McIntyre System

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The McIntyre System, or systems as there have been five of them, is a playoff system that gives an advantage to teams or competitors qualifying higher. The systems were developed by Ken McIntyre, an Australian lawyer, historian and English lecturer, for the Victorian Football League in 1931.

Contents

In the VFL/AFL

The first McIntyre System, the Page–McIntyre system, also known as the McIntyre Final Four System, was adopted by the VFL in 1931, [1] after using three systems since its foundation in 1897, the major system and predecessor to the Page–McIntyre system being the "amended Argus system" that had operated from 1907 to 1923 and 1925 to 1930.

McIntyre also devised the McIntyre Final Five System for the VFL for 1972, the McIntyre Final Six System for 1991 (which was revised for 1992) and the McIntyre Final Eight System for the 1994 season.

The AFL and its fans grew dissatisfied with some of the outcomes the McIntyre Final Eight system might allow, and replaced it with another final eight system in 2000.

Other competitions

McIntyre finals systems are used prominently throughout Australia. Most Australian rules football leagues, from professional down to suburban, use a McIntyre finals system. The New South Wales Rugby League/National Rugby League has used the McIntyre Final Four and Final Five at different times throughout its history, and used the McIntyre Final Eight System from 1999 until 2011. The Page–McIntyre system is also used in the ANZ Championships (netball), the Australian Baseball League and Women's National Basketball League. It was also used in the A-League (soccer) before that competition expanded its finals series to a top-six format. It is also used in the Indian Premier League (cricket).

Under the name Page playoff system, the McIntyre Final Four is commonly used in softball and curling events, especially in Canada. The system was also used in the Rugby League National League Three in Great Britain for the 2004 season.

In the United States, it was used in a trial run for the 2021 NBA playoffs as a 'play-in tournament' to determine the seventh and eighth seeds for the main playoff tournament, with seeds 7 and 8 playing, then seeds 9 and 10, with the winner of the 7/8 game being the seventh seed, and the loser of the 7/8 game and winner of the 9/10 game competing for the eighth seed.

The systems

Page–McIntyre system

RoundMatchNameTeam 1Team 2
1A1st Semi Final [2] Rank 3vRank 4
B2nd Semi Final [2] Rank 1vRank 2
2CPreliminary FinalLoser BvWinner A
3DGrand FinalWinner BvWinner C

The Page–McIntyre system features four teams. In the first round of the Page–McIntyre system, the highest two ranked teams play each other, with the winner going straight through to the grand final and the loser going through to the preliminary final. The lowest two ranked teams play each other, and the winner advances to the preliminary final. The winner of preliminary final gets through to the grand final. In this system, the top two teams are able to lose a match and still qualify for the Grand Final, this is referred to as a 'double chance'.

Assuming that each team has an even chance of winning each match, the probability for both the highest ranked teams winning the competition is 37.5%, compared to 12.5% for the third and fourth placed teams.

McIntyre final five system

RoundMatchNameTeam 1Team 2
1AElimination FinalRank 4vRank 5
BQualifying FinalRank 2vRank 3
2C1st Semi FinalLoser BvWinner A
D2nd Semi FinalRank 1vWinner B
3EPreliminary FinalLoser DvWinner C
4FGrand FinalWinner DvWinner E

As its name states, the McIntyre final five system features five teams. From the second round the McIntyre final five system is the same as the Page–McIntyre system, however, in the first round the lowest two ranked teams play to eliminate one team and the second and third ranked teams determine which match they will play in the second round. The highest ranked team has a bye in the first round.

In this case, if all teams have an even chance of winning each match, the highest ranked team has a 37.5% chance, ranks two and three have a 25% chance and the lowest two ranked teams have a 6.25% chance of winning the competition.

First McIntyre final six system

RoundMatchNameTeam 1Team 2
1A1st Elimination FinalRank 5vRank 6
B2nd Elimination FinalRank 3vRank 4
CQualifying FinalRank 1vRank 2
2D1st Semi FinalLoser CvWinner A
E2nd Semi FinalWinner CvWinner B
3FPreliminary FinalLoser EvWinner D
4GGrand FinalWinner EvWinner F

The first McIntyre final six system was also the same as the Page–McIntyre system from the second round. In this case, two of the four lowest ranked teams are eliminated in the first round, while the top two determine which match they will play in the second round. Under this system the top two teams receive a double chance, as does the winner of match B.

Second McIntyre final six system

RoundMatchNameTeam 1Team 2
1A1st Elimination FinalRank 4vRank 5
B2nd Elimination FinalRank 3vRank 6
CQualifying FinalRank 1vRank 2
2D1st Semi FinalLoser CvLower ranked winner from A, B
E2nd Semi FinalWinner CvHigher ranked winner from A, B
3FPreliminary FinalLoser EvWinner D
4GGrand FinalWinner EvWinner F

This adaptation of the first McIntyre System corrected for the anomaly that, in the first week, the team who finished 4th would have a more difficult opponent than the team who finished 5th, and was hence more likely to be eliminated, despite finishing higher. This was achieved by adding flexibility to the second round draw, so that the two elimination final winners were re-ranked to determine which played the winner of the qualifying final and which played the loser.

However, both McIntyre final six systems had another weakness: the loser of the Qualifying Final (which is the most difficult game of the first round), ended up facing elimination in the First-Semi Final, while the higher-ranked Elimination Final winner (who has had the easiest game of the first round) has a double chance in the Second-Semi Final.

McIntyre final eight system

RoundMatchNameTeam 1Team 2
1A1st Qualifying FinalRank 4vRank 5
B2nd Qualifying FinalRank 3vRank 6
C3rd Qualifying FinalRank 2vRank 7
D4th Qualifying FinalRank 1vRank 8
2E2nd Semi Final4th highest ranked winner from A, B, C, Dv2nd highest ranked loser from A, B, C, D
F1st Semi Final3rd highest ranked winner from A, B, C, Dv1st highest ranked loser from A, B, C, D
3G2nd Preliminary Final2nd highest ranked winner from A, B, C, DvWinner F
H1st Preliminary Final1st highest ranked winner from A, B, C, DvWinner E
4IGrand FinalWinner GvWinner H

The McIntyre final eight bears little in common with the other McIntyre Systems. At no stage does it follow the Page–McIntyre structure, and at no stage after the first week does any team retain a double chance. The system allows for 26 of the 28 combinations of the eight finalists to feature in the Grand Final (the two combinations not possible are 1st v 7th and 2nd v 8th). It gives 18.75% to 1st and 2nd, 15.625% to 3rd, 12.5% to 4th and 5th, 9.375% to 6th and 6.25% to 7th and 8th.

See also

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References

  1. Finals System Successful: Originator Explains the Reasons, The Sporting Globe, Saturday, 10 October 1931, p.2.
  2. 1 2 Note that the terms "1st Semi Final" and "2nd Semi Final" specifically relate to the elimination and non-elimination semi-finals respectively, and they retain these names regardless of the chronological order that the games are played in. Many leagues which later adopted the Page–McIntyre system use the terms "Major Semi-Final" and "Minor Semi-Final" to more descriptively differentiate between the two games.