Luck of the Draw (The Age)

Discussion in 'AFL - The Australian Football League' started by Rourke, Aug 9, 2012.

Put it out there
  1. Rourke

    Rourke Watching the Numbers

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    Here's the table The Age published this morning from Jesse Hogan. See if you can spot the problem. It's supposed to be the aggregate of opponents' wins so far this year, but it actually covers the entire 23 rounds. But that's not what I mean:

    179 Adelaide (easiest)
    182 North Melbourne
    185 Brisbane
    186 St Kilda
    188 Sydney
    193 Fremantle, Richmond
    196 Melbourne
    198 Essendon
    202 Carlton
    204 GC, GWS
    205 Collingwood
    206 West Coast
    207 Hawthorn
    211 Geelong, Bulldogs
    214 Port Adelaide (hardest)

    That's a whopping 35 wins between easiest and hardest, right? The problem is obvious when you use the same method to calculate the fixture difficulty in 1986, the last time we had a double round robin:

    228 Hawthorn (18 wins)
    232 Sydney (16 wins)
    234 Carlton
    ...
    260 St Kilda (2 wins)

    So in a completely unbiased draw, we still get a gap of 32 wins between easiest and hardest. WTF? The trick is that St Kilda's opponents have picked up 20 wins against the hapless Saints (and we count them as 40 because each one is played twice). To correct this biased indicator, we would need to subtract that number from the total and leave every team on a draw strength of 220. Make sense?

    When we haven't got a full round robin, the maths is a little bit more complicated but the principle is the same. Here's the unbiased table for the full season on the same scale*:

    210 North Melbourne
    211 Brisbane
    215 Adelaide, Melbourne
    217 St Kilda
    220 Richmond, Gold Coast
    225 Sydney
    226 GWS
    227 Fremantle
    (229 average)
    233 Essendon
    237 Carlton, Bulldogs
    239 Port Adelaide
    244 Collingwood, West Coast
    246 Hawthorn
    250 Geelong

    Pre-season I rated Collingwood's draw as the toughest, and almost the toughest possible based on 2011's ladder. Based on this year's numbers, that throne has been taken by Geelong. To put that 40-win difference in perspective, it's like Geelong playing an opponent that is two wins (or about nine scoreboard points) harder than North's every single week. That's real fixture bias, and there could be a good case for thinking Geelong deserve a top-four spot more than Adelaide.

    (* there is rounding involved here to take account of the mix of teams that have not played each other, or have played each other twice, so it's slightly different to just subtracting the number of losses)
     

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  2. eth-dog

    eth-dog Premium Platinum

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    mufassa. I thought we had a super-easy soft draw? No, as I said we have a middle-of-the-road draw.
     
  3. SJ

    SJ Moderator

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    Good post. It has felt as though we've come up against a quality side most weeks this year.
     
  4. Rorys458

    Rorys458 Premium Platinum

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    Of course, it doesn't account for the fact that Geelong were premiers last year and we were garbage. Of course we get an easier draw, it can only work that way unless everyone plays everyone twice. The only way that will happen is to get rid of clubs in mlebourne which will never happen. The finals will sort us out, don't worry.
     
  5. LongBomb

    LongBomb Brownlow Medallist

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    But why?
    The draft provides equalisation measures. And these are having their intended consequence on Geelong this season.
     
  6. Nardz

    Nardz Norm Smith Medallist

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    the afl fixture is just another means of control that the AFL has.

    the AFL can influence a teams on field fortunes by throwing them a harder, or easier fixture.

    Bulldogs and Port Adelaide are most hard done by IMO, at least the other sides with a tough fixture were near the top of the ladder last year.

    The AFL really need to find a solution to this problem, but the motivation isn't there.
     
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  7. mufassa

    mufassa Norm Smith Medallist

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    Your 1st half of the year was super soft. The reason you are terrible now is that the 2nd half the year is hard. Never said your entire draw was soft - but your 1st 10 weeks were!!

    Only travel was to the Suns and GWS!! You played - 18th, 17th, 16th, 14th, 13th, 12th, 11th, 7th, 5th 3rd. Do you think your draw was tough?

    This is one of - if not the softest 1st 10 weeks in the comp and made you look a lot better than what you.

    8-1 start was a gift and if you miss the 8 will be laughed at for a long time to come.
     
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  8. Kaiser Powser

    Kaiser Powser Norm Smith Medallist

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    Obviously it is virtually impossible to have an exactly balanced fixture.

    However, there is no need for any club to play the expansion clubs four times this year. That was just stupid from the AFL.
     
  9. Kaiser Powser

    Kaiser Powser Norm Smith Medallist

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    So how long do we laugh if North miss the 8 after having the easiest draw and the best run of injuries in the comp?
     
