AFL fans divided over plans for NRL-style 'Magic Round'

·4-min read
Pictured here, AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan speaks to reporters at a press conference.
AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan says the league is looking at the possibility of staging a 'Magic Round' in 2023. Pic: Getty

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan has revealed on Tuesday that league chiefs are weighing up the idea of an NRL-style 'Magic Round' for 2023.

McLachlan says "multiple states" are vying to host an entire round of games in 2023, similar to that seen in Brisbane for the NRL.

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The NRL's Magic Round - where all eight games are played at Suncorp Stadium over three days - has been immensely popular with fans and players.

McLachlan says the AFL's plan would be based on the rugby league version, with discussions ongoing about whether to stage all nine matches on the same weekend in one city as early as April.

The idea - if implemented - would see the AFL season increase from 23 rounds to 24, with one bye for each team.

Every club will still host 11 home matches.

Queensland, South Australia, NSW and Western Australia would all loom as viable options for the super round of matches.

McLachlan said clubs are open to scrapping official pre-season matches in favour of an extra round.

"This year they had one proper hit-out in venues and they just played it like a home-and-away game, belted into each other," McLachlan told SEN.

"People got suspended, people got injured, so we had CEOs and presidents on the back of that saying, 'If you're going to do it like that, why don't you play it as a home-and-away game?'.

"The (AFL executive) team have gone off and explored all of that and now we've got multiple states interested in doing it.

"We've got to the point where we've got three states saying, 'We'll do it, we'd love to have all nine games in this market'.

"We've briefed the clubs where we're at and what it would mean from a marketing, financial and logistical sense."

Seen here, AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan looks on during a media event about broadcast rights.
AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan says multiple states are interested in hosting a 'Magic Round' in 2023. Pic: Getty

AFL 'Magic Round' draws mixed response from fans

The NRL has staged its Magic Round at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium since 2019, although the event did not go ahead in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

McLachlan believes it would make sense to run the AFL's own version of Magic Round in the school holidays, after the first few rounds of the season.

"Maybe round five-ish, the second half of April when it's school holidays nationally," he said.

The AFL's 'Magic Round' proposal has sparked plenty of debate between fans on social media, with the notion of where it's hosted and how it would work being two of the key issues for supporters.

with AAP

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