For those who can’t be bothered with the link, here’s the gist: Super League’s expansion to 14 teams next season has thrown the play-off system into a quandy, and it was announced that from next year the play-off list will expand from six to eight teams. There has been much speculation as to whether Super League would adopt the McIntyre Final 8 system as used in the NRL or instead adopt the AFL model. Instead, they’ve decided to take a new approach… by letting the highest placed sides choose their opponents.
I can see the potential upsides of such a system, and they all involve synergy with TV. It’s ready made drama with the potential to spectacularly backfire, and the coach of the chosen sides will have their motivational speeches written automatically. However, it also strikes me as an unnecessary burden on the coaches and CEOs of clubs who will have a good season potentially ruined because they happened to pick a side who managed to have its best game of the season in the first round of the play-offs. But worst of all, this just positively screams ‘GIMMICK!!!!’. I know that part of the switch to Super League in the first place was the idea of increasing the branding of the league and turning it into a product for TV, and the cheerleaders and the play-offs were acceptable, but this might just be taking things too far.