AFL grand final replay ditched

Ditching the grand final replay has the AFL confident it will produce the greatest game in the league’s history.

The AFL commission decided on Tuesday to abandon the replay, which was needed most recently six years ago.

From now, all finals matches that are drawn will be decided by two five-minute periods of extra time.

If the match is still level, play will continue until a “golden score”.

That means a rushed behind could decide the premiers.

AFL football operations manager Mark Evans said abandoning the replay ensures the grand final drawn at full time would go down as a classic.

“You get yourself into a grand final and it’s a gripping (game) – and instead of having the flat feeling at the end that no-one has won, you actually produce the game for all ages,” he said.

“You have a fight out there on the day and you walk away saying ‘that is the best game in the history of AFL’.

“The chances of that happening out of a replay are diminished.”

Collingwood easily beat St Kilda in the most recent replay.

The other two replays were in 1948 and ’77.

AFL chairman Mike Fitzpatrick said a big reason for the change was the non-Victorian teams, especially those in Perth and Queensland.

“We took into account the historic value and uniqueness of this issue to our game,” he said.

“But … fairness to the competing teams in a national competition requires that we no longer demand a replayed match.”

Fitzpatrick said it reflected the majority view of clubs, fans and players.

“(They) are keen to come to grand final day and see the best team win on the day,” he said.

“It’s good to make these decisions when you’re not under pressure to make them.

“It’s been an objective look at the game, the national competition and the impact on interstate clubs.”

If extra time is needed in any final, the teams will change ends in between the two five-minute periods.

If the game is still tied after the second period, there will be no siren until the golden score.

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