Wondering how the AFL finals are structured? We explain the Australian Football League’s finals format in detail.
AFL Finals Series and How it Works
Below is everything you need to know about how the AFL finals series is played out.
The AFL Grand Final is notorious for being one of the biggest annual sporting events in the world. It is often played in front of 100,000 die-hard fans.
How Many Rounds of Finals in AFL?
The AFL finals consists of the top eight teams on the ladder at the end of the home and away season.
The finals series runs for a duration of four weeks. Teams who finish in the top four are given a second chance if they lose in the first week of finals.
AFL Finals Structure – Who Plays Who?
|Qualifying & Elimination Finals Week 1|
|1st vs 4th (Qualifying Final A)|
|2nd vs 3rd (Qualifying Final B)|
|5th vs 8th (Elimination Final A)|
|6th vs 7th (Elimination Final B)|
|Qualifying Final A Loser vs Elimination Final A Winner|
|Qualifying Final B Loser vs Elimination Final B Winner|
|Qualifying Final A Winner vs Semi Final B Winner|
|Qualifying Final B Winner vs Semi Final A Winner|
|Preliminary Final A Winner vs Preliminary Final B Winner|
AFL Finals Fixture Explained
Week 1: Qualifying finals are played between 1st & 4th, whilst the other is between 2nd & 3rd. Elimination finals are played between 5th hosting 8th, whilst the other match features 6th & 7th.
Week 2: There are two semi-finals, which are played between the loser of the qualifying final hosting the winner of the elimination final.
Week 3: The winners of the semi-final, clash against the winners of the qualifying final for a spot in the AFL Grand Final.
Week 4: The two most successful teams battle it out to be crowned the premiers of the AFL season.
Below is last season’s finals bracket, which also shows the length and procedure of the AFL finals system.
Example of AFL Premiership Fixture
How Many Wins Do You Need to Make the AFL Finals?
The standard amount of wins required to make the AFL finals series based on recent history is 12 wins. In fact, 13 wins basically guarantees a spot in finals football.
North Melbourne’s 14 wins in the 2012 home and away season is the only occasion a team has won more than required.
Although they still would’ve made the finals series if they finished with 13 wins. Whilst Essendon’s 10 wins and a draw in their 2009 campaign was the lowest number of wins needed to make the finals.
What if There’s a Draw in the AFL Finals?
The draw in an AFL finals series has provided both fans and spectators with the greatest of spectacles.
Most recently it occurred in the 2010 Grand Final between Collingwood and St Kilda, which resulted in a replay the following week.
However, the rules have been changed since the 2016 Grand Final. If there is a draw now, the result will be decided in a period of extra time.
After a short break, the teams will play two three-minute halves, and if the match is still drawn, the team to score first will be declared the winner.
What if There’s a Draw in the AFL Grand Final?
Similarly, if an AFL Grand Final ends in a draw on the final siren, the same rules will be applied for a regular finals match rather than a Grand Final replay.
During the extra time period, both clubs are able to make an extra 10 interchanges per three-minute half.
A draw has only occurred in the Grand Final on three occasions in the competition’s history.
1948 – Melbourne vs Essendon
1977 – Collingwood vs North Melbourne
2010 – Collingwood vs St Kilda
Where to Get Expert Tips for the AFL Grand Final?
Head to bettingpro.com.au for the most comprehensive AFL Grand Final Tips on the Internet. Our extensive Grand Final tips page provides you with H2H predictions, Best Bets, Next Best & Same Game Multis.
It doesn’t stop there, as we also offer suggestions for the First Goalkicker and Norm Smith medallist. You can also find a host of other information and videos regarding AFL Grand Finals as well.
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