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 was used three times, most recently in 2010, prior to its abolition in 2016.

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 onward.[1] However, from 1991 until 2015, a grand final replay would still be played after a drawn grand final, with the provision that extra time be played if the replay were drawn, rather than playing a second replay.[2]

In 2016, the grand final replay was abolished. As for other finals matches, drawn grand finals are now resolved with two five-minute periods of extra time; if the scores are still tied at the end of the extra time period, play will continue until the next score.[3]

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. ^ Twomey, Callum (19 April 2016). "No more Grand Final replays". Australian Football League. Retrieved 19 April 2016. 
  4. ^ Devaney, J. Full Points Footy's Tasmanian Football Companion, John Devaney & Full Points Publications, 2009, p. 163.