Group Nine to play three-week final series and 16 round draw in 2018

The Group Nine grand final will be played on September 1 after a shift to the three week finals series.
The Group Nine grand final will be played on September 1 after a shift to the three week finals series.

Group Nine have shortened their finals series to three weeks with the introduction of a top four.

In a change from tradition the final five format has been left behind after a 16 round draw was locked for 2018.

Now the minor premiers with play the second placed team in the first week of the finals with the winner to progress to the grand final.

The loser plays the winner clash between third and fourth for the right to play in the grand final.

Group Nine president Jack Morton said wishing to avoid another clash with the junior league grand finals was one of the reasons for the change.

“We are looking at a top four as we don’t want to clash with the junior grand finals,” Morton said.

“It will be over the three weeks instead of the four.”

While 16 rounds were given the green light on Thursday night with two club byes being lost with 10 teams a split round has been introduced.

In round 13 three games will be play over one weekend with the other two the next weekend.

Morton said it would act as a bye leading into the semis.

The Junee long weekend will remain a general bye as well.

Taking into account all the changes the Group Nine season will now start on April 14 with the grand final to be played on September 1.

Morton is happy with the 16 games, the same number played when Tumbarumba was in the competition.

“It is no different to the last 10 years,” he said.

“We had an 18 round competition but they only ever played 16 games.”

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