Blues top 8 Pies top 4?


Why the Blues are (virtually) certs for the 8 and the Pies are NOT certs for the top 4

Written 26 June 2012

Collingwood now sits a game clear on top and are equal favourites with the Hawks to win the flag.  So why are they not certs for the top 4?  Surely they will be 1 or 2?

The answer is multifaceted.  The Magpies have not lost since round 3.  We can dismiss the wins against lowly sides (Port R4, Dogs R6, Lions R7, Suns R10 and Dees R11).  In their other wins during that time, they always caught the other team with a similar level of injury worries to themselves.

In round 5, the Dons were at the peak of their injury crisis.  They played the Cats in round 8 when both teams had similar injury problems.  Their win in Adelaide was outstanding!  They had far more injury concerns than Adelaide and still managed to draw away late in the game.  Then in R13, the Eagles had to come to Melbourne with a sizeable medical report (not quite as bad as the Pies, but comparable).

This week coming, they are red hot to defeat Freo.  And Freo’s injury list has just hit a season high!!  All good so far!   This does not detract from what Nathan Buckley and the Pies have achieved this year.  A lesser group may have capitulated.

But it gets tougher from here, thanks to the unevenness of the draw.  And the possible downside of further injuries.  Following the Freo game (which they should win well), the only “gimme” game is against the Giants (and maybe North).

Their other games are against Swans and Eagles (away), and Melbourne games vs Blues, Cats, Hawks, Saints and Dons.  All these teams are likely to have lower injury levels than the Pies when they play them (even though some are lower ranked teams).

This means that the Pies are vulnerable in the case of further injuries.  Statistically speaking, teams with a long list of injuries are slightly more likely to get extra injuries than other teams.  This often occurs due to injured players coming back too early and re-injuring themselves.

The other reason that the Pies are not safe is the ladder.  Usually at this time of the year, the top team would be several games clear of 5th spot.  Last year Geelong were on top after R13 and 4 games clear of 5th.

But this season, the Pies are one game and a tiny percentage ahead of the Crows in 5th.  A small slump could mean a quick drop down the ladder.

Based on current estimates, they will finish in 4th spot with 15.3 wins, just ahead of Essendon on 15 wins.


And if they make top 4, they will have finals experience + the added incentive of being the top team in 2011, but losing the big one.

Refer to

for details.  This is updated weekly as results are known.

We now move on to the Blues.  Every second scribe in the country wants to write them off.  Their injury crisis was not as prolonged as Collingwood’s, but it was just as severe just prior to the bye.

They do expect players back prior to the finals (unlike the Pies who have lost many players for the season).  The only doubtful cases of the top 30 would be Laidler (gone for the year already) and Jarrad “how long must we” Waite.  Murphy will be back for the final few rounds, along with Simon White.  Fringe players Davies, Casboult and Heyne are due back soon (to bolster the back-up stocks, more than anything). Yarran is also due to come good in the near future.

They are in a real tough part of the draw right now (Hawks and Pies next 2 games).  But, from then on (barring anything tragic for them), they should be favourites or thereabouts in virtually every game, barring severe injuries.  They play Roos, Dogs, Tigers, Swans, Lions, Dons, Suns (their only trip out of the state) and Saints.

Using the probability for each game remaining, they are set for 13.4 wins, which is well ahead of the Saints at 11.7 in 9th place.