Finals 2016

Finals week 1, 2016 (all times are AET) First game THURSDAY 8 Sept

Tipping results for R23: Supertipping: 6 out of 9 (okay) for a total of 144 +4 bonus = 148 and ranking improved from 1,224 to 1,060  out of 44,537 tipsters (top 2%) 

Streak: 2/2 (with Crows & Saints both winning) so streak now up to 28 ; ranking improved from 369 to 277 (top 1%); a tricky week for the streak – with the Crows, Blues and Dogs all losing

GAUNTLET: eliminated; there is now a winner – well done to whoever it was

50/50: 0/1 (with the Dees getting totally belted – loser); now at 24/53 = a poor 45%; 

Early thoughts for week 1 of finals: the certs would appear to be, at this stage, the Eagles and Crows, but it is early days; plenty of time to decide; the other tips would be Swans and Cats, but both opponents are capable; of interest is the Hawks – if they hadn’t won 3 flags in a row, they would be significant outsiders in this game; but they have won 3 in a row; this still looks like the hardest of the 4 for them to win, though



Game Home Away Venue Tip Margin Variance  Outsider is
1 WCE WBD SUBI  WCE  32  HIGH  No hope
2 GEEL HAW MCG  GEEL  11  HIGH  A definite chance
3 SYD GWS ANZ STD  SYD  21  EXTREME  Some chance



The teams for the Eagles / Dogs game will be known Wed night, but the other three games will have teams announced just prior to game 1 kick-off; as such, previews will be given for games 2-4 prior to team announcement – just to assist those who need to tip early

Thursday, Sep 8
West Coast Eagles v Western Bulldogs at Subi
Wednesday showers should be gone by early Thursday (if that makes any sense)
The teams for this game will be known Wed night, but the other three games will have teams announced just prior to game 1 kick-off; with the eagles running short on big man stocks, Mitch Brown was rested from the WAFL last weekend and may come in to bolster the stocks; but the coach expects Lycett to play; watch for final team selections on Thursday night; Nelson missed the WAFL game and Redden played limited minutes.
The Dogs look a lot better than when they came to play Freo at the same venue 11 days earlier; the Eagles have a 13 day break; both may be too long, but the Eagles had a break in week 2 of the finals last year, so they may cope with the break better than the Dogs; the back to back trips west is of no great concern for the Dogs, however; they get 5 important players back; but 4 of them have missed several weeks of footy; Wood and Roughead were injured in R22, while Libba and Macrae went out way back in R19; Steven King said that Libba and Macrae need to get through a light run on game day to be given the green light (reading between the lines = likely to play); interestingly, the emergencies are 2 talls and a smallish player (Campbell, Roberts and McLean) – which gives a hint that the Dogs expect at least 1 of Libba and Macrae to be okay; but the presence of 2 talls casts some doubt on the other Dog talls; maybe Roughead may not be right; no info at all coming from the club this week on injuries; it’s hard to imagine all 5 (with Stringer returning from the VFL) performing well together; as such, the game should really be won by the Eagles; if Lycett can play up to his usual (& non-injured) capacity, then the Eagles look the goods; Eagles by 32 points and just certs (which may be rescinded if there are late out for the Eagles)
Post match review: Eagles were tipped by 32 points but the Dogs won by 47; analysis was dreadful and apologies for incorrectly tipping a cert which lost (but see notes on certs below); the worst thing of all the analysis was NOT labelling this as an EXTREME variance game; with doubts on Lycett and the 5 changes for the Dogs, it should have been a clear risk for a blow-out one way or the other;  it appears that the worst thing for the Eagles was that the Dogs lost to Freo a fortnight earlier; they watched the Dogs game and immediately started dreaming about playing Hawthorn (Grand Final replay) in week 2 of the finals (or maybe Geelong); but that takes credit away from the Dogs; they lost Jong early but never looked like losing after QT; Lycett now needs an op and came in under a slight injury cloud – then copped a knock early; coach Simpson said that they had momentum at times but could put the score on the board;



Friday, Sep 9
Geelong v Hawthorn at MCG
This looks like being a wet one – with 15-30mm expected;
Likely changes Geelong
IN: Scott Selwood (a late withdrawal R23)
OUT: not sure, maybe Kolodjashnij

Likely changes Hawthorn
IN: McEvoy (who was a late withdrawal R23), Stratton
OUT: Burton & Pittonet likely to be omitted

