Overall Preview.

Data added 22 March 2011.  (Blue and Red comments added 27 Jan 2012)

For those who don’t live in Melbourne, let me tell you what a wonderful time of year this is.  The hot (and, in 2011, humid) weather has just about left us.  The nights are cool and the days are pleasant.  More importantly, each fans footy team is equal at this time of year.  It doesn’t matter if your team was useless in 2010; or if it has filled the gossip columns; or you have lost your star player, coach or have 20 players injured.  Hope abounds and we all find reasons to expect good things.  The team previews, however, have to be done from a cold, analytical standpoint.


This year is more interesting than most, and artificially so.  There are the Suns; and the new interchange rule.  And then there’s Malthouse’s Maze (or Buckley’s barricade).  Will teams copy it or try to overcome it.  Inventor and lateral thinker E Majin will working on both ideas for his team.  But right now he is inventing a car that will run on milk.  At a dollar a litre, it could be a winner.  He envisages milk being an extra option at petrol stations soon.  It would be available at the bowser in the cities; while the country stations would cut out the middle man and you could get it from the cow directly.

And now there is also the new concussion rule.  To briefly explain it, a concussed player cannot return to the ground.  The average is 7 concussions per team per year (hopefully, not all to the same player), so the impact will be minimal.  The medical team will assess a player to confirm if he is concussed.  Many cases are obvious, but some cannot be judged immediately.  Maybe a player just got winded and went down for a while; perhaps they just staggered for a few strides.  The medicos can take such a player from the field without “red shirting” him immediately.  Once he is proven to be concussed, he is then given the red shirt (is still available) and he sits out the rest of the game.


But the biggest interest for the tipster is how the various teams will shape up.  Who will improve and which team will drop off.  Also which teams will improve later in the season on their early season form and which ones will taper off.  The following summary takes the 16 teams from 2010 + Gold Coast Suns and analyses each of them methodically.  The results of this analysis are given in the individual team previews.  This page groups them all into one list.   Things considered when previewing are:

A team’s 2010 performance

Their percentage in 2010

Their draw 2010 vs 2011 (this has nothing to do with comparing one team’s draw to another team’s draw.  It merely compares how friendly a team’s draw is in 2011 compared to 2010 – who they play twice then and now, the friendliness of the travel schedule, how many 2 or more x 6 day breaks they face and how many teams to they get “at the right time”)

The luck in 2010 re catching teams at the right time (EG it was better to play the Lions after round 4 last year)

Players lost and recruited

Natural improvement of emerging players and potential tapering off of old players

The 2011 pre season form

Injuries 2010 vs known injuries so far 2011

Coaching and admin changes

Psychological factors

These are then totalled as games won; then standardised so that the number of games won by all teams = 187.  The result is published as a final round 24 ladder, with notations for teams with a high variance.


This year’s final ladder is predicted to be:

Pos      Team   Wins    Variance          Actual             How Far

B4 Finals        Off?

1          CO      16                                1                      0 J

2          ST       15        HIGH              6                      4

3          WB     14                                10                    7

4          GE      14                                2                      2


5          HA      14        HIGH              3                      2

6          AD      13                                14                    8

7          CA      12        HIGH              5                      2

8          PO       12        HIGH              16                    8


9          ES       11        HIGH              8                      1

10        SY       10                                7                      3

11        NO      10        HIGH              9                      2

12        ME      10        HIGH              13                    1


13        WC      10        HIGH              4                      9

14        FR       10        HIGH              11                    3

15        BR       7                                  15                    0 J

16        RI        5                                  12                    4

17        GCS    4          HIGH              17                    0 J


The teams with the same number of wins are ranked by the in depth analysis.  EG North were 10.3 wins and the Dees 9.7 wins.  The data is rounded to the nearest whole number.


Of some concern is that the top 4 is the same as the previous 2 years.  While it is unlikely that this will occur, the analysis churned out the result.  But the variance (= unpredictability) of the Saints, Hawks, Blues in particular, means that the top 4 is highly likely to be different in 2011.  (correct to a large degree)


The big movers of note are:

Crows and Port into the finals (sooooooooo incorrect!)

Freo to drop way down          (correct)

Swans to miss the finals          (correct)

Eagles to improve                   (very correct)


The suns were the hardest team to assess, but some considerable space is given to the reasons for their rating (which comes with a high variance).


This next statement may sound silly, but the final ladder estimates are not completely an indication of how a team is rated.  Some teams may have easier draws than others, for example.  Some teams may have markedly different injury issues.  The WA teams are a prime example.  Freo is actually rated a better team than the Eagles.  But the fact is that Freo begin the year with the worst injury problems while the Eagles are near the other end of the spectrum.  If they play in round 8 with Freo still missing a few key players, then the Eagles will be tipped (all other factors being equal).  And if they both have fully fit squads for their round 18 clash, then Freo will be the tip, even though they were listed above as finishing 14th, behind the Eagles.  So one need to rate the teams apart from their injuries and then account for their injuries.  The team’s ratings, out of 10, are as follows (assumes full list)

CO      10

ST        9

WB      9

GE       9

HA      8

AD      7

CA      7

PO       7

ES       6

SY       7

NO      6

ME      5

WC      5

FR       6

BR       5

RI        4

GCS    3


These ratings will be amended periodically.  Enjoy your analysis.