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A-Leagues mull NSW grand final call, Magic Round mooted

Central Coast Mariners players celebrate a goal during last year's A-League Grand Final. Picture: Dean Lewins.

The A-League could reverse its controversial decision to sell grand final hosting rights to NSW and replace it with a Magic Round-style event.

The move to sell grand final hosting rights proved wildly unpopular with fans when it was announced late last year.

The Australian Professional Leagues (APL), who run the A-League competitions, pocketed $20 million from the state tourism arm Destination NSW in exchange for a three-year deal to host the grand final.

Many supporters staged protests against the decision, which overrode the tradition that the league's highest-placed team to reach the grand final was rewarded with hosting rights.

Despite the anger over the initial decision, the first year of the arrangement was viewed as a success. 

A record crowd of 9519 attended the A-League Women final, while Central Coast's 6-1 A-League Men triumph over Melbourne City pulled a crowd of more than 26,000 to CommBank Stadium.

Despite the positive signs from the first year, it is understood Destination NSW have approached the APL to discuss a shake-up to the deal.

One of the alternatives AAP understands is being considered is football's version of Magic Round.

The NRL adopted the concept, which originated in England's Super League in 2007, four years ago and similar festivals - where an entire round is played at one venue over the course of a weekend - have been adopted in AFL and Super Rugby.

NSW would play host to the proposed event, while the grand final would revert to being hosted by the league's highest-finishing club to qualify for the decider.

The APL declined to comment when contacted by AAP, while Destination NSW have also been approached.


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