Langford has been ill and seems unlikely to return for the Hawks; they go into the finals series relatively healthy, but no so flash as other recent years (missing Roughy and Ceglar – with other talls maybe a shade underdone); everyone has been talking about Dangerfield coming on for the Cats.. and, to a lesser extent, Smith and S Selwood; but a huge recruit for Geelong this year has been Menzel.  Looking at the R1 game long ago (Cats won it by 30 points); the Cats are little changed – losing Henderson and gaining S Selwood; the Hawks gain Fitzpatrick (who only came in due to other injuries and no cert to play F1) and regain Hill + Shiels; and they lose Langford; this inexact science would suggest that the Cats would win by a bit less than the 5 goal margin early in the season.  The percentage differential is a curio; it is a whopping 25%, but the Cats had an easier fixture (notably 2 games vs the Bombers); having said that, they struggled against bottom 10 opposition – with losses to the Saints, Blues and Pies; those stats alone are enough to write off the Cats totally; but they form against top 8 sides was excellent; the Hawks had innumerable narrow wins and occasionally got soundly beaten (latest 25 points vs Eagles in the west and also 29 points by the Dees in R20); the pure numbers point to a Geelong win; they won’t be easily bluffed by the Hawks, but Hawthorn should be given a realistic chance because of their recent finals record; Cats by 11 points
Post match review: Cats were tipped by 11 points and they won by 2; analysis was fair; how unlucky can the Hawks get in these 1 kick games? CLUNK! someone just fell off a chair; the Hawks have lost the vast majority of their close matches with Geelong in recent times – and this was the third of them decided after in the siren which the Hawks lost. The Hawks were a bit unlucky here; they lost Sicily before the game (imagine lose an entire nation!) – replaced by Howe; then Burton was out of the game early; the Cats had Menegola and Stanley somewhat restricted later in the contest; as far as Hawthorn winning the close ones goes – they have relied on errors from opposition teams to get them into a winning position for many of the games; and they just play the percentage; this time a 9/10 shot for goal came unstuck; the tagging of Mitchell worked okay – he was good but not a match-winner; happy to tip a winner here in a weekend of upsets




Saturday, Sep 10
Sydney Swans v GWS Giants at ANZ Stadium
Likely changes Sydney
IN: Mills
OUT: Cunningham my drop out for Mills

Likely changes GWS
IN: none, but a few knocking the door down in the NEAFL
OUT: none
See Penny’s preview below; as she alludes to, the Giants have no finals experience as a team; they have several players who have played finals before – Shaw, Mumford and Johnson as examples.  But the Swans are a much more finals hardened team.  This should stand them in good stead; having said that, the Giants have finished off the year pretty well and don’t look to be out of petrol tickets (as may be expected for a young side); if they perform poorly, the “new finals team” would be a more likely explanation.  And, while the Giants have been building nicely for the finals, the Swans have not missed a beat.  This game will be marked as EXTREME variance – mainly due to the concern that the Giants could have played this game over in their heads; Swans by 21 points
Post match review: Swans were tipped by 21 points but the Giants won by 36; analysis was way off here and the wrong team was tipped; the two minor positives was that the variance was tipped as EXTREME and the Swans weren’t tipped as certs; however, the EXTREME variance call was more done in case the Giants couldn’t cope with the finals stage; they Swans were all over them early in the contest, but they settled quickly and always looked like winners late in the game; the Swans had, by far, the worst of the injuries – with Tippett, rising star Mills and Kennedy all restricted; Papley kicked the first 2 goals of the game and then had some knee issue; struggled for 2&3Q then okay in 4th; Ward for the Giants was their only injury concern



Saturday, Sep 10
Adelaide v North Melbourne at Adelaide
A possible shower in Adelaide but not much to be concerned about

Likely changes Adelaide
IN: Sloane (back from suspension); Smith, Seedsman (they were short on “S”s in R23), but Seedsman unlikely to be risked; other two certs to play
OUT: Ellis-Yolmen was good in R23, but may make room for Sloane; Brown and Cheney both need to pass fitness tests, according to the Crows’ website

Likely changes NMFC
IN: Thompson and Waite may come in
OUT: No news, but McMillan off early in R23 with a back injury; Higgins had a sore knee in his first game back; if Waite returns, either Daw or Petrie would make way

Jacobs and Wright pulled up sore in their recent returns from long term injuries and would be too underdone to be any reasonable chance to play; it appears that the week off was not enough to get all the best Roo players fit and firing; on the other side of the equation, the Crows get Sloane back as well as Smith only has to get through training to be okay; note the mention above about Brown (45 SC points in R23) and Cheney; even if both drop out, it is expected that the Crows will be able to account for the Roos, but watch for any late changes; the main hope for the Crows is they were flattened after their recent loss to the Eagles (this is the one danger); but it is more likely that they will come roaring back into contention with a better line-up compared to R23; what about the Roo players leaving at year’s end?  Will that be a positive for them or not?  It is expected that it will be neutral or negative; Crows by 37 points and certs
Post match review: Crows were tipped by 37 points and they won by 62; analysis was pretty good here – with the margin tip being slightly above most tipsters; Petrie was the only 1 of the retiring 4 who really struggled (may not have played had Waite been fit), but none of them really starred (Dal Santo got an equal game high 29 disposals, but only scored 71 DT points); a big problem for the Roos was that Brown couldn’t stand up (with Waite out and Petrie struggling) and ended with 0:0 in a season where he has regularly hit the scoreboard; in hindsight, the Roos never recovered from their mid-season injuries and probably had a couple ever so slightly underdone in this final.



