The 2018 SEABL playoff season will have a new look this year with a new finals structure.
Introduced by the league, under approval by all the SEABL clubs at the end of the 2017 season with the aim of lifting the overall standard of competition across both the regular season and finals, the previous “conference” system has been scraped with a “top eight” structure taking its place.
Following the more traditionally North American playoff style, previous season has seen the league split into two conferences, south and east, playing over the course of a three round finals series.
The winner of each conference would then play off in a single grand final game for the overall championship.
“The changes to the finals system should see the two best teams in the competition fight for the title.” GM of Competitions Paul Maley said. “We haven’t had this opportunity in the past and it’s a great step forward for the league.”
As of this season, the SEABL finals series will now follow a similar structure of the Australian Football League.
Now in a single group, qualifying, elimination, semi, preliminary and grand finals will take place over four rounds.
This series will see teams face opponents that they could previously not face in finals, opening the possibilities for an unexpected championship winner.
“Teams that probably could have made it (into the finals) in different conferences last year now have to battle it out.” Said Ballarat Miner Peter Hooley.
Round one of the finals, the top four playing in qualifying finals, positions 5th through 8th playing in elimination finals, will begin on July 27th.