Monday, 6 November 2017

27. THIRTY SEVEN

Who would have though that in consecutive seasons that we would have had two underdog tales, of different foundation, get up to triumph.

Last year it was the sixty two year long drought breakers from the Western Bulldogs. And this year, the thirty seven year long drought breakers from Richmond.

Thirty seven years is almost two generations. It is a long time between premierships for one of the bigger AFL clubs, and for the approximately 70,000 members.



The FMI system again didn't tip the winner for this seasons grand final, much like last year. It rarely gets an underdog upsetting apple carts.
Also of note, it assumes the grand final to be the special game that it is. A one off, do-or-die-trying game where players rise above and beyond. Sufficient enough to neutralise any home ground advantage. Various schools of thought thing that is a 'wrong thinking' approach, but it is standard FMI practise for all grand finals.
If a HGA was applied, then the FMI system would have tipped the narrowest of margins in Richmond's favour. Purely hypothetically, of course.

HOME AWAYVENUEPREDICTIONRESULTRANKING PT CHANGES
AdelaidevRichmondMCGAdelby12pts60Richby48ptsAdel-19Rich44

Overall on the tipping front, the season score was 133 correct tips at a meagre 64.4%.
On the accuracy of margin front, the MAE finished at 30.4, which is a nice number.
Finally, on the Monash scoring system, a total of 1700 was the result. Which is interesting as it meant a fifth place ranking. Yet during the season the FMI score was struggling to place top 10.


Over the duration of the finals, the Tigers scaled not just amazing heights on the field, but accumulated a +119 rating point rise in FMI rankings, and moved from 6th to 3rd.
And overall through the finals, Adelaide regained and the lost top ranking position from Sydney.


AFTER GFptstable
1Sydney/SMFC136641
2Adelaide1360-4-1
3Richmond13041193
4GWS123150
5Port Adelaide1221-8-2
6Geelong1212-10-1
7West Coast1154-60
8Collingwood10940
9W Bulldogs/FFC10890
10Hawthorn10890
11Melbourne10710
12Essendon1057-80
13St Kilda10540
14North Melbourne9370
15Carlton9050
16Fremantle8560
17Brisbane Lions7660
18Gold Coast7600


There has also been plenty said about how Richmond were also the underdogs and 'coming from 13th' to win the flag. The '13th' part is in a way true, but it ignores the three years before where Richmond finished top 8 each year. This was a decent team on the rebound after an aberration season.

That said, as posted before and updated below, Richmond did hit form at the right time of the season. In their three finals matches, they needed to defeat the second best team of the year, followed by the fourth best team, and then ultimately the minor premier. In winning everything, they performed well above expected levels. The table below shows how high over expectation, and is based on a near 50/50 split in performance level (i.e. one team improved and the other underperformed at similar rates).


QUALIFYING FINALPRELIMINARY FINALGRAND FINAL
Expected ResultGeelong by 4Expected ResultRichmond by 11Expected ResultAdelaide by 12
Actual ResultRichmond by 51Actual ResultRichmond by 36Actual ResultRichmond by 48
Performance Rate to achieve result
Geelong-21.3%
Performance Rate to achieve result
Richmond14.5%
Performance Rate to achieve result
Adelaide-20.8%
Richmond22.0%GWS-14.3%Richmond22.9%

To perform as they did, the Tigers in-game ratings were well over the best ranked team at any time this season.


Ultimately, they played and defeated three of the best 4 teams by ladder position. They did miss playing one of the top 2 FMI-ranked teams though. Another that was also hitting peak at the right time of year.



But at the end of it all, you can only defeat who is in front of you. A well deserved premiership.


Wednesday, 27 September 2017

27. CONTRASTS - THE 2017 GRAND FINAL

This time last year as the teams prepared for their final game of the season, the options were
- Inside vs outside the old 'Melbourne footy' world.
- A team on a fairytale run up against the Stalwarts of September.
- Battlers from the West against the 'Bondi Millionaires'.

In the end, the dream survived and after 62 years, the Bulldogs had their second flag and most of the footy world loved it.


This year, we have similar threads, but different tales as well.
Its still 'old VFL' against the out of towners, and you could also make a case that is is also the battlers against a different 'Chardonnay set'.

