If you watch the footage on Footballwest.tv of the Flexible Signage Solutions Grand Final between the Western Knights and Perth, you will hear victorious coach Graham Normanton state, “ This is the league. We’ve just won it and that’s what people need to know. That’s the rules we play by that’s what it is and we are absolutely delighted to win it.”
Which is a valid point everyone did know the rules at the start of the season. Perth did win the finals series and deserved to, because as Graham Normanton went on to say, “We geared ourselves for it and we’ve won it on the day.” Congratulations to them as a club.
However as written on this post previously, the terms Premiers and Champions have been used incorrectly. Perth should be the Premiers and not the Champions as they were the winners on the day, not over a league season.
It is no fault of coaches or teams that we have the finals series, and a strong range of views as to who is regarded as the “Champion.”
If the team that finished top of the league is not the Champion, as Mr Normanton alludes, why would they receive any prize money for coming top of the league?
Just because all the other sports in Australia operate this way does not mean that it is right. Take a look at the Hyundai A league as an example.
When the FFA was accepted into the Asian Football Confederation, along with it came a place in the Asian Champions League. The AFC advised the FFA that that spot would go to the team that finished on top at the end of the league season, as is the case throughout Asia. The FFA disagreed, as it is run by people from other codes and not football people – one of the problems holding the game back despite the giant strides made in the past five years.They said that they would be sending the winner of the Grand Final.
After much toing and froing a compromise was met. Vietnam, who had two teams in the Champions league were told they would now only have one spot, and Australia could have two, one for the team that tops the league, the other for the Grand Final winner.
The argument has been thrown up that finals series are the Australian way. If that is the case then surely if Australia is part of the Asian Confederation they should respect the Asian way, which happens to be the same as most leagues around the world.
The debate is bound to rage on. With no one right and no one wrong. It is simply a matter of opinion; ours being that being consistent over 22 games is a massive achievement and in the true meaning of the word allows you to call yourself a “champion.”