VIEWPOINT: Long live the draw

Josh Jenkins after kicking a final-quarter goal against the Magpies, helping his Crows overturn a 50-point deficit and force a draw. Picture: AFL Media

Josh Jenkins after kicking a final-quarter goal against the Magpies, helping his Crows overturn a 50-point deficit and force a draw. Picture: AFL Media

SUNDAY’S AFL clash between Collingwood and Adelaide will go down as one of the games of the season, and many seasons prior.

After coming from 50 points down, Crow Mitch McGovern’s pack mark and goal after the siren against the Pies secured an incredible draw in a game that will go down in history.

Following two draws in consecutive rounds a few weeks back, it appeared that the typical debate surrounding the legitimacy of a draw in the modern game had finally run its course and disappeared back into the abyss.

It took less than 24 hours after the final siren on Sunday for those against the draw to voice their opinions. Carlton and West Coast great Chris Judd is the latest to voice his scepticism of one of the few remaining unique features of our great game.

He argues that the lack of a winner and a loser leaves both fans and players with an odd feeling — are we happy that we didn’t lose, or is pretty much a defeat considering we didn’t win?

I have experienced draws both as a supporter and a player, and trust me, it’s a weird feeling. But in a time where the rule book is seemingly being rewritten every week, it’s about time we stand up for one of the sport’s great abnormalities that makes our game so unique.

There has been three draws to date in season 2017 — the most in a season since 2011, with them all coming in the last month.

The main argument behind those in support of abolishing the draw is that each game should have a “result.”

In Australian Rules Football, there are three results. A win, a loss and a draw.

The secondary argument is that an additional method of deciding a winner after the fi nal siren would add to the spectacle.

Nobody can honestly argue that Sunday’s incredible 103-103 draw wasn’t a fair result. And nobody can honestly argue that the game would have been any more thrilling with a cruel additional method of determining a winner and a loser.

It was a game that epitomised the unpredictability of our great game — the Crows coming from the clouds to snatch victory from the fingertips of Nathan Buckley’s Magpies. It was an incredible game, with an unbelievable ending.

Can’t we just leave it at that? Seeing Mitch McGovern kick the equalising goal after the siren no doubt left me wanting more, but that’s the great thing about footy — there’s always more next weekend.

The draw has been an element of Australian Football since the founding fathers first laid boot to a Sherrin in the 19th century — why get rid of it now? In 121 seasons of VFL/AFL football, there has only been 157 draws. It’s hardly a blight on the game.

Let’s just say that in their wisdom, the AFL pulls the pin on the draw and implements some fandangle method of determining a winner — what method should be used? The NRL’s golden point method has been tried and tested and has drawn staunch criticism.

In 2013, Brisbane Broncos coach and well-known golden point opponent Wayne Bennett stated that golden point becomes “a totally different game of football.”

The evidence has been well-publicised that rules appear to go out the windows as officials put the whistles away in the fear of making or breaking a team’s chances, and subsequent blatant indiscretions regularly go unnoticed.

Additionally, the ease at which a single point can be scored in Australian Rules Football would make golden point a farce. What’s even more astonishing about the NRL’s golden point method is that after 10 minutes, if neither side has registered a score, the game ends in a draw.

Save yourself ten minutes and the heartbreak and share the points. Simple.

In his article for The Age, Judd posed that two additional three-minute periods be added when scores are level at full-time, with the leader at the end of the added time be crowned the victor.

So, after more than two hours of players running themselves into the ground, running full throttle into imminent contact with little regard for their own safety, it comes down to six minutes.

You would be hard pressed to find players who have just run themselves into the ground in regular time advocate doing it all again in what would surely be a manic and silly six minutes.

Judd then suggested that a soccer-style shootout takes place should teams still be level after the additional periods, but with some form of a twist so the format maintains its distance from turning into soccer.

There were 31 goals in Sunday’s Crows-Pies game. Show me a soccer draw with that many goals and we can start talking about distancing the two games.

Until then, long live the draw

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