Four-week bye to be reviewed, but staggered weeks off here to stay

Having the bye rounds spread over four weeks will be reviewed at the season’s end, but the League has ruled out having an entire weekend off for all teams.

THE AFL is expected to review the newly introduced four-week bye process that it has trialled this season, but appears set to continue staggering when it gives clubs a mid-year break in the future.

The League opted to spread its bye weeks across four rounds this season, the first time that byes had been stretched across four consecutive weekends since the competition was uneven with 17 teams in 2011.

Previously, teams had shared their bye weeks across three rounds of fixtures, although Port Adelaide, Gold Coast and St Kilda were each given earlier bye rounds when they played fixtures in China between 2017 and 2019.

This season four clubs were given the bye in round 12, two the following week and six after that. A further six clubs will enjoy the coming weekend off, meaning a reduced slate featuring only six games across four days.

It’s led to calls from prominent AFL greats to take an entire weekend off in the future, reducing the bye rounds to just one weekend. But it’s understood the AFL does not want to stunt mid-season momentum and will continue staggering breaks.

However, it is expected to review the bye week model at the season’s end when it conducts its annual assessments and is likely to gauge the views of key stakeholders at club land to determine how many weeks byes will be spread across in the future.

The League is also understood to be comfortable with retaining its pre-finals bye in the first weekend of September, adamant that it gives the top-eight teams the perfect chance to reset before competing in finals action.

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