Saturday, 20 December 2014

2014 REVIEW: There Or There-Abouts

In the run of season 2014, we saw some of the teams listed in this blog post do unusual things in the context of you ratings.
- A pair of teams that looked destined for better things, with one 'washing off' all the gains of the previous year, and the other cement their 'top 8 team' status that we called early.
- A pair of teams that had bad years in 2013, were largely ignored for the season yet somehow both did quite well considered. Interesting.
- A team that our calculations have struggled to rate better than mid table for a few years now again punch above its weight.
- And the early signs of the beginning of the end for another team. 

Working through our rated teams from 10th to 5th, the below were strong challengers for the top 8, and look to be the same in 2015.




Essendon
FMI Rank Pts:FMI Rank Pos:AFL Ladder:No of Wins:
20141121201410th20147th201412½
Our Pre-season Prediction:16th5 to 6
20131054201312th20139th *201314
20121039201212th201211th201211

Another season of distraction (and deflection and denial) for Essendon, and through it all they improved under our rankings and maintained their top 8 position.
Yep, we know they were technically 9th in 2013, but in reality it was a 7th place finish then, and now.
Looking at our rankings values, the Dons were never really ranked highly by our system. Because they may have won enough to generate a 7th last year, they struggled to meet expectations in doing so. But this year they did begin to improve. Which means our predictions were all out on a grand scale.

If Bomber Thompson was able to achieve anything positive from 2014, it was not securing the job as coach of Essendon in Hird's stead, but he actually righted he ship in terms of sustaining performance over the year.
The chart below shows that clearly. Compare that to the changes in performance during 2013, and 2012.
Early boom, then bust. ...But not in 2014.





Richmond
FMI Rank Pts:FMI Rank Pos:AFL Ladder:No of Wins:
2014114720149th20148th201412
Our Pre-season Prediction:4th14 to 17
2013125920137th20135th201315
20121157201211th201212th201210½

The Tigers climb from 12th to 5th in 2013 had the world thinking one of two things... that they were back as a force, or it was a one-off aberration and they would return to piffing yonnies at the top 8 from outside it once more.
In the front end of the season it sure looked like the latter, but somehow the Tigers mustered 9 wins on the trot to bounce back to the finals. Only to fail again.

We tipped better things for them based on the trajectory from 2013. And were let down, along with the faithful.

The Richmond season chart shows the early depression and slow recovery through the season nicely. With the biggest negative bar the loss to Melbourne in the week Tom Hafey passed away. The true nadir of the Tigers' season.





West Coast
FMI Rank Pts:FMI Rank Pos:AFL Ladder:No of Wins:
2014120320148th20149th201411
Our Pre-season Prediction:14th7 to 9
20131098201311th201313th20139
2012132620124th20125th201215

West Coast is the first of our 'interesting' results for 2014.
By the tried and trusted AFL ladder method, they ran themselves to 11 wins and 9th place. Also, under our rankings they jumped up to 8th from 11th.
Whereas we predicted a more dire outcome of 14th  with 7 to 9 wins.

Oddly, on first glance, it is difficult to really fathom why.
But looking deeper, their 11 wins were all against teams that finished below them, and no wins over any sides better than them. And those wins were quite mighty, with 5 of them by margins 60 or more.

The Eagles real improvement, and drive into 8th best ranking from 11th was all from the last 5 weeks. Four wins (vs Adelaide, Melbourne Collingwood and Gold Coast, three of them by +50pt margins) and a narrow loss to Essendon.
Total contribution, 3 ranking places and 104 points.






North Melbourne
FMI Rank Pts:FMI Rank Pos:AFL Ladder:No of Wins:
2014122620147th20146th201414
Our Pre-season Prediction:6th14 to 16
2013128920135th201310th201310
20121181201210th20128th201214

Always entertaining North Melbourne.
As above, we called North as better than their ladder position in 2013, and they repaid our faith in the system by being bang on the money in 2014. A sixth place finish and 14 wins was exactly where we had them.

Even though they ended up right back where we expected them (and one ranking position lower than 2013), it was a roller coaster ride of a season. Oddball losses to teams they should have beaten, compounded with unlikely wins over Sydney and Hawthorn... never a dull moment.
The oft commented 'depends on which North is going to turn up' was evidenced not only in the run of results, but highlighted in the chart below.

Finals wins over Essendon and Geelong were great, but a campaign-ending big loss to Sydney means we will have to wait at least one more year for monument construction to begin in earnest.
 




Geelong
FMI Rank Pts:FMI Rank Pos:AFL Ladder:No of Wins:
2014122720146th20143rd201417
Our Pre-season Prediction:3rd17 to 18
2013135520132nd20132nd201318
2012133120123rd20126th201215

The Cats have been riding the crest of a wave for quite some time now. You would expect them to 'come down' soon, but they haven't yet. The ladder positions for Geelong have remained high, and our ranking too has also maintained a certain standard.
And we also were accurate in determining the number of wins and ladder position.

But this year...are we seeing something from Geelong?
Our rankings have them down to 6th, dropping about 130 points along the way. The chart below also has no strong positive bars, but strong negative ones.

Are we seeing the beginning of the end of the Geelong era? Would be a brave person to write then off... so we wont, until a few games into 2015, then its boot on and kick!





Adelaide
FMI Rank Pts:FMI Rank Pos:AFL Ladder:No of Wins:
2014122920145th201410th201411
Our Pre-season Prediction:8th11 to 15
2013116420139th201311th201310
2012124020128th20122nd201217

Adelaide, like West Coast, are from our interesting but odd section of 2014.
It is a head scratcher that the Crows finished 5th (!) in our rankings, missed the top 8, and win only 11 games (the bottom end of our prediction window).
Fifth... how?

Well again like West Coast, it is not so much the wins and losses, but who they were against and how Adelaide performed.
In the below chart, there is a string of string positive bars from round 13 onward.
These relate to a 6 goal win over North (r13), 4 goal win over Port, 11 goals over GWS, a narrow loss to the Hawks, and a nice win over the Pies (r's15-18).
Add in the 100+ point win against the Lions and you have a nett gain of 111pts in 6 weeks. Enough to boost ranking position from 9th before round 13 to 6th after round 20.
The final leap to 5th came after Geelong crashed out of the finals.

Which, basing the future on the past, means that Adelaide (and West Coast) are in line to repeat the North Melbourne experience and be top 6 in 2015.... hmmm maybe.





One more blog post to come, the last four teams that also happen to be the best things of 2014...