Richmond great Matthew Richardson believes the AFL could be forced to review the contentious bye week after the top two seeded teams failed to reach the 2020 Grand Final.

Richmond and Geelong will square off in Saturday’s big dance, with the teams finishing third and fourth on the ladder at the end of the home and away season, with the two teams losing the qualifying final.

It means the two sides will play four finals matches, a historic feat after a number of strong victories.

Catch Fox Footy’s Grand Final Week coverage on Kayo. Stream all the latest news and insight right up until first bounce plus half-time and full-time analysis from the Fox Footy commentary team. New to Kayo? Get your 14-day free trial & start streaming instantly >

Preliminary Final
Lions press conference

Lions press conference


And while many AFL experts suggested Richmond and Geelong were the two teams to beat heading into finals, there are concerns the pre-finals bye might’ve stopped the momentum of Brisbane and Port Adelaide.

“I would be surprised if it happens again next year because I don’t think it benefits the teams that win in that first week,” Richardson said on Channel 7.

“You have worked so hard in that year to get the double chance. You win, go through to a prelim and you only play one game in a month. It is clear tonight the two teams that are supposed to get the benefit in Brisbane and Port Adelaide didn’t really get that.”

The rule was brought in before the start of the 2016 finals series to stop clubs resting a mass group of players in the last home and away match.

It came about after Fremantle and North Melbourne combined for 20 players being rested in the last game of the 2015 season.

Get all the latest AFL news, highlights and analysis delivered straight to your inbox with Fox Sports Sportmail. Sign up now!

Brisbane and Port Adelaide failed to make the Grand Final. Photo: Jono Searle/AFL Photos/via Getty Images.
Brisbane and Port Adelaide failed to make the Grand Final. Photo: Jono Searle/AFL Photos/via Getty Images.Source: Getty Images

It also occurred in the NRL this season where the Melbourne Storm rested more than half of their side for the last regular season game.

Since the rule has come in, a number of sides have fallen after finishing at the pointy end of the ladder.

Asked if he read anything into the two qualifying final winners both then losing preliminary finals, Brisbane coach Chris Fagan told reporters post-game: “It’s actually a good question and it’s really hard to say.

“That thought went through my mind because we’ve only played 17 games this year and because they’re reduced time, it’s probably only the equivalent of playing 12 or 13 games coming into the finals series.

Fiesty Cats farewell Lions

Fiesty Cats farewell Lions


“We’ve seen preliminary finals in past years where the team that won the first week and had the rest would overrun teams late.

“Maybe that has an effect. It’s not an excuse for us losing, we were comprehensively beaten. But I’m not sure it was an advantage to lose that first week – but we’ll take the win, we wanted to win a final and get that invaluable experience.

“It’s an interesting question. Maybe a scientist could answer it better than I, but I wondered about that.”

Overseas? Stream the 2020 Toyota AFL Finals Series from outside Australia on WatchAFL. Every match including the Grand Final Live & On-Demand. Grab your Finals Pass to start streaming >

Liked it? Take a second to support CrowCast on Patreon!