Monday, 2 July 2018

Demonbracket 2019 format review

If you're looking for this week's match review - and why wouldn't you be after that five alarm shambles of a performance - go here.

It may soon be time to start thinking about 2019, and that means preparations are well underway for January's main event - Demonbracket. Ironically, after mocking people for changing footy's rules to engineer spectacle I'm proposing to do that with my own competition. Despite record voting numbers in 2018 this year's event felt as flat as a tack, and I've decided the original 2012 format of the tournament needed an overhaul.

Some of the more radical ideas considered:

  • Elimination of preliminary rounds, with everyone but the highest speeds starts from Round 1
  • An FA Cup style knockout where the draw is redone from scratch at every round and there are no seeds
  • World Cup style groups and round robin matches
My suggestion is a slightly more convoluted variant on the old system, with a few major changes:
  • Seedings 3-8 no longer based on best and fairest placings (reigning champion to be seeded #1 and Best and Fairest #2), but by a learned committee of long-time Bracket voters.
  • Top eight seeds automatically through to the Round of 16, with the rest of the list playing to be their opposition
  • The top 12 in MFC games played still get a bye past the preliminary rounds, but there will also be two wildcard spots on offer as decided by the committee (intended but not limited to players traded in or high draft picks) 
  • The draw will be set through the first two rounds, then there will be a new draw for the Round 3 matches between the eight 'finalists' and the seeds.
Using the 2018 field, here's an example of how it might have looked:

Preliminary Round (the last 12 qualifiers - new draftees plus least MFC games played)
3x four way games - one day

Oskar Baker d. Harrison Petty, Charlie Spargo and Joel Smith
Lachlan Filipovic d. Declan Keilty, Dion Johnstone and Pat McKenna
Mitch King d. Corey Maynard, Harley Balic and Bayley Fritsch

Round 1 (R1 winners + next 10 qualifiers)
3x three way games + 1x four way game - one day

Billy Stretch d. Oskar Baker and Sam Frost
Lachlan Filipovic d. Alex Neal-Bullen and Mitch King 
Jay Kennedy-Harris d. Aaron vandenBerg and Tomas Bugg 
Josh Wagner d. Mitch Hannan, Sam Weideman and Tim Smith

Round 2 (the 4 R1 winners + top 12 qualifiers and two wildcards)
7x one-on-ones, 1x three way game - two days

Tom McDonald d. Billy Stretch
Bernie Vince d. Lachlan Filipovic
Jay Kennedy-Harris d. Dom Tyson
Josh Wagner d. Jake Melksham
Cameron Pedersen d. Jake Lever
Jeff Garlett d. Dean Kent
Jesse Hogan d. Christian Salem and James Harmes
Jayden Hunt d. Oscar McDonald and Angus Brayshaw

Round 3 (8 seeds + 8 qualifiers from Round 3)
And you know how it goes from here - two days for Round 3, two days for the quarter finals, one day for the semi and the final

1. Max Gawn vs Tom McDonald
8. Christian Petracca vs Bernie Vince
7. Michael Hibberd vs Jay Kennedy-Harris
4. Nathan Jones vs Josh Wagner
5. Jordan Lewis vs Cameron Pedersen
6. Neville Jetta vs Jeff Garlett
3. Jack Viney vs Jesse Hogan
2. Clayton Oliver vs Jayden Hunt

Pros:
  • More competitive matches early, instead of rookies being pulverised in the first round.
  • Ensures blockbuster clashes for all the seeds
  • Compacts the tournament into a perfect 10 day, two business week format.
Cons:
  • Still ends with Round 2 being split over a weekend
  • I'm still not comfortable with multiple player games, it feels like cheating
  • Lack of star power in the early stages
Your thoughts are welcome via the usual channels, I'm also open to any counter-proposals on how to either improve the above or consider something entirely new. Your thoughts welcomed until the end of August.

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