Certs: Eagles XXXXX (wrong but “lucked out” as the yanks say) and Crows (best cert of the week – along with the Dogs, as it turned out)

(early confession in 1Q Eagles / Dogs game; the Crows were the only cert tipped on; so the sole cert will be the Crows – even though the Eagles were listed as certs) has a comp where you have to pick the winners all the way to the GF; this website tips all the higher placed teams to win through and for the Swans to beat the Cats in the Grand Final; that will be a popular option; the obvious easy other options would be to pick the Hawks to win week 1; then maybe the next one would be to tip the Giants to win week one; other options are to tip a team winning week 1 and getting 2 weeks rest in a month to lose in the prelim (using the above tips, Geelong or Swans to lose in week 3); have fun with it (way off in tips and other advice mixed – at least the Giants were a good roughie to suggest!)

50/50 (where the experts seem to have got it wrong): Not an easy week to do this, but favourites will be mainly tipped to excel, so Eagles by over 28 points (never a hope), Swans by over 18 points (never a hope) and Crows by over 35 points (all a bit risky)  (safe once the Crows gained a decisive break)


Technical Analysis prior to Week 1 of finals, 2016

By Penny Dredfell

Added 07 Sep 2016 

While fundamental analysis (used by most media tipsters) takes into account the ability of the two competing teams, the home ground advantage, injuries, team changes etc, technical analysis looks for trends and patterns which explain the otherwise inexplicable.

Reviewing last week: the analysis was patchy; I was wrong about the Suns; they held up pretty well; I expected Port to over-achieve, despite having a poor record the week after Showdowns; but the trend continued and the Suns gutzed it out after a horror tun of injuries during the season; maybe playing at home helped in this regard; I was correct on the Swans, but not bullish enough; they really smashed it in the first half against Richmond

This week will I will focus on two teams: the Giants and Hawks. The Giants play their first final series in their sixth season; and they get the double chance; a quick squiz at teams in similar positions paints a somewhat gloomy picture for GWS; Freo made their first finals series in their 9th year and finished 5th – got a home final against Essendon and lost by 44 points; the Eagles made finals in their 2nd year, but that is too short a period to be a reasonable comparison; going way back to 1925, the Roos, Hawks and Dogs entered the big league; they occupied the lower reaches of the ladder for many years; the Dogs and Roos both lost their first finals matches (Dogs 1938 & Roos on 1949); the Hawks waited until 1957 to play their first finals game (amazing) and won it;  in more recent times, the Tigers came from nowhere twice to make the top 4; in 1995, they were beaten by the Roos; then stormed home to beat Essendon the following week; in 2001, they were thrashed by Essendon in week 1 before beating Carlton in the second week; in 2004, the Saints had been out of the finals for 6 years and were slaughtered by the Lions in week 1 before sounding beating Sydney the next week; this all bodes poorly for the Giants first up against an experienced campaigner in Sydney; at least they don’t have to travel!  I expect the Swans to win this by over 5 goals!

The Hawks are very interesting; looking at the short list of teams to win 3 in a row:
Carlton 1906-08; lost the grand final in 1909 narrowly; 1909 percentage 146.8
Collingwood 1927-29; won the flag in 1930; 1930 percentage 144.3
Melbourne (yes, really) 1939-1941; missed finals in 1942 with a percentage of 85.2 (war may be to blame)
Melbourne 1955-1957; lost grand final 1958; 1958 percentage 123.7
Brisbane 2001-2003; lost grand final 2004; 2004 percentage 137.2 (controversially had to travel to Melbourne for the prelim)
Now we have Hawthorn ending 2016 with a percentage of 188.6
This indicates that it will be tough for them to win it in 2016; but the Hawks have been able to buck long-established trends before; as far as these teams winning their first finals games goes, the record is fairly good;
Blues 1909 big win
Pies 1930 narrow win
Dees 1958 huge win (over eventual premiers Collingwood)
Lions huge win
In most cases, these teams went into their first final as clear favourites (eg Lions in 2004 vs Saints who were a “first time for many years” finalist – see above)
In this case, the Hawks are outsiders.
The data is too scant to draw conclusions, so I won’t tip in this game; it’s no game for tipping a cert, but I would expect the Cats to get the job done if I had to pick


Finals week 2, 2016 (all times are AET) 

Tipping results for R23: Supertipping: finished for the year

Streak: 1/1 (with Crows winning) so streak now up to 29; began week with just Crows as certs, then added Eagles, but forgot to add to, so “lucked out big time”;  ranking improved from 277 to 219 (top 1%); a tricky week for the streak – with the Eagles and Swans losing

50/50: 1/3 (with the Eagles and Swans losing – losers; and the win was Crows winning by heaps); now at 25/56 = a poor 44%; 

Game Home Away Venue Tip Margin Variance  Outsider is
1 HAW WBD MCG  HAW  8  HIGH  A definite chance
2 SYD ADEL SCG  ADEL  2  EXTREME  Tipped to win


Friday, Sep 16; 7.50pm
Hawthorn vs Western Bulldogs at MCG
See Penny’s preview below;
The weather will clear for this and the ground should be in good nick – despite around 50mm of rain for the week;

Since the new finals system has begun, the losers of week 1 have had a great record in week 2. The winning teams from F1 often look much better than the F1 losers, but rarely get win.  There are several reasons for this.

