Finals are a part of Australian sport, and they are here to stay. They also serve a very good purpose; in keeping the season interesting for teams whose season may well have already been over with no chance of winning anything.
There are many who have questioned the FFA opting to reward six out of the ten teams in the Hyundai A League with a finals berth, and the opportunity to be named the Champions of Australia. Something that even the confederation to which Australia belongs to, the AFC, fails to acknowledge, with the Asian Champions League place being given to the team that tops the League ladder.
The FFA have changed the finals format this season giving the top two teams very little benefit for their consistency all season, they lose one game and they are out. Gone is their second chance, a reward for their consistency.
Many believe that the changes have not gone far enough. With the sixth placed team, Perth Glory, being 25 points behind the ‘League Premiers’ Western Sydney Wanderers, maybe they have a point. The Premiers were even 22 points ahead of the fifth placed team, Brisbane Roar. This equates to winning eight and seven games more respectively, which is a huge amount.
In fact both of these two sides lost more games than they won all season, and therefore it seems a little strange that they should warrant a place in the finals and a chance to be crowned the Champions of Australia. Perth Glory won nine of their 27 games and lost 13, while Brisbane Roar won ten and lost 12. For the record all of the top four teams won more games than they lost.
There are many who believe the finals should be played between the top four, and played on a home and away basis with the aggregate score deciding the two finalists, the standings this year lend weight to that argument.
If the FFA wish to stick with six teams in the finals series maybe they should make it a requirement that to qualify the sides must have won more or at least as many games as they have lost to qualify. The big plus should such a rule be adopted is teams will have to play attacking football towards the end of the season to ensure they have the required number of victories.
Then again a top four in a ten team league seems a much simpler and fairer solution. As they say the League ladder seldom lies.