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No more Grand Final replays as AFL Commission agrees to 'golden score'

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Nick Maxwell of Collingwood celebrates after the final siren the 2010 Toyota AFL Grand Final replay between the Collingwood Magpies and the St Kilda Saints at the MCG, Melbourne.
Collingwood captain Nick Maxwell celebrates victory in the 2010 Grand Final replay

THE AFL has scrapped the Grand Final replay, with extra time to decide this year's premiership in the case of a draw.

The League confirmed the historic decision on Tuesday following a meeting of the AFL Commission. 

A Grand Final replay has taken place three times – in 1948, 1977 and most recently in 2010 when St Kilda lost to Collingwood. 

Under the new rules in the case of a draw, two five-minute halves each way, plus time on, will be played to decide a winner. 

If the scores are still tied at the end of the second period, the siren will not ring until the next score, which will decide the flag.

The League hasn't decided if players or the crowd will be made aware they have moved into the 'golden score' period, with the possibility of a message being displayed on the MCG's big screen.

AFL Commission chairman Mike Fitzpatrick said the time was right to make the change for a fairer outcome to travelling teams.  

"We took into account the historic value and the uniqueness of this issue to our game, but at the end of the day fairness to the competing teams in a national competition requires we no longer demand a replayed match," he said.

"We don't make change lightly in our game. We respect its uniqueness and traditions. However, we are very confident this decision reflects the views of the majority of AFL clubs, majority of players and the majority of our fans."

The League contemplated dropping the draw for the full season, but decided not to make a change. All finals are now played under the same rules if a draw occurs.

There will be an additional allowance of 15 interchange rotations for both teams in the extra time. 

 

Fitzpatrick said speaking to players on the ground after Collingwood and St Kilda's draw in 2010 gave him the impression all involved wanted to have the game finished that day.

"I remember going out on the day of the draw and exhaustion of the players, and at the time [there was] almost a universal view that they didn't really want to play again the next week," Fitzpatrick said.

"It's obviously difficult for the coaches to get the players up the next week."

In abandoning the replay, the AFL has turned its back on a massive windfall in the case of a draw. And although Fitzpatrick admitted it was "lucrative" in 2010, he said broadcasters were comfortable with the call.

The League's football operations manager Mark Evans, who presented the AFL's detailed document to the commission about losing the replay, said the lure of a premiership being won in extra time was enticing.

"Instead of having the flat feeling at the end that no-one's won, you actually produce the game for all ages, you have a fight out there on the day and you walk away saying 'That is the best game in the history of the AFL'," Evans said.

"I think the chances of that happening out of a replay are diminished."