Round 15 – The Going Gets Tough


As the season keeps on keeping on, and the bye rounds hit the rear view mirror, stability is slowly taking its course (as we mentioned last week). Only one change in the positions this week, with Collingwood leapfrogging Richmond after recording the most uninspiring of wins over Carlton. Richmond likely saw their finals hopes vaporised, however slight they still were.

Elsewhere, Port have comprehensively closed the gap on North Melbourne in 8th. With a good win this week (combined with a Roos loss) Port might just be able to close the gap, but the real opportunity will come next week. As Matter of Stats outlined in his 100,000 simulation projection of the rest of the season, Port stand about the only chance to break into the eight from the outside. North have two critical games ahead, and if they lose both plenty of questions will be asked of the appropriate Scott brother at Arden Street.

Here’s a look at the full set of data:

Seven teams still sit above the modern historical minimum 105% score for a premiership team, which is a very high number. The Arc and Insight Lane have articulated this week that there appears to be one close grouping at the top followed by a fair gap. The HPN data also seems to support this theory.

Looking at the “all 100%” test for most previous premiers, currently Geelong, GWS, Adelaide and West Coast are passing with Hawthorn very close.

We also thought that we should have a look at the formlines for the last few weeks, and to see which teams are gaining ground in the ratings:


Both Geelong and GWS were cruising along at historically high levels, and it’s not surprising to see them tail off a bit. Essendon have shown solid signs at points of time lately, but one can’t help but feel that the floodgates have officially opened on them this season. And we don’t think we can write anything more about the Lions and Suns without totally alienating our audience north of the Tweed.

Over the last six weeks the Crows stand out as biggest improver, which seems in line with anecdotal observations. The Crows have one of the most potent attacks in recent memory, and their midfield has stepped up in terms of opportunity given to forwards, perhaps finally compensating for the loss of Dangerfield:


The Crows have gone from somewhat below-average to well above, partially skewing the rest of the movement of the league. At the other side of the table the four runaway leaders in this category have regressed to the mean, and are no longer setting HPN ratings records.


Up forward, the Eagles make up some of the ground that they lost in the midfield. The Eagles attack is multifacted and extremely potent, with skilled targets of all sizes. The ratings probably under-cooked them early (or perhaps they weren’t firing), but this feels more appropriate. Also rising fast are Essendon and Carlton, going from historically inept to merely inept. Both teams have a much brighter future up forward, but this year has been a struggle at times.

At the other end, Collingwood and Gold Coast have been significantly affected by form and injury issues, and have started to go backwards a bit. However, both teams appear to be falling back to where they were about ten weeks ago, suggesting that there was a peak and trough to their performances.


Down back, Sydney remain a nearly unstoppable machine outside of the final 30 seconds of close games. They need to fix that up soon though. Port Adelaide show some significant improvement, and move into the upper echelon of defensive teams.

At the other end, Essendon’s brief visit to “average” defensively has seemingly finished up, and GWS have paid the price for injury after injury down back. However, that “price” for GWS still leaves them with an elite defense so far, so don’t feel too bad for them yet.

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