Here is the first of our Around the Grounds feature stories – To Neutrality.

It covers two questions – Where are Grand Finals played? and Where should they be played?

For those who wish to check the data used in this story, the complete set can be found here.

TRANSCRIPT

Grand Finals – the premiership deciders.

Where are they played? Where should they be played?

Ok the answer to the first question.

That depends on the league.

In the AFL and NRL the same venue is used every year – the AFL at the MCG, and the NRL the SCG or the Sydney Football Stadium.

Super Rugby uses a higher ranked team approach when deciding where to play its premiership decider.

Here on the Coast the answer is similarly varied.

Aussie rules plays their Grand Final at a venue determined earlier in the season.

Rugby League holds its Grand Final at the Stadium.

But that’s not the only time of the year teams meet at a neutral venue.

Take the Coolum Colts for example – a club that, last season, fielded as side in Division 2A.

We play Caloundra again next week unfortunatly, at Gympie. So it’s a bit of a drive, espesially for those guys.

Russell Bebbinton, Coolum Colts coach, after a 2019 regular season game.

Rugby Union meanwhile shifted their Grand Final away from the Stadium after the 2014 season.

In 2019 the venue, Noosa, was determined by a club championship.

This proved unpopular.

If played, the 2020 decider will be played at the home of the club who wins he A grade major semi.

This brings us to question two – where should they be played?

We put this question to our audience and here is what they said.

[Poll results wrap]

We ran this poll using instant runoff voting – the same voting method used at elections in Australia.

Under this method – and data set – having the Grand Final at the home of the A grade major semi winner is the most preferred option.

Counting the same ballots under the condorcet method – a series of two candidate preferred counts – we get the same result.

It is interesting to note that under first past the post “a neutral venue” would be the winner, and while the club championship has its supporters, it doesn’t have much support past that.

One thing we perhaps didn’t consider when putting this poll together was how these events are scheduled.

Cricket for example schedules ther finals series for two rounds – semi finals and a grand final – with the Division 1 Grand Final being played at Kerry Emery – essentially a neutral venue., with the lower divisions plus the women being played at the home of who ever finishes higher on the ladder.

Having the minor premier host – per this comment from Caboolture Sports Cricket – could be the way to go.

It could be argued however the Grand Final in cricket could be scaled back from three days to a two dayer, and an extra round of finals being added.

How ever a league decides its grand final venue, it’ll need to keep its stakeholders happy.

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