Luck of the Draw (The Age)

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Rourke

Watching the Numbers
Mar 9, 2006
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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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Rorys458

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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.
 

LongBomb

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

Nardz

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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.
 

mufassa

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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.
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.
 

Kaiser Powser

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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.
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?
 

rayven

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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.
 

Chrizzt

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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.
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.
 

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Snarls Barkley

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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.
 

Rourke

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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.
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 :)
 

le dominateur

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

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