AFL CEO Andrew Dillon speaks to reporters in Sydney on March 6, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

THE BYE rounds are behind us for another year, but the debate about the best way to give clubs a week off continues.

In 2024, the AFL maintained the four-week block of bye rounds it introduced last year, giving each club a break at some point between rounds 12 and 15.

But is that the best way?

Last week, Geelong coach Chris Scott again raised the suggestion of the entire competition taking a week off at the same time, a theoretically fairer way to do it. Such an idea would, however, mean no AFL games over that weekend, although it could allow competitions like the men's and women's State Leagues and U18 National Championships to take centre stage.

The League has used multiple bye structures over the past two decades; Scott's idea of every club having a bye on the same weekend was trialled in 2003 but quickly scrapped, while a split round spread over two weeks was used between 2004 and 2010.

The introduction of Gold Coast in 2011 made it a 17-team competition and forced another re-think, with at least one team having a bye in each of the 24 rounds that year.

Chris Scott addresses his players during Geelong's clash against Richmond in round 12, 2024. Picture: AFL Photos

The arrival of Greater Western Sydney in 2012 evened up the competition again and led to the three-week bye period, which ran for a decade until the four-week model was introduced in 2023.

There's been other complicating factors, with games played in China between 2017 and 2019 leading to those clubs getting an earlier bye than others, while the introduction of Opening Round this year has meant eight clubs have had two byes compared to just one for the other 10 clubs.

The AFL says it will review the current bye structure at the end of the season, including how Opening Round – should it return in 2025 – impacts when and how often teams have a week off during the year.

"We are reviewing and getting ready for next year's fixture at the moment," CEO Andrew Dillon told 3AW earlier this month.

AFL CEO Andrew Dillon speaks to reporters in 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

"Opening Round for us in terms of crowds (meant) all the games were sellouts, the ratings were really strong, the two teams in NSW and Queensland, their memberships are up double digit percentages.

"However, we also need to get access to the SCG and the Gabba and then it's making sure we review the football performance. We have been getting feedback about byes and we will look at that and try to make sure we can try and keep that balance."

Tasmania's entry as the 19th team in 2028, creating an uneven number of teams, will ensure the bye structure used in 2025, 2026 and 2027 will have to be thrown out the window.

But in the three years until then, which bye structure is best? Have your say in the poll below.