Grand Final Replay

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A Grand Final Replay is a method of deciding the winner of a competition when a Grand Final is drawn. It is commonly used in football codes, particularly in Australian rules football, and most notably in the Australian Football League, where it has been used three times, most recently in 2010.

Australian rules football[edit]

Until 1991, Australian football had no structure in place to break a tie in a finals game. As such, the teams would reconvene the following week to replay their game, pushing back the rest of the finals schedule by one week. This caused controversy in 1990, when the qualifying final between Collingwood and West Coast was drawn. It meant that the minor premiers Essendon had a two-weekend bye instead of one, and many insisted that the extended layoff had contributed to their losses to Collingwood, both in the Second Semi-Final and in the Grand Final. Additionally, by 1990 there were many more events and corporate entertainment functions scheduled around the AFL finals than had been the case in 1977 (when the previous finals draw had occurred), and the delay in the finals schedule caused chaos for venues and hotels as these events were rescheduled. To avoid a repeat of these undesirable outcomes, the AFL initiated the use of extra time (5 minutes each way) to decide drawn finals, except for the Grand Final, from 1991 onwards.[1]

However, a Grand Final Replay is still played in the week after a drawn Grand Final, instead of playing a replay. In the event that the replay is also drawn, extra time is played rather than playing a second replay.[2]


The 2010 Drawn Grand Final raised debate about the practice of a staging full-length replay instead of playing extra time. After the game, the two captains, Nick Maxwell of Collingwood and Nick Riewoldt of St Kilda, both stated that they would have preferred an extra time period; Maxwell was particularly scathing of the arrangement, labelling it an "absolute joke" in an interview immediately after the final siren,[3] but the full replay was not without its supporters, with Collingwood coach Michael Malthouse pledging his support to the traditional arrangement in his post-match press conference.[4] On Monday 13 December 2010, the AFL commission discussed the possibility of introducing extra time to decide future drawn Grand Finals, but ultimately decided to retain the full Grand Final Replay.[5]

Australian Football Grand Final Replays[edit]

Rugby league[edit]

Both the 1977 and 1978 New South Wales Rugby League Grand Finals ended in draws, and were subsequently replayed. The 1977 replay was held one week later, the 1978 replay three days later.

In the 1977 decider, 20 minutes of extra time was played, this proviso was dropped for the following season. However, after two games were drawn in the 1978 finals series and hence necessitated replays, extra time was re-instated in 1979. In 2003, the system of golden point overtime was adopted, Grand Finals are now decided on the day.

NSWRL Grand Final Replays[edit]


  1. ^ Bruce Matthews (11 September 1990). "Commission rules out grand final change". The Sun News-Pictorial (Melbourne, VIC). p. 66. 
  2. ^ Herald Sun "AFL announces extra time for Grand Final replay", retrieved 25 September 2010
  3. ^ Schmook, N.,'It's an absolute joke': Maxwell slams replay, Retrieved 26 September 2010
  4. ^ Matthews, B.,has no time for extra time, Retrieved 26 September 2010.
  5. ^ Paton, A. Herald Sun, "AFL rules replays stay for drawn Grand Finals", 13 December 2010, retrieved 13 December 2010.
  6. ^ Devaney, J. Full Points Footy's Tasmanian Football Companion, John Devaney & Full Points Publications, 2009, p. 163.