The actual SSFA draw is only released a limited period of time in advance due to the following:
– In the early part of the season it is not possible to release too many draws as Regrading of competition teams is considered after 4 rounds are played. Hence a published draw beyond four rounds would be incorrect,
– In fact, it is not possible to release draws past Round 4 until those rounds are played and the teams that have been regraded are manually moved to their new grade in the system.
– Washed Out matches/ weekends cause the draw to have to be reshuffled (potentially week on week) – as the rules state that the first 9 rounds have to be played wherever possible,
– State Cup catch up matches again cause the need for the draw to be regularly changed (as it impacts all fields),
– Fields are regularly called out of play during the season due to excessive wear and tear, safety issues, wet weather, maintenance etc. requiring shuffling of grounds (including games and times)
– Clubs, at their request, are provided an option to alter their ground allocations after Round 9 (which again requires a change to the static data in the system),
– Regrading of Mini Roos teams occurs up to and including Round 9. In fact, these regrades all need to be manually entered into the draw system and have a huge impact on field usage (and therefore the draw).
– The SSFA play ‘home and away’. Note that each club has a differing number of teams and differing space to play home games, unlike sports such as netball where games are played in one central location. This causes a significant amount of variation and requires ‘load balancing’ of each field week on week.
– Due to the above items (not to be considered an exhaustive list), compounded by the number of fields that we have to play on in Sutherland, the draw for each week requires at least 1.5 to 2 days’ worth of manual alterations to fit all of the games on to a field, and
– Even in this day and age of technology we have not been able to source a system that can accommodate the requirement to efficiently and seamlessly fit 1530+ teams on 61 fields each weekend.
A draft theoretical draw however is published on the SSFA website (under the documents tab) and released to the Clubs at the beginning of the season. This theoretical draw does not include game times or locations but otherwise is valid (and is updated once all regrading of teams is completed).
Other regions generally have as many fields (if not significantly more) available for their use as the SSFA, however their player numbers would be at best one half or even two thirds of those playing in Sutherland. The logistics of managing the player to field ratio that we have makes it a very time consuming and difficult task. We actually attempt to have the draw released ASAP as we also have families that play each weekend and would also like to see the draw published in advance.
That is, if we could release the draw earlier we would. In fact, the SSFA have reviewed at least seven (7) alternative draw systems in the last six years – however most of the vendors ‘run away very fast’ as they cannot accommodate the complexity of the number of teams, the limited fields, the home and away model, etc.
At this stage participants know that they will be playing on a specific day – generally at a known approximate time when playing at home almost every second week – and the Theoretical draw is also readily available. But it is not possible to provide any more certainty than that.