Opinion: Does the bye work?
Does the bye work?
Well, there are different stakeholders wanting different things. Therein lies the dilemma.
Fans want non-stop footy continuously from Round 1 to the Grand Final. Players want, not just one bye, they are now requesting a second bye per season.
As for how the byes are to happen, should it be split rounds or just have a full weekend off. Personally, I don’t mind the way it is now but many fans think “I’d rather have a full weekend off” than three boring split rounds.” But Andrew Demetriou would definitely not want to give full weekends off to their competition – NRL and Super Rugby etc.
So it’s a juggling act. You can’t please everyone.
Firstly, I want to talk about the players. They are the product. They are the brand. Without them, there would be no AFL, so their demands ought to be, if not met, at least considered and valued. And that’s why they have the AFLPA to lobby on their behalf. AFL is, in my opinion, the most physically demanding of the four football codes we have in this country. For starters, the dimensions of the playing surface are bigger. Also, the matches last longer than league, union and soccer. And there is more running involved.
The season is so long. It effectively starts in November. Which takes us back to another debate of what should happen to the NAB Cup? In my opinion, it should be scrapped. There’s no need for it, but I’m sure the AFL won’t budge in getting rid of it anytime soon.
Teams who make it to the finals tend to start preseason later and seasoned veterans are also privileged with the option of an extended off season. I suppose that’s the equivalent of a long service leave.
But even still, it’s quite a long season, and I can totally understand the player’s requests for a second bye.
I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.