Analysis Crows Scoring Analysis 2017-19 (aka 'Where did our 27ppg go?')

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Bob Neil

Club Legend
Sep 20, 2011
At a table with old friends
AFL Club
We all very painfully aware by now that we're crap (!) - in large part due to the fact that our scoring completely dried up over the past two seasons. We've all got arseholes opinions as to why this has happened but I thought it might be useful to analyse some stats to help us assess whether the messaging we hear out of West Lakes over the summer matches up with what we know to be the real problems.

The chart below breaks down/attributes the change in our scoring (measured by points per game, ppg) according to the relative changes (using 2017 season as the baseline) in four key factors:
  • Total Disposals (self explanatory)
  • Disposals per Inside 50 (you might think of that as a proxy for general 'ball movement')
  • Scoring Shots per Inside 50 (a measure of 'forward line/scoring efficiency')
  • Points per Scoring Shot (aka 'Goal Accuracy')
The fact is we dropped from 107.8 ppg in '17 to 80.7 ppg in '19 - a loss of 27.1ppg :eek:. Of that 19.6ppg were lost in '18 with a further 7.5ppg in '19 (as to where might the bottom be - that's another question!).

Why did it happen - well we lost 11.4ppg due to worse scoring efficiency (i.e. 0.44 shots per I50 vs. 0.50) and another 11.2ppg due to worse ball movement (7.72 disposals per I50 vs. 6.83). Less critical but still hurting was a reduction in points per scoring shot (lost 4.4ppg) as our goal accuracy fell from 55% to 52% (come back JJ with your beloved Joe the Goose goals!).

If the 'Nicks Manifesto' is to "embrace the contest" then I'm not sure that this actually addresses the real problem - our split of Contested vs. Uncontested Possessions hardly wavered across those three seasons so there needs to be some smarter strategies that augment that philosophy if we're actually going to make any progress.

These days commitment (i.e. embracing the contest) is largely a given and so is basic skill level - the real differentiator is tactics to move the ball especially at the pointy end of the ground so he better have a plan for that...


Full table of data sourced from

Disposals per I506.837.257.72
Scoring Shots720546496
- Goals395279256
- Behinds325267240
Shots per I500.500.470.44
Goal Accuracy54.86%51.10%51.61%
Points per scoring shot3.743.553.58
Matches played252222
Points per game107.8088.2380.73


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Norm Smith Medallist
May 14, 2017
AFL Club
Other Teams
West Adelaide/ Team BARTY!
... our scoring completely dried up over the past two seasons ...
Thanks, to Ben Hart and before him further up the ground the unchanging, unimaginative work of the deservedly-sacked Camporeale.
Hart: terrific defender, premiership player, nice bloke, but not a Coach's ahole.

Do we know yet if Nicks is retaining Hart on the Coaching team, in any way? Please, no.


Premiership Player
Apr 15, 2011
AFL Club
I've said my piece about this many times... a bad (in 2017) grading to horrendous (in 2019) defensive setup. Our system didnt change over that time (shocking I know). What happened was every other team got better defensively and our system of not putting extra numbers back like every other team does and us leaving people up at the contest led to agonisingly slow rebounds out of defense, stuffing any chance of a good attack. Rinse and repeat. There's a few other issues as well, but that's the main prob.


All Australian
Jul 12, 2014
AFL Club
Don't we need to benchmark against the game, not just against our 2017?

At the end of the minor round, the eventual premiers in 2017, 2018, 2019 had scored 1992, 2012, and 1892 points. We scored 2415 minor round points in 2017, but even in 2017, the game didn't seem to demand it? And same today, it seems.

Flip Side

Senior List
Sep 30, 2014
AFL Club
There are some other key stats that explain the Crows decline in scoring.

Obviously their are linkages between different statistics, but one of the key scoring statistics in modern football is scores From turnovers.

Turnovers are an outcome of the combination of pressure acts, tackling, frees, forcing clangers etc so their the culmination of committed defensive football without the ball. Inability to create turnovers and then capitalise is why the Crows have fallen away. This is one of the significant differences between 2017 and the last 2 years.

The following text was from April 18 but tells the story:
“What was once the Crows’ greatest strength has become their biggest weakness, with their turnover game now essentially non-existent. During their stunning 2017 campaign, Don Pyke’s men were ranked first in the league for points from turnovers, averaging 70 per game. That dropped slightly in 2018. But in 2019, they’re averaging just 32 points per game from turnovers — ranked last in the AFL.” - Foxsports

another key stat is marks inside 50, often an outcome of turnovers where players find themselves without an opponent.
2017 - Crows ranked 1 (14.6)
2018 - Crows ranked 16 (9.4)
2019 - Crows ranked 15 (9.9)

“In fact, of the four teams to average more than 12 marks inside-50 per game (Western Bulldogs, Collingwood, Geelong and Richmond) all qualified for the AFL Finals, with three of course still alive come Preliminary Final weekend“

basically, if you want to win the cup then you need to create turnovers, particularly in your forward 50, and defend turnovers, and take marks.

since last year: “The last 10 season's Premiers have all ranked in the top five for all of ‘Points differential from turnovers’, ‘Points scored from the forward half’ and ‘Opposition scores per inside 50’ at the conclusion of their Premiership campaign.“

Matthew Nicks appears all over this understanding, but i assume so would 17 other coaches.



Sith Lord
Oct 14, 2005
AFL Club
Other Teams
Norwood, Adelaide Crows
Those stats almost prove that our Forward Line was the least responsible part of the team, when it comes to reduced scoring.

We had 22% fewer I50s (2017 vs 2019), as a result of poor midfield structures and a complete lack of effort by players in the back 2/3 of the field. This alone almost accounts for the points differential. There were 4 games after the bye this year, where our opponents had greater than 50% more I50s than Adelaide - it's very hard to score when the ball is permanently parked at the opposite end of the ground!

The number of disposals per I50 rose by 13%, which demonstrates just how inefficient we were at moving the ball when we had it. It's also a strong indicator of our inability to generate repeated I50s, due to poor defensive structures and work rates in the forward half of the ground.

I've seen glaciers moving faster than Adelaide's ball movement in 2019. This resulted in many of our I50s being to less advantageous positions, resulting in a lower goal accuracy. How many "Joe the Goose" goals did we get this year, or marks <25m from goal, compared to previous years? Without these "gimme" goals, our accuracy went south (dropping from 54.86% to 51.61%).

It's also worth noting that the game as a whole became more defensive as a whole, particularly in 2019, with average scores across the entire league being the lowest in many decades. This accounts for some, but by no means all, of the 27ppg differential.

Yes, Adelaide's forwards need to work on their defensive pressure, in order to generate more repeat I50s. However, there is nothing in these statistics which actually indicates that it's Ben Hart's forward structures which are the main source of our problems.

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