Extended AFL mid-season bye period here to stay

AFL fixtures boss Travis Auld has indicated mid-season byes will remain split over at least three rounds next season despite facing push back over this year’s drawn-out break period.

Prominent critics have slammed the extended four-week stretch of reduced matches as a momentum-killer for the season.

Many have called for the bye rounds to be cut back to one or two weeks to allow the competition to resume regular scheduling quickly.

But Auld insists the four-week period, which concludes this round, has been a success.

“The crowds and ratings at first glance are really strong but they have been for the last few months, so that’s continued,” Auld told reporters on Wednesday.

“We’ll do a full review at the end of the year once we’ve talked to the broadcasters and clubs, and everyone else who’s impacted.

“Whether it’s three or four weeks, we’ll make a decision on that.

“I don’t think it will be far outside those two but we’re always happy to keep moving things around, and if it works we’ll stick with it.”

Another hot discussion point around the bye rounds has been the dismal record of those coming off their break.

Teams re-entering the action against opponents who were active the week before have a collective 0-8 record so far this season.

The trend will be put to the test in round 16, when six clubs resume against opponents who played last week.

Auld dismissed suggestions teams could be scheduled to re-start future campaigns against rivals who also had a bye the previous week.

“It’s just not that simple,” Auld said.

“It makes it difficult to get as cute with that in the fixture because there’s other consequences.

“If you could do that, you probably would to the extent you could, but it’s not that easy.”


Shayne Hope
(Australian Associated Press)


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