing content," he said, but added that more practical changes to the fixture are unlikely to happen until 2019 at the earliest.

Collingwood trainer Nathan Buckley said money seemed to be the main instigator behind the talks.

"Most of it is done around gate [takings] and income," he said.

"It is mainly around how the clubs and the Australian Football League and the league need to set up their maximization of income. So we get expressed when and where to play and we drive about our business."

The Australian Football League meeting also debated the ongoing pay deal discussions with players and the timeline about the expansion of the AFLW league.


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