Tuesday, 10 March 2015

◄RE-BLOG► The Riverina 'Team of all Time'

With not long to go until the football season starts again for 2015, its a chance for reflection on what makes the game so much about us.

Australian Football is about the ordinary person who plays and can do extraordinary things. Its the Saturday or Sunday local games in cities and their suburbs, and in country towns big and small.
All across the country, local boys and men (and increasingly girls and women) have toiled away on grassy surfaces, bog heaps and more. All chasing a kick and looking for a win. All making the game richer.

Richer, not in the financial sense, but richer in its history, spirit and soul. Despite the drive by the AFLPA to look after its key members and boost the coffers of the elite, local footy keeps working away, providing entertainment and exercise, entertainment and even sometimes enlightenment. Mostly on shoestring budgets or with legions of volunteers.


A reminder of this was published late last year over at the FootyGospel website. A site that was only over this summer highlighted to the FootyMaths Institute.
On that website, Josh selected his team of best players of all time from the Riverina. That bit of southern NSW from the Murrumbidgee River area down to the Murray River, and from just short of Canberra, stretching east to just before the South Australia border.

And there are some great names in the 22 listed below. But even better are some of the places where football has been played for decades. Finley. Ganmain. Deniliquin. Temora.
Local footballers from small country communities, all who have made it in Australian Football, and to be some of the games greats.


Below, reblogged with permission from Josh (and slightly tweaked) is his 'team of all time' from the Riverina.
A companion podcast was also done, and is worth hearing as well, particularly some of the names that missed out.



Since that blog post and podcast were done, the Riverina AFL have prepared their team of the century, and will release it on March 20.


As a final comment, you are welcome to assess and comment on Josh's selections, submit your own, or even contribute your own 'best teams' of your particular region.
Feel free to enter your thoughts in the comments section, or alternatively write up a team and email it to tkyc.mail @ gmail dot com. Happy to list a few more here (and yes, probably reaching in to the Footy Almanac area as well).







The Riverina Australian Rules 'Team of All-Time'

It is often said of children growing up in Australia that they play footy in the Winter and cricket in the Summer. Growing up in the Riverina, straddling 'The Barassi Line', it is more like cricket, maybe golf, and a bit of basketball in the Summer.
In the Winter, for many, it is league on Saturdays and 'aussie' on Sundays.


Put simply, sport is a way of life in the Riverina. Not surprisingly, the region has produced a wealth of champion sportspeople. What is surprising, given that 'Teams of the Century' are numerous, an official team of the all-time best Riverina Australian footballers has never been announced.

In recent times the idea has been put forward by none other than the legendary Kevin Sheedy. Since taking over as coach of GWS Giants at their introduction to the AFL, Sheedy has championed the cause of the game in NSW. In particular, GWS have a strong relationship with Wagga Wagga, more or less the heartland of the Riverina.


With a figure such as Sheedy taking the helm, surely the idea of a celebratory Riverina team will become a reality. As it is, I will put forward my nomination of best 22 from the area and hopefully encourage some debate.


One of the factors potentially working against the idea is defining what is the Riverina. Essentially it is the area bordered by the Great Dividing Range to the East, the Lachlan River in the North and West, and the Victorian border in the South. Thus, towns and cities include Albury, Wagga, Deniliquin, Finley, Corowa, Griffith, Hay and anywhere in between.


So, here it is: my Riverina 'Team of All-time.'* You can click on the players' names to view their profile on AustralianFootball.com

* The reason for calling it the 'Team of All-Time', rather than 'Team of the Century', is that Harry Lampe retired from the VFL in 1907 and was a necessary inclusion, thus 'Team of the Century' would be redundant.


BACK LINE


FRANK
GUMBLETON
ANTHONY
DANIHER
LEO
BARRY
GanmainUngarie / Turvey ParkDeniliquin
North MelbourneSth Melb / Sydney / EssendonSydney


HALF BACK LINE


NEALE DANIHERBERNARD
TOOHEY
DENIS 'DINNY' RYAN
UngarieBaroogaAlbury
EssendonGeelong / Sydney / FootscrayFitzroy


CENTRE LINE


DAVID
MURPHY
BRETT
KIRK
SHANE
CRAWFORD
Turvey ParkNorth AlburyFinley
SydneySydneyHawthorn


HALF FORWARD LINE


TERRY
DANIHER (vc)
WAYNE
CAREY (c)
DENNIS
CARROLL
Ungarie / Ariah Pk - MiroolNorth WaggaGanmain
South Melb / EssendonNorth Melbourne / AdelaideSouth Melb / Sydney


FORWARD LINE


JOHN LONGMIREBILL
MOHR
LUKE
BREUST
Corowa-RutherglenWaggaTemora
North MelbourneSt KildaHawthorn


RUCK                               RUCK-ROVER                              ROVER


BRIAN GLEESONPAUL
KELLY
HAYDN BUNTON Snr
BerrigunWagga TigersAlbury
St KildaSydneyFitzroy


INTERCHANGE

BILL BROWNLESSHARRY
LAMPE
JerilderieWagga
GeelongSouth Melbourne


GORDON
STRANG
CAMERON
MOONEY
East AlburyTurvey Park
RichmondNorth Melb / Geelong


COACH


ALLAN
JEANS
Finley
St Kilda / Hawthorn / Richmond

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Revisiting The Schedule via The TwentyThree

Late last year, after the AFL schedule was released, an estimation of which team had received a harsh draw was posted on the blog.