But this year there are two teams looking to break Premiership droughts. 20 years for Adelaide and 37 years for Richmond.
The 'Stalwarts of September' have been banished.


Both teams have strong claims staked out.
And these claims are backed up by the data. On the FMI system, Adelaide have been the best team since the end of Round 1, only being headed by Sydney pre-season, and again for only the period between the first week and second week of finals.

And for Richmond, its been a season where they have dredged themselves out of the mid tier of teams to join the best. The chart below shows that rise, against the even-handedness of Adelaide.


Comparing this pair against 2016's finalists, we see a similar evenhanded year when comparing Sydney and Adelaide. The Swans did turn on a late season charge last year though that is not replicated by Adelaide.
That said, Adelaide were also the best ranked team in 2016 most of the year too, with Sydney only claiming top spot because of the burst.

The Bulldogs chart is interesting, particularly in that last 5 or 6 games. They were tapering off at the end of the season, yet the blue line ramps up dramatically when they found their rhythm in September.


Now scroll back up the post and re-look at Richmond's chart. That yellow line has climbed steeply over the last 4 or 5 games.

Are we looking at another team with all the momentum their way, heading into a drought-breaking Grand Final?
There has been a few in the mainstream media commenting on similar game styles between the Bulldogs of 2016 and the Tigers of 2017. Pressure acts, numbers around the ball, small wins at the coalface, prepared to halve a contest to maintain territory. And more.

If 2016 was any gauge, this year's Grand Final will be another mighty game.
The FMI system backs that up.


TIP FOR FINALS- 2017 GRAND FINAL
HOME AWAYVENUEPREDICTION
AdelaidevRichmondMCGAdelby12pts60


Over at the Squiggle site, other 'maths' footy bloggers tips are being accumulated, as they have been all year.
And the results are as interesting as they are varied.
Max has also written up a great blog post examining the two teams and reaching back for similarities in seasons past.
For what its worth, and in keeping with the theme earlier in the post, under the Squiggle analysis, Adelaide are a 'Hawthorn 2008'-like chance at winning this thing, while Richmond are (surprise surprise) very reminiscent of the 2016 Western Bulldogs.
Screen Capture of 2017 Squiggle chart for Adelaide and Richmond - Courtesy of www.squiggle.com.au

Two different teams with different backgrounds.
Two different playing styles.
The best attacking team against the best defensive team.


For all the contrasts, there is commonality.
For both teams, the dream is there.
Dreams of their own making, and from their fans. Dreams that Premiership droughts are destined to be broken.

Wishes, fears, expectation and hope.
Footy.
Creating a new set of heroes.


Good luck to all involved.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

26. FIFTY FIFTY

This time last year, we had GWS or the Western Bulldogs to enter a Grand Final for the first time (ever or for 55 years)
Today we have


And there is also Adelaide who are without a Grand Final since 1998, and of course 'long suffering' Geelong.


The Wash-Up:

Once again 50% last weekend to match the 50% from the week before. And almost a pair of blow-outs. Geelong just not going hard enough.

HOME AWAYVENUEPREDICTIONRESULTRANKING PT CHANGES
GWSvWest CoastSydSGWSby18pts64GWSby67ptsGWS18West-18
GeelongvSydney/SMFCMCGSydnby7pts45Geelby59ptsGeel21Sydn-20



The below is the table only for the active teams. GWS move back to 3rd place.

AFTER ROUNDSFptstable
1Adelaide136730
2Sydney/SMFC136640
3GWS1240141
4Richmond1226402
5Geelong122420
6Port Adelaide1221-8-3
7West Coast1154-60





The Week Ahead:

Like most pundits, the FMI numbers lean to the home teams.

HOME AWAYVENUEPREDICTION
AdelaidevGeelongAdelAdelby28pts71
RichmondvGWSMCGRichby11pts59

Both the above have the HGA advantage employed, and in the Saturday game, it maybe the difference.


The two remaining weeks and three games...


SEPTEMBER RUNS
EF / QFSEMISPRELIMGRAND FPREMIER
Adelaide1001009545
Geelong10010010051
Richmond1001009154
GWS10010010091
Port Adelaide100
Sydney/SMFC100100
Essendon100
West Coast100100
Units above are % chance of playing each week of finals

Geelong and GWS are likely to miss the grand final, and then it is not much more than a coin toss for Premier.

Or not!