McIntyre System

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The McIntyre System, or systems because there have been five of them, is a playoff system that gives an advantage to teams or competitors qualifying higher. The systems were developed by Ken McIntyre, an Australian lawyer, historian, mathematician, and English lecturer, for the Victorian Football League in 1931.

In the VFL/AFL[edit]

The first McIntyre System, the Page-McIntyre system, also known as the McIntyre Final Four System, was adopted by the VFL in 1931, after using a wide range of playoff systems since its foundation in 1897.

The system immediately preceding the Page-McIntyre system was the "amended Argus system" that had operated from 1902 to 1930, which in turn was preceded by the "original Argus system" introduced in 1901.

McIntyre also devised the McIntyre Final Five System for the VFL for 1972, the McIntyre Final Six System for 1991 (which was revised for 1992) and the McIntyre Final Eight System for the 1994 season.

The AFL and its fans grew dissatisfied with some of the outcomes the McIntyre Final Eight system might allow, and replaced it with another final eight system in 2000.

Other Competitions[edit]

McIntyre finals systems are used prominently throughout Australia. Most Australian rules football leagues, from professional down to suburban, use a McIntyre finals system. The New South Wales Rugby League/National Rugby League has used the McIntyre Final Four and Final Five at different times throughout its history, and has used the McIntyre Final Eight System since 1999. The Page-McIntyre system is also used in the ANZ Championships (netball), the Australian Baseball League and Women's National Basketball League. It was also used in the A-League (soccer) before that competition expanded its finals series to a top-six format. It is also used in the Indian Premier League (cricket).

Under the name Page playoff system, the McIntyre Final Four is commonly used in softball and curling events, especially in Canada. The system was also used in the Rugby League National League Three in Great Britain for the 2004 season.

The systems[edit]

Page-McIntyre system[edit]

Round Match Name Team 1 Team 2
1 A 1st Semi Final[1] Rank 3 v Rank 4
B 2nd Semi Final[1] Rank 1 v Rank 2
2 C Preliminary Final Loser B v Winner A
3 D Grand Final Winner B v Winner C

In the first round of the Page-McIntyre system the highest two ranked teams play each other, with the winner going straight through to the grand final and the loser going through to the next round. The lowest two ranked teams play to avoid being eliminated and to go through to the next round. The winner of the second round match gets through to the grand final. In this system, the top two teams are able to lose a match and still qualify for the Grand Final, this is referred to as a 'double chance'.

Assuming that each team has an even chance of winning each match, the probability for both the highest ranked teams winning the competition is 37.5%, compared to 12.5% for the third and fourth placed teams.

McIntyre final five system[edit]

Round Match Name Team 1 Team 2
1 A Elimination Final Rank 4 v Rank 5
B Qualifying Final Rank 2 v Rank 3
2 C 1st Semi Final Loser B v Winner A
D 2nd Semi Final Rank 1 v Winner B
3 E Preliminary Final Loser D v Winner C
4 F Grand Final Winner D v Winner E

From the second round the McIntyre final five system is the same as the Page-McIntyre system, however, in the first round the lowest two ranked teams play to eliminate one team and the second and third ranked teams determine which match they will play in the second round. The highest ranked team has a bye to the second round.

In this case, if all teams have an even chance of winning each match, the highest ranked team has a 37.5% chance, ranks two and three have a 25% chance and the lowest two ranked teams have a 6.25% chance of winning the competition.

First McIntyre final six system[edit]

Round Match Name Team 1 Team 2
1 A 1st Elimination Final Rank 5 v Rank 6
B 2nd Elimination Final Rank 3 v Rank 4
C Qualifying Final Rank 1 v Rank 2
2 D 1st Semi Final Loser C v Winner A
E 2nd Semi Final Winner C v Winner B
3 F Preliminary Final Loser E v Winner D
4 G Grand Final Winner E v Winner F

The first McIntyre final six system was also the same as the Page-McIntyre system from the second round. In this case, two of the four lowest ranked teams are eliminated in the first round, while the top two determine which match they will play in the second round. Under this system the top two teams receive a double chance, as does the winner of match B.

Second McIntyre final six system[edit]

Round Match Name Team 1 Team 2
1 A 1st Elimination Final Rank 4 v Rank 5
B 2nd Elimination Final Rank 3 v Rank 6
C Qualifying Final Rank 1 v Rank 2
2 D 1st Semi Final Loser C v Lower ranked winner from A, B
E 2nd Semi Final Winner C v Higher ranked winner from A, B
3 F Preliminary Final Loser E v Winner D
4 G Grand Final Winner E v Winner F

This adaptation of the first McIntyre System corrected for the anomaly that, in the first week, the team who finished 4th would have a more difficult opponent than the team who finished 5th, and was hence more likely to be eliminated, despite finishing higher. This was achieved by adding flexibility to the second round draw, so that the two elimination final winners were re-ranked to determine which played the winner of the qualifying final and which played the loser.

However, both McIntyre final six systems had another weakness: the loser of the Qualifying Final (which is the most difficult game of the first round), ended up facing elimination in the First-Semi Final, while the higher-ranked Elimination Final winner (who has had the easiest game of the first round) has a double chance in the Second-Semi Final.

McIntyre final eight system[edit]

Round Match Name Team 1 Team 2
1 A 1st Qualifying Final Rank 4 v Rank 5
1 B 2nd Qualifying Final Rank 3 v Rank 6
1 C 3rd Qualifying Final Rank 2 v Rank 7
1 D 4th Qualifying Final Rank 1 v Rank 8
2 E 2nd Semi Final 4th highest ranked winner from A, B, C, D v 2nd highest ranked loser from A, B, C, D
F 1st Semi Final 3rd highest ranked winner from A, B, C, D v 1st highest ranked loser from A, B, C, D
3 G 2nd Preliminary Final 2nd highest ranked winner from A, B, C, D v Winner F
H 1st Preliminary Final 1st highest ranked winner from A, B, C, D v Winner E
4 I Grand Final Winner G v Winner H

The McIntyre final eight bears little in common with the other McIntyre Systems. At no stage does it follow the Page-McIntyre structure, and at no stage after the first week does any team retain a double chance. The system allows any combination of the eight finalists to feature in the Grand Final. It gives 18.75% to 1st and 2nd, 15.625% to 3rd, 12.5% to 4th and 5th, 9.375% to 6th and 6.25% to 7th and 8th.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Note that the terms "1st Semi Final" and "2nd Semi Final" specifically relate to the elimination and non-elimination semi-finals respectively, and they retain these names regardless of the chronological order that the games are played in. Many leagues which later adopted the Page-McIntyre System use the terms "Major Semi-Final" and "Minor Semi-Final" to more descriptively differentiate between the two games.

External links[edit]