Back then, the expectation was listed as per the below.
WHO HAS THE ROUGH END OF THE FIXTURE?
RNKTEAMLAD POSFMI RANK PTSSUM OPP'N PTSHOME / AWAY BONUSTOUGH DRAW INDEX
1Port Adelaide513152345806.61
2Hawthorn2144124514-1006.47
3Sydney/SMFC11393231791006.19
4Geelong3122823671-2005.53
5North Melbourne61226231022004.50
6Fremantle4130422869-1003.84
7Essendon71121231972003.60
8Richmond81147232151003.57
9Adelaide10122922952-1003.26
10West Coast9120323028-1002.96
11Collingwood111039230312001.69
12Brisbane Lions15874234681000.82
13Carlton1310982399100.07
14Gold Coast1298922905-200-0.83
15GWS1678723196-100-1.89
16W Bulldogs/FFC1490922908-100-1.99
17Melbourne17796229600-2.02
18St Kilda1870322710100-2.37

This differed with the analysis by Rohan Connolly at The Age (in the previous link), but it did highlight that the AFL appears to have achieved the objective they set out.
Mainly, that the stronger teams have a tougher schedule, and all the weaker teams of 2014 have an easier run.

Look at the above table. All top 8 teams from 2014 have hard draws in 2015. As too the worst 8 with the easiest draw.




Heading into 2015, a new site that also details footy analytics and other ephemera was brought to the attention of the FootyMaths Institute.
The TwentyThree.

And in a pair of posts, they examined the fairness of the AFL schedule. But instead of a 'whole of season' approach, they broke it down into two halves of the season... Rounds 1 to 10 and rounds 11 to 23. Further they broke the analysis down into thirds of those halves, so all up you can read about how they see teams facing each sixth of the season.
And they make for interesting reading, so click the links and have a look.

There is also a lot more over at The TwentyThree, including their 'power ranking' of teams before the season starts, and some thoughts and opinion on the AFL collective bargaining agreement. Both are worthy reads.




But back to the AFL schedule. Breaking down the season draw into manageable season chunks is a great idea... one worth mimicking.

In the usual FootyMaths style, the KISS principle and normal football protocols are employed.
Accordingly the season is broken down to two halves and four quarters... synergistic with the game itself.

FIRST HALF

Looking at the first half of 2015, and using the FotyMaths rankings for each team matched against opponents rank with expectations of outcome, the below tables can be produced.

Rounds 1 to 5.

WHO HAS THE TOUGH FIXTURE?ROUNDS 1-5
RNKTEAMLAD POSFMI RANK PTSSUM OPP'N PTSHOME / AWAY BONUSTOUGH DRAW INDEX
1Port Adelaide51315659204.16
2North Melbourne61226608702.57
3W Bulldogs/FFC14909641302.29
4Fremantle41304593401.81
5Hawthorn21441579801.40
6Geelong312286107-3001.29
7Essendon7112156741001.04
8Sydney/SMFC11393543600.74
9Adelaide10122952840-0.37
10Melbourne1779654560-0.54
11Brisbane Lions158745604-200-0.55
12Carlton1310985213100-0.56
13St Kilda1870350340-1.56
14West Coast9120349720-1.57
15Richmond811474904100-1.75
16Collingwood11103950250-1.75
17GWS1678750830-2.21
18Gold Coast129894388200-3.53

Port Adelaide will need to be prepared for a rough first 5 rounds (4 of 5 games vs top 8 opponents), while the Suns have a relatively easy start (only 1 top 8 opponent met).

Rounds 6 to 10.

WHO HAS THE TOUGH FIXTURE?ROUNDS 6-10
RNKTEAMLAD POSFMI RANK PTSSUM OPP'N PTSHOME / AWAY BONUSTOUGH DRAW INDEX
1Richmond8114760042002.67
2Geelong3122858542002.13
3Gold Coast129896305-1002.06
4North Melbourne6122658141001.62
5Essendon71121577901.17
6Sydney/SMFC1139355511000.92
7Melbourne177966096-1000.80
8Fremantle413045632-1000.23
9West Coast91203546000.13
10St Kilda1870356561000.00
11Collingwood1110395386100-0.06
12GWS167875551-100-0.60
13Carlton1310985511-200-0.61
14Adelaide1012294881100-1.22
15Hawthorn214414668-100-1.51
16Brisbane Lions158745024100-1.63
17Port Adelaide513154929-200-2.12
18W Bulldogs/FFC149094904-100-3.08

Richmond will need to bank a few wins from those first 5 rounds as it gets harder in the next 5 (meeting Collingwood as their only non top 8 team in these rounds). The Bulldogs get a reprieve after a hard first 5 games with 2 clashes against the top 8.