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  10. rayven

    rayven Norm Smith Medallist

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    So Adelaide destroy sides ,not just in the game but for weeks after as well..

    Just look at carlton, they were flying when they played Adelaide,what have they done since? look at how many games GC had lost when they played ADl, and look at how many after.
     
  11. Vtorians

    Vtorians Club Legend

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    Touche!
     

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  12. Chrizzt

    Chrizzt Norm Smith Medallist

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    How do you explain Port getting one of the harder fixtures then? People have to stop calling it a draw, because there is no randomness in it, it is completely fixed based on what matches need to be played where/when (e.g. 2x showdowns, west derbies, Anzac clash, etc.) along with playing high crowd drawing matches (e.g. Collingwood v Geelong, Essendon v Hawks) in high crowd drawing time slots (Friday night) to get the maximum number of people along for maximum profits. Additionally, advertising is sold for time slot as well as a premium on the potential viewership of matches, hence Port v Freo will never make a friday night as it won't draw crowds at the game or people wanting to watch on TV, hence advertisers won't want to pay for that night. This financial bias to the bigger clubs is offset (in the short term) by the handouts that the AFL gives to clubs who can't get money from attendance as they are not given fixtures that favours crowd-pulling.
    I don't necessarily agree with this system as it only works in the short term and inhibits long-term financial freedom of a club, but I think they're making the best of the current situation. Could be worse.
    Basically once all this is taken into account, there is not a lot of freedom in allocating matches between various teams to even out the 'toughness' of the fixture. We could move to a system that places a priority on fixture toughness instead of crowd/money but that might end up with collingwood playing only 2 friday night games at home, both against, let's say, Port and GWS. This would severely reduce the amount of money going into the AFL. As Demetriou runs the AFL as much more of a business than a sport (arguable whether this is good or bad) I can't see the type of fixture changing anytime soon.
     
  13. Hoffy95

    Hoffy95 Norm Smith Medallist

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    So Geelong has the worst draw comfortably and the worst free kick differential.

    Just get the feeling the AFL is slightly sick of us.
     
  14. Kcrack

    Kcrack BigThrust Member

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    When was the last time a team went 8-1 and missed finals?
     
  15. mufassa

    mufassa Norm Smith Medallist

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    To make the 8:
    Roos - $1.25
    Ess - $2.10

    Only 1 team needs to be worried about being laughed at.
     
  16. half_back_flank

    half_back_flank Brownlow Medallist

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    Be interesting to see the table for the last 5 years or decade to see if it evens out.
     
  17. mufassa

    mufassa Norm Smith Medallist

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    Not since the finals was a top 4.
     
  18. Snarls Barkley

    Snarls Barkley Premium Gold

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    This system is quite obviously flawed though. Adelaide is second in the league right now, which counts for a lot of Port Adelaide's points as they've played them twice, yet it says Adelaide is only second because they have had the easier draw and aren't actually the second best team in the league.

    Personally I don't have to much worries with the draw, happens every year. Of course, Geelong is going to play the likes of Hawthorn and Collingwood twice. Carlton, Richmond, Essendon and Collingwood are each going to play each other twice. Don't know why you would rather see your team absolutely thump GC or GWS than watch a nail-biter.

    Each to their own I guess.
     
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  19. mufassa

    mufassa Norm Smith Medallist

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    Any comment on your 1st 10 weeks?
     
  20. Kaiser Powser

    Kaiser Powser Norm Smith Medallist

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    Just makes it even funnier if you miss really.
     
  21. Rourke

    Rourke Watching the Numbers

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    You are correct, if we worry about the first-order effect of a team's losses on its opponents' records, the next thing to examine is the second-order effect of its opponents' opponents (e.g. Port impacted by Adelaide whose record is impacted by an easy draw). Then third-order for opponents' opponents' opponents, etc. Taking that process to infinity is called a 'spectral radius' algorithm and is the mathematically optimal way of judging strength of schedule. But it doesn't look too different from the table above :)
     
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  22. Thewlis Dish

    Thewlis Dish Brownlow Medallist

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    It's the draw's fault though.
     
  23. le dominateur

    le dominateur Premiership Player

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    lol, no answers against Essendon, flogged by Saints, Dockers cost themselves the game with shocking kicking for goal - we were really flying.:rolleyes:
     
  24. eth-dog

    eth-dog Premium Platinum

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    Dunno, but it won't happen this year :thumbsu:
     
  25. mufassa

    mufassa Norm Smith Medallist

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    Hundreds of teams have missed finals after having a good draw.

    No-one has missed the top 5, 6 or 8 after being 8-1. 40 years and the Bombers could be the 1st!!