The Australian Rugby League Commission has announced a change to the 2012 Telstra Premiership Finals Series at today’s NRL Chief Executives’ meeting in Sydney.
On the day of the official season launch, the Commission informed clubs that it had accepted a recommendation to move away from the McIntyre system which had been a part of the Telstra Premiership since 1999.
For the first time since 1996, the competition will split the top four and the bottom four finalists into separate pools in week one of the Telstra Premiership Finals Series (The Australian Rugby League used such a model in both 1995 and 1996).
Whereas the McIntyre system ‘seeded’ the eight finalists so that the top four played the bottom four, the 2012 system will see the top four teams and bottom four teams split into separate pools in the first week.
“As the competition has become closer and the impact of ‘home and away’ finals matches even more significant, the system has become a source of increasing debate,” ARLC Chief Executive, Mr David Gallop, said today.
“The allocation of ‘home venues’ in the second week of the McIntyre system has been a particular concern.
“After going through a thorough process we are confident that this is the right time for this change.”
The recommendation to the Commission follows an extensive review process conducted by ARLC General Manager of Football Operations, Mr Nathan McGuirk.
“Over the past few months we have been conducting a review with clubs and with the recently formed Competition Committee,” Mr McGuirk said.
“An overwhelming majority of clubs have shifted their support away from the McIntyre system and to one where the top four teams play each other in week one.
“It offers greater protection for the top four teams and the possibility of even closer matches.
“Each of the top four teams needs only to win two finals matches to reach the Grand Final, while the bottom four ranked teams must win three.
“The Minor Premiers and Team 2 are each guaranteed two home games.”
The Telstra Premiership finals system will continue to be played on the basis of ‘home city’ venues in week one and two and ‘home region’ venues in week three.