The obvious one is that they are more lowly ranked. As an example, the winner of 6 vs 7 will play the loser of 2 vs 3; let’s say it is 6 vs 3; often 3 will have a home state advantage over 6 and also be a higher rated team (more wins and usually a higher percentage).  In this game, there is a 2 game differential but the percentage is similar and the games won would be equal had the Dogs kicked 1 more goal in the R3 Hawks game this year.  This gives the Dogs a good chance; and the trip back from Perth last week won’t be too much of an issue – given that there was a bye and then an 8 day break.

Daniel tagged Mitchell in their earlier meeting in the H&A rounds, so it will be interesting to see what happens here; the Dogs don’t often tag; if Daniel does the job again, he may get attention from the Hawk enforcers; Mitchell was given plenty of attention last weekend and there may be some small doubt about him being 100% right in this one – although it is just a hunch.

The query on the Dogs – according to Lethal and others – will be how the players go 2nd up from a long break (Libba and Macrae); this is a possible negative for the Dogs; but the extra day’s break may help.

Hawks by 8 points – without much confidence
Post match review: Hawks were tipped by 8 points but the Dogs won by 23; analysis was so-so; firstly, the wrong team was tipped & the variance should have been labelled EXTREME (with the Hawks going from abt 3 goals up to waaay down before staging a belated comeback); the concern for the Dogs was the form of Libba and Macrae second up; so worries there – with Macrae scoring 140 SC points and Libba 80; for the Hawks, Lewis was off injured late and only amassed 46 SC points & Mitchell scored just 86; those 4 SC scores virtually sum up the game; had we known that before game time, then the Dogs would’ve been the tip; the Bont also absolutely starred and the Dogs were able to hold their nerve after a shaky start; Dickson missed an early shot at goal which was easier than the one Smith missed a week earlier against Geelong.  The sole positive was that the Dogs were given a good chance to win.



Saturday, 17 Sept, 7.25pm
Sydney Swans vs Adelaide Crows at SCG

These teams were 1 &2 before the final round – then the Crows lost to the Eagles and ended up playing the Swans in F2 after the Giants won the local final in week 1; so the teams who would have appeared to be a good chance of being playing off in the GF will meet in a week 2 elimination match.

The Swans have ruck problems at present and will be missing both Tippett (injured last weekend) and Sinclair (NQR on his way back from injury); both may be okay for the prelim if they win this one.

The Crows have hit form – and having both Sloane and Smith back (didn’t play in R23 loss to the Eagles)

The 2 schools of thought about the Swans is that:
A: they are gone; and
B: they will bounce back doubly hard after the shock from the new kids on the block (and we aren’t sure exactly how much last week’s loss was due to the Giants playing well – but the Swans also had injuries on the day; it appears that Kennedy is okay for the Swans, but check for late changes; Papley was also sore last week and watch to see if he is fully fit)

The notion is that the Swans may, in fact, be gone; they have their best 2 ruck options from early season both out – although Naismith has been handy of late.

The Crows have been really good – bar for the blip against the Eagles in R23 which cost them a double chance.  They have the firepower to atone against a weakened Swans team; but there is a lot of uncertainty in this game – so it will be marked as EXTREME VARIANCE
Post match review: Crows were tipped by 2 points but the Swans won by 36; analysis was awful; the Swans looked cooked last week, but rebounded well (as often losing 1-4 teams do); the game was marred by several injuries; the Swans lost Rohan virtually on the HT siren; McVeigh was also injured in 2Q and finally benched 3Q; the Crows had Lever and Talia injured in 2Q; Lever departed finally at the last break, while Talia soldiered on; the game was virtually done at mid 1Q – with the Swan being on fire; the 2Q injuries to the Crows was the last straw for them and they were 6 goals down at half time; despite the Swans having a rotation less later in the game, the margin was too great; the Crows were very disappointing and were soundly beaten in the midfield.


Certs: There is really no cert this week, but will go for the Crows (an outsider) just to enter a tip and not be woosie; stay out if you can; this Crows are tipped as certs as outsiders in an EXTREME VARIANCE game; this would NOT be done mid-season on a long list of certs. (wrong; this was “ambitious” – to quote Denis Cometti; apologies for a wrong lead)

Technical Analysis prior to Week 2 of finals, 2016

By Penny Dredfell

Added 16 Sep 2016 

Reviewing last week: the analysis was poor; the Giants were up to the challenge (not as I expected) and drew away in the end; in fact, they closely followed an outsider technical trend – looking no hope early (down 15-2 at one stage in the first term); then a good second term (won narrowly); they drawing away in the third and going on with the job. I saw this pattern develop during the game and basically knew the Swans were cooked midway through the third quarter.  Sorry; the Cats barely got over the line in a “scripted” classic Cats / Hawks game.