First Half Of The Season - Rounds 1 to 10.

Combining the above two quarters produces the below summary of the first half of the season (10 rounds).
WHO HAS THE TOUGH FIXTURE?ROUNDS 1-10
RNKTEAMLAD POSFMI RANK PTSSUM OPP'N PTSHOME / AWAY BONUSTOUGH DRAW INDEX
1North Melbourne61315119001004.19
2Geelong3122611960-1003.43
3Essendon7909114521002.21
4Fremantle4130411566-1002.04
5Port Adelaide5144111521-2002.04
6Sydney/SMFC11228109871001.66
7Richmond81121109083000.92
8Melbourne17139311552-1000.25
9Hawthorn2122910466-100-0.11
10W Bulldogs/FFC1479611318-100-0.79
11Carlton1387410724-100-1.17
12West Coast91098104320-1.44
13Gold Coast1270310692100-1.47
14St Kilda18120310690100-1.57
15Adelaide10114710165100-1.59
16Collingwood11103910411100-1.81
17Brisbane Lions1578710628-100-2.18
18GWS1698910634-100-2.81
 
The first half follows the pattern laid out by the AFL (of top 8 teams having hard draws, etc) quite well, with seven of the toughest draw belonging to 2014's best 8.
Missing that 8, just, is Hawthorn, who are replaced by Melbourne.

Dees fans, don't fret. As before, over the whole season the FootyMaths 'tough schedule' index gave you 17th. So after round 10, it all gets easier.
"Downhill skiing" to toss about a well worn cliche.

North Melbourne, newly minted in 2014 as a finalist capable of winning a final, have a mountain to climb in 2015 with the first ten games deemed as the league's toughest.


How does the above compare to The TwentyThree...?
In some cases, there is agreement. For example, North, Port, Essendon and Geelong are in both lists top 5 for hardest schedule.

In other cases, there is disparity. Hawthorn the example here with the FootyMaths system listing them as 9th toughest, with The23 puts them as 14th.




SECOND HALF

The second half of the season is considered from rounds 11 to 23 (total of 13 rounds). Three of these rounds are the bye rounds (rounds 11, 12, and 13), so in effect there are 12 games in this half, both split into 6 round blocks.

Rounds 11 to 17.

WHO HAS THE TOUGH FIXTURE?ROUNDS 11-17
RNKTEAMLAD POSFMI RANK PTSSUM OPP'N PTSHOME / AWAY BONUSTOUGH DRAW INDEX
1Hawthorn2144171831002.40
2Port Adelaide5131571071002.40
3Sydney/SMFC11393720602.28
4Adelaide1012297049-1001.55
5Carlton1310987105-1001.41
6Collingwood111039695901.00
7Essendon71121668300.56
8Fremantle41304658800.51
9Brisbane Lions15874685600.41
10West Coast912036725-1000.34
11North Melbourne6122663922000.14
12Geelong312286261100-0.14
13Gold Coast129896553-100-0.68
14Richmond811476488-200-0.76
15GWS1678763320-1.24
16W Bulldogs/FFC1490959310-2.76
17St Kilda187035556100-3.05
18Melbourne1779658320-3.27

Here comes Melbourne now, banking all the easy games in the third quarter. Two of last years finalists in Geelong and Essendon are the Demons opponents in those 6 games.
And Hawthorn also start to be properly tested now too. Toughest sector for them, but even then they only face three top 8 teams from 6 games (Sydney, Fremantle and Essendon).


Rounds 18 to 23.

WHO HAS THE TOUGH FIXTURE?ROUNDS 18-23
RNKTEAMLAD POSFMI RANK PTSSUM OPP'N PTSHOME / AWAY BONUSTOUGH DRAW INDEX
1St Kilda18703766801.97
2Richmond81147704501.72
3Adelaide101229696601.69
4Hawthorn214416865-1000.96
5Gold Coast129897053-1000.90
6Collingwood11103967831000.83
7GWS1678770261000.58
8West Coast912036575-1000.34
9Brisbane Lions1587468941000.33
10Geelong312286679-300-0.15
11W Bulldogs/FFC149096534100-0.18
12Port Adelaide5131561330-0.26
13Fremantle413046029100-0.28
14Carlton1310986162200-0.96
15Sydney/SMFC113935975-100-1.34
16Melbourne1779663620-1.43
17Essendon711216100100-1.51
18North Melbourne612265957-100-2.14

As the season grinds on, the last 6 games could be a real struggle for some. But the numbers above suggest the AFL has balanced out the last rounds quite well.
The toughest schedule team, St Kilda, has the lowest