RIVERINA coaching legend Shane Lenon believes the 2020 season could prove the perfect opportunity to experiment with a new finals format.
The nine-time premiership mentor believes both the Riverina and Farrer League competitions could look at a final eight system this year in a bid to compensate for a shorter season.
Lenon, who is in his fourth season as coach of Farrer League club Marrar, believes the McIntyre System previously used by the AFL should be considered if the 2020 season goes ahead.
"I'd go a top eight and have a finals series with eight sides in it. That's the way I'd go," Lenon said.
"With the competition I think you'd be looking at an October finish. You're going to struggle to play in November and December. You can play in October though.
"The finals would still only be four weeks but it's an opportunity to do something a little bit different.
"Because you're only playing eight games instead of 16, it gives an extra three teams a taste of finals and they're going to get at least one extra game.
"It's an opportunity to do something different."
Under the McIntyre System, the top four teams play the bottom four ranked teams in the opening week of finals.
First plays eighth, second takes on seventh, third meets sixth and fourth and fifth go head-to-head.
The two highest ranked winners qualify straight through to preliminary finals, while the two lowest ranked losers are eliminated.
"Each week you drop two out until you get to your grand final," Lenon explained.
"The higher up the ladder you finish, you play a lower ranked side so that's where you get the advantage.
"If grounds come into it as well, you can be given home ground advantage if that's what they need to do with ground availability and stuff. That's just my thoughts."
Lenon believes it is imperative that officials try to get the 2020 season off the ground, if given the chance by the relaxing of government restrictions, in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"If these restrictions are lifted, it's really important," he said.
"Especially, it's not just about the footballers either it's about the communities and getting everyone together. It's a social outing, it's going to help people get back on track. It's all positive.
"If we can have a season, it's a must that we make it happen, that's my opinion."
Lenon agrees with fellow Riverina and Farrer coaches that a minimum of one round of games is needed to constitute a season.
"I think one round. That's fair for everyone, you play everyone once, you get four home games, four away games," he said.
"I'd be all for looking at the finals series."
After taking Marrar to back-to-back Farrer League premierships at his first two seasons at the club, Lenon will be looking to return the Bombers to the top after last year's preliminary final exit.
Marrar had a relatively quiet off-season outside of the big signing of James Lawton and were well beaten in their one trial against Ganmain-Grong Grong-Matong.