This week I will look at the kick after the siren to lose phenomenon; the Hawks have been “get out of jail free” merchants all year and then missed the easiest shot of all to fall to the Cats last weekend. The data on such kicks after the siren which miss does not include any finals games.  the regular season data is not good news for the team that misses (and is a plus for the other team – but maybe more on that next week); the data is mixed – with  the team the following week doing slightly better than expected; but more so early in the season; with data so unclear, I am loathed to be too bullish here – especially as the Hawks have been prone to defy trends; but I just have a sneaky suspicion that this could be a negative for them – a sense of susceptability – and it may be almost time for the understudy in Beveridge to get a win against his old mentor.

With the Dogs –  have the issue of assessing the merit of the win last week; they looked terrific, but the Eagles disappointed terribly; they could perhaps follow the trend of Port – who had a big upset win in their 2013 elimination final over the Pies and then led Geelong at HT before being overrun (but exceeding expectations) in week 2 of the finals.  In 2013, Freo had a huge upset away win over the Cats and then led well against the Crows a week later – before running out of steam.

Summing it all up – I expect the Dogs to be up at quarter time – with the Hawks to have a good 3Q; how good a 3Q may determine the result; I would slightly lean to the Dogs winning or at least exceeding expectations (losing by less than 2 goals); but I am not keen on the week overall.

If the Hawks do progress, they have a good chance of going all the way – if Geelong are their GF opponents – in a similar vein to last year when the teams meet twice in the one finals series – more on this if it happens


Finals week 3, 2016 (all times are AET) 

Streak: 0/1 (with the Crows being the ambitious) so streak stopped at 29 and back to zip; but began the week with the Swans as the cert and forgot to change it back – so, by divine intervention (it would seem), streak is 30 and ranking improved from 219 to 174 (top 1%); many came unstuck by tipping the September specialists in Hawthorn

50/50: nothing done; still at 24/53 = a poor 45%; 

Early thoughts for week 3 of finals: a tough week to tip, but will go with the home teams at this stage (Geelong and GWS)

Game Home Away Venue Tip Margin Variance  Outsider is
1 GEEL SYD MCG  GEEL  11  HIGH  A definite chance
2 GWS WBD Spotless Stadium  GWS  29  EXTREME  A small chance

A great lot of interest here; firstly, the Hawks are out of it – courtesy of a team coached by a Clarkson understudy; next, the other 2 teams to have won flags in recent times (Swans and Cats) play each other – so only 1 of them will get through – which means we will have a “NEW” team in the big one; this will be either debutante GWS or the Dogs – who haven’t been in a grand final since 1961; there are three West teams left in it (with Geelong being west of Melbourne); the possibilities are Stevie J playing against the Cats next week – or 2 x NSW teams playing each other; it looks like the most interesting GF for a while (depending on your team loyalties)

Friday, Sep 23; 7.50pm
Geelong vs Sydney Swans at MCG
These teams played at Geelong in round 16 and the Swans – as underdogs – won by 38 points; of interest of the HUGE number of team changes since that game.  For the Cats, out goes Clark, Cockatoo, Murdoch, Ruggles and Lang (all omitted at some stage) and Menzel injured (this is significant).  In comes Bews, Caddy, Cowan, Menegola, Scott Selwood and Stanley.  The Cats look better and this was the 1 game Clark played all year; he wasn’t great and there was talk of disunity in the camp re Clark and another player.

The Swans lose Towers, Ted Richards and Rose (those ones ommited) as well as Mills, McVeigh and Sinclair (all injured); in comes Heeney, Tippett, Xavier Richards, McGlynn, Marsh and Laidler; it’s a mixed bag for the Swans – they won’t be happy about missing Mills, McVeigh and Sinclair; but the inclusions of Tippett (if fit) and Heeney is a plus.

There must be some doubt on both Tippett and Rohan; Rohan looked like he was gone for the season when he was carted off; the Swans website goes into great detail about how well Tippett has trained (team announcement), but says nothing about Rohan; it appears to be a dead give-away that Rohan won’t get up; the emergencies are Nankervis (the Tippett back-up), Cunningham and Rose (either could replace Rohan)

The Cats have had the rails run this year – they got to play Essendon twice (turned out to be better in early 2016 than when the fixture was announced); they had a cushy draw overall and then were the only team to beat the Hawks in a close one in 2016 (with many Hawk wins being improbable and then Smith missing an absolute sitter in week 1); next, the Hawks get eliminated; if they get through, they will play an inexperienced Grand Final opponent.

