Earlier this year
COVID and NBL fixture issues
Wanted to repost this, since it's worth it's own thread.
United finished 7 games clear of everyone bar Perth
If they play Perth in the GF, ironically Perth will have the home advantage despite finishing lower
So it's absolutely absurd to suggest this season's fixture resulted in United getting any unfair advantage over any team at the end of the day in terms of having success this season.
Ironically they finished 1st but for fixture purposes are really equal 3rd, as Hawks and Perth both get home advantage over them in playoffs. So United have been DISADVANTAGED by covid issues more than anyone else because they're the only team who isn't allowed to play home playoff games they rightfully earned. Or would've earned, given the 7 game advantage.
The travel factor in terms of hours flown is the only other difference but it's not a huge issue imo. And the "in their own bed" thing, well based on the small sample size of the 2020 AFL and NRL seasons, sleeping in a different bed is an advantage!
Interestingly SEM has crept into playoffs, so they have had an infinitely greater advantage than United by their home and away fixture, as its perfectly reasonable to argue it was the difference that got them into the playoffs. Whereas it made zero difference to United's end result as established above.