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Ireland responds to Bartel’s “dumb idea” jibe

Last week on Macquarie Sports Radio Breakfast. 3x Premiership star Jimmy Bartel called Andrew Ireland’s idea for a 3 part Grand Final series a “dumb idea” and the concept wouldn’t work in with the format of AFL footy.

This morning, the outgoing CEO of the Swans joined Matt Thompson & Jimmy Bartel on Macquarie Sports Radio to respond “I saw that, Jim hooked straight into it!” he said jovially.

In recent years the AFL fixture has been a bone of contention for many clubs and fans alike, this years fixture release was put off a further 24 hours due to concerns raised by some clubs when they received their initial schedule before it was released to the public. Ireland offered his suggestion on how to enhance the spectacle of the home and away season which will then add life to the back end of the season, leading into the finals “It’s not easy, it’s never going to be perfectly equal. My view is and I think it’s worth looking at. Maybe a 20 game season where everyone plays 10 games home and away. At the moment the last 5 games is a weighted fixture. If you had a 20 round season it becomes a lot easier to weight it (as one from each bracket of 6).” he said.

Part of Bartel’s response to Ireland last week on the show was that Australian rules footy is taxing on the body and the ability to get up for one Grand Final is effort in itself, let alone having to back up for Grand Final game #2 or potentially Grand Final game #3. “How hard is it for the players? If I went back to my 20 week season I’d have the bye in the week leading into the first Grand Final give the players a good freshen up before they played those games. They might have to play the 3 but they might play 2 because it could be over in 2 weeks.” responded Ireland.

It is inevitable that the 22 week fixture as we know it is bound to change. Andrew Ireland will remain on the AFL’s competition committee even after he leaves his post as CEO of the Sydney Swans. “We meet again next week, fixture review will be part of that discussion at some stage. I was appointed to that earlier in the year, if I stay involved there then I can certainly at least voice my view at those meetings.”

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