These teams were 1 and 2 at season’s end (thanks to the Crows losing in R23) but they now find themselves in a prelim because of the Giants causing an upset in F1.  The Swans have probably looked the premiership team for much of the year; but they have a few injury concerns and a longer injury list than the Cats; and they have to play away; all this leads to the Cats being the selection – even though they have not been totally convincing; their midfield “ins” from the last time these 2 teams played are the key – Caddy, Menegola and the other Selwood – will need to give support to their 2 stars; the last time these teams played in a  final, Nick Davis won it for the Swans on the way to a flag.
Cats by 11 points (and not certs, but see below)
Post match review: Cats were tipped by 11 points but the Swans won by 37; analysis was miles off; of note was that the Cats won the inside 50s clearly but never looked efficient going in – and the Swans rebounded easily; also, the Swans “doubtfuls” of Rohan and Tippett both contributed well; the “ins” of Geelong – Henderson (back from a knee problem) and Bews – both struggled somewhat and both copped knocks; the Swans lost Aliir before half time, but the game was virtually cooked by then anyway; the Cats underperformed by 7 goals and the Giants also were well down on expectations (5 goals below par); both the Cats and Giants started poorly – with the Cats virtually blowing the game in 1Q; maybe the Swans were slightly underestimated overall; it is difficult to estimate what effect the 2 byes had on the Cats and Giants – maybe more than most thought.

Saturday, Sep 24; 5.15pm

GWS Giants vs Western Bulldogs at Spotless Stadium
See Penny’s preview below;  this is a late start game – which will help the Dogs return to Melbourne and recover (should they win); the Dogs have been the surprise packet this finals’ series and almost everybody’s 2nd favourite team; they have reduced their injury list in recent weeks, but still have a longer list than the Giants; the Giants handled the Dogs with ease last time they played; and they have looked better with the return of Patton to the forward line – making them harder to match up on; the Dogs 2 x 8 day breaks have worked out nicely for them – so it will be the emotional letdown rather than the physical load if they perform poorly; the Giants need to come up after 2 byes in recent weeks; as long as they can do this, they should win; but the unknowns and the inexperience of both teams at this level in recent times makes this an EXTREME variance game; Giants by 29 points, but not certs
Post match review: Giants were tipped by 29 points but the Dogs won by 6; analysis was way off again; see above re the 2 byes for GWS; bith teams lost a significant player early (ex Dog Ward for GWS  and Roughead for the Dogs – coach Cameron called this “even”); the Dogs also had a few players copping knocks od various sorts – while Cameron was a virtual non-contributor for the Giants; it could be argued that the suspension of Stevie J cost GWS a spot in the grand final; the Dogs made it a tough fight and successfully restricted the GWS run out of defence; even so, the Giants looked to lack a bit of composure late in the game which was costly; the Giants – like the Cats – started poorly but recovered quicker to be in touch at QT; how much effect the 2 byes???? It will be listed here as significant; but should a team try to lsoe the F1 qualifying final???? It didn’t work for the Hawks, but the Swans cashed in big time; in future years, if they continue with the same finals method, maybe the two qualifying final winners will play a practice match in F2


Certs: There is really no cert this week, but will go for the Cats and this time have marked it in the website correctly (run of luck finally came to an end a la Hawks in the finals)

50/50 (where the experts seem to have got it wrong): Not an easy week to do this, but will go for the Giants over 24 points (maybe the Dogs have run their race) (never looked a hope)

Technical Analysis prior to Week 3 of finals, 2016

By Penny Dredfell

Added 22 Sep 2016 

Reviewing last week: the analysis was just slightly negative; the game trend stuff was all wrong, but the Dogs outperformed expectations; the Hawks played like a 5th or 6th team all year and that’s where they finished.

This week I will look at the Giants vs Dogs game because it is so interesting; the Giants have had 2 byes in the past 4 weeks (as have the Cats); it will be very new for GWS; at least the Cats have had a finals week off back in 2011!  I want to have a look at teams which come from outside the finals and then win a qualifying final; first up is the Dees in 2000; they beat the Blues in a big upset and then smashed the Roos (156-106) in the prelim; next up Collingwood in 2002; they beat Port in an upset and then easily beat the Crows by 28 points in the prelim; the Swans in 2003 beat Port and then lost their prelim to the Lions by 44 points; next up Geelong in 2007 beat the Roos and then squeaked in against Collingwood by 5 points; i the same year Port beat the Eagles just and then smashed the Roos by 87 points; then in 2015; the Eagles beat Hawthorn and then won about as expected over the Roos in the prelim;  it is a pretty good record and this bodes well for the Giants; of course, there is the 2 byes to contend with; it wasn’t a problem way back in the final 4 and final 5 days – when the winner of 1 vs 2 (top 4) or if 1 beat the winner of 2 vs 3 in the final 5 days; the team with the 2 byes back then did very well.  But this doubt on a fledgling club makes me not want to be too dogmatic on the tip; the other thing is about if and when the Dogs are going to run out of petrol tickets; if they do on Saturday, they could collapse big time; also the possible letdown after downing the Hawks maybe be a negative for the Dogs; then there is the growing prelim losses record for the Dogs as well; this is also a negative, but the good news here is that they have not lost one for some time now – 2010; nonetheless, so long as the Giants start well or competitively, I expect them to win by 6 goals plus.

Friday night note: the shockingly slow start by Geelong makes me a bit uneasy about tipping the Giants by a big margin; I would be a lot happier to see them do reasonably well in the first half; if the same disease that bit Geelong also affects GWS, my tip is in big trouble.  They will have watched the Geelong game and may work big time on being “UP” in the first term.  This may either result in: a flop (still have a bad first quarter); or a really bad second term; or they may fly through quite well; also, it is worth noting that the Dogs have covered a lot more territory than the Swans and they could be emotionally spent after beating the Hawks.  But I will still stick to my tip.

One last Friday night thought: the Swans have the flag in the bag now; they will be too powerful for the travel-weary Dogs and they will beat the Giants in a rematch, because this follows a pattern of Hawks in 2015 (played Eagles first week and Grand Final and won – also similar patterns in 2005, 2006, 1993 (albeit under a different finals system).  PENNY.


Finals week 4, 2016 (Grand Final)

Streak: 0/1 (with the Cats getting rolled) so streak stopped at 30 and back to zip; ranking remain unchanged at 174 (top 1%); most would have bombed out this week – with both favourites losing

50/50: 0/1 – with the Giants never looking like winning big; now at 24/54 = a poor 44%; 



Game Home Away Venue Tip Margin Variance  Outsider is
1 SYD WBD MCG  SYD 27  HIGH  A small chance, but the Swans are  marked as certs below

The Swans are the “Home team” according the the AFL website, so we here at will go along with them.  The early tip will be for the Swans and probably by more than most will be tipping.  The experts are saying that McVeigh is likely to play but neither Aliir nor Mills will recover in time; so it could be just Aliir out and McVeigh in (albeit not like for like)

The Dogs are hoping Suckling comes back in, but early indications are that he will miss; Roughead is more likely to get up with his eye injury, but is no cert; and Jong is a chance to return after strapping up his good shoulder last weekend and starring in the VFL GF win.

A curio in this game is that there has been much talk of the “2 byes” – with both “2 byes” teams in GWS and Geelong going down on the weekend; it is the first time that neither team that had the bye in week 2 of the finals has made the Grand Final.  Further, the Dogs played the Swans once only this year – and it was the week after both teams had the R14 bye. The Dogs looked like winning for most of the day in a seesawing encounter; then the Swans hit the front late in 4Q; but Johannisen kicked a goal in the dying seconds to win it; curio #3 is that McVeigh and Roughead were both named in the best for their teams.


Sydney Swans vs Western Bulldogs, MCG Saturday 2.30pm eastern
The teams are in!! And the weather report is looking better; expect a dry (or reasonably dry) track by game time!
McVeigh (as expected) and Mills (less certain) come in to replace the injured Aliir and the omitted Marsh; coach Longmire said that Mills has trained “absolutely flat out this week”, so he looks good to go, but he may still need to pass a Friday or Saturday fitness test; if he fails to get up, then the omitted Marsh would be favoured to return to the team.

The Dogs have made no change – which means Suckling (premiership player at the Hawks) misses out for the Dogs as he recovers from an Achilles injury and Jong’s BOG in the VFL GF was not quite enough to get him back into the team.  There was some doubt on tall Roughead for the Dogs, but the Dogs say he has recovered.  However, Campbell is an emergency if anything goes wrong and Roughy shouldn’t be considered 100% just yet.

Please also see Penny’s preview below; there is no doubt that the Swans are the more finals-hardened team and also have more grand final experience.  The Dogs have Boyd (Matthew), Cross, Morris, Picken & Wood from the 2010 preliminary final side; 2010 was the last year that they won a finals match prior to 2016

The Dogs will have 95% of the non-aligned support in the contest – being the first team since Fremantle in 2013 to be trying to win a first / or break a long drought; they have won 3 in a row – all as underdogs – and are slight outsiders again.  The one query on them is how much emotional petrol they have left in the tank. Will the breakthrough in the preliminary final (after the Dogs had lost a whole string of prelims) lead on the greatness?  Or have they already played their grand final?

At some stage in the finals, some teams just hit the wall – having already “played their grand final”.  A narrow win by a favourite can often be a positive, but a narrow win by an outsider is often followed by a big loss (sadly, if this is the case on Saturday).  Last year the Crows hit the wall in F2 after a great match against the Dogs in F1; back in 2007, the Hawks won another high-scoring thriller against the Crows and followed it up with a 33 point loss to the Roos (who were beaten by over 100 points in F1 the week prior).

The Dogs look to have played their grand final already – having defied all odds to even make the big one; Swans by 27 points and they will be marked as certs; the cert call is borderline, but there is only 1 game left, so no great risk (everyone begins 2017 at zero).  The variance will be marked as HIGH, but there is danger that the Swans could kick away early.

Saturday morning update: the Melbourne public woke up to drizzle; 1.8mm of rain fell at the MCG between 4 and 9am; the drizzle is expected to clear by game time, but it may possibly be a bit wet underfoot; keep an eye on the weather; meanwhile, outdoor events all around the south east of Australia have been cancelled in the past few days; on Friday on SEN, Terry Wallace mentioned that the 2014 Shocker by the Swans will be a positive for the Sydney players today; good point – in particular, Rohan will be looking to atone

Post match review: Swans were tipped by 27 points but the Dogs won by 22; analysis was miles off and the Dogs were, yet again, underestimated.  How good were the Dogs right throughout the finals series!! Who would have imagined that this was going to happen after R23 when they went west to lose to the Dockers!!  Of interest is that the Dogs were outsiders in all four games that they played and (of course) won them all; this has also been achieved by the Crows in 1997 under a different finals system after finishing 4th. Nowadays, 3 wins in the finals from 4th gets you the flag.  The Crows won it from 5th in 1998, but lost the first game; this year, they would have been gone in week 1!! Luke BCerts: everidge was against the bye initially, but agreed that it helped his team this finals series.  On the flip side, they could’ve counted themselves very unlucky (had the bye not been in place) to have to travel to Perth 2 weeks in a row in R23 and F1; the extra week gave them a chance to bring back players from injury.  The Swans and Dogs both had players recently back from injury, but the Dogs pplayers in that category performed better than the Swans ones.  Johannisen was good, but a surprise for the Norm Smith Medal; this website had it as a race between Boyd, Kennedy, Bontempelli and Picken – with a special mention to Rampe

Certs: The Swans will be called certs; in reality, they are almost certs, but don’t want to be reserved in the final game (tried but not good enough)

50/50 (where the experts seem to have got it wrong): Not hard here – Swans by over 13 points (never looked likely)



Technical Analysis prior to Week 3 of finals, 2016

By Penny Dredfell

Added 22 Sep 2016 

Reviewing last week: the analysis was way off, but – like all good economists – I can explain what went wrong after the fact; from my viewpoint, the extra week’s rest killed off both the Giants and Geelong; I mentioned it in the update between games; but I will still have to give myself a big cross for that and no elephant stamp.

This week there is only one game in town.

Teams that lose to a team with a kick after the siren generally start well the next time they play. The most recent example was Sam Lloyd (Richmond vs Swans this year); the Swans got their revenge in R23 with a 5:6 to 0:5 start (similar to the Swans’ prelim start).  And the Swans went on to a huge win.

The next one was Ash McGrath for the Lions over the Cats in R13, 2013.  They played again in R23 and the Cats began with a 5:5 to 3:3 first term; they eventually fell over the line by a point despite having 11 more scoring shots.

Next – off to the Nicnat show. He kicked a goal to down the Roos in 2013 at Subi; a whole year and a bit later, the Roos led narrowly at the same venue before going on to record a 38 point win as underdogs.

Tom Hawkins did it for the Cats in late 2012 against the Hawks; the Hawks had to wait until R1 the following year for the replay and flew out of the blocks with a 4:3 to 1:5 first term; they eventually succumbed to the Kennett curse and lost narrowly.

The one time the trend was bucked was Richmond. They lost to the Suns when Karmichael Hunt had his brief moment of AFL glory – kicking the winning goal in R16, 2012; but the next year, the Suns won the first term 3:3 to 1:3 in heavy rain in Cairns.

Back in 2009, Jordan McMahon kicked a sausage which won the game for the Tigers and affected the number 1 draft pick later that year.  Next year, the Dees booted 8:1 to 5:2 against Richmond on the way to a big win.

Beyond that, the picture is a bit mixed.

In this case, the kick was not after the siren but virtually had the same effect.  On this basis, I expect the Swans to continue to do what they have done in recent weeks – to get off to a flier.  The only time they faltered was against the Giants in week 1 of the finals, but even then they kicked the first 2 goals before the Giants steadied.  Therein lies the challenge for the Dogs – to hang tough early and stay within striking distance.

Sorry to be a party-pooper, but I reckon the Swans will be 3 goals plus up at the first change and further up at half time and then further up again at the end – winning by over 5 goals

Reviewing the Grand Final: the analysis was way off & feel sorry to end the year on such a bad note; however, the Dogs’ victory was a great thing for the long-suffering fans.  In hindsight, I should have taken the Luke Beveridge factor into account; everywhere he has gone, he has collected premierships.  Also, the revenge factor for a Home & Away match as written above probably has no impact in a Grand Final.    Here is an interesting little fact – this match was very similar to the 2011 Grand Final in many ways.  The slight outsider (Geelong over Collingwood) won the game; both the Dogs and Cats led narrowly at quarter time, looked like being way behind at half time as the opposition kicked a series of goals mid second term, then fought back to be just behind at half time, then led narrowly at the last break before kicking away.  Trouble for me was that there was no way – prior to last Saturday – to find any link between the games; but it is interesting!!  Enjoy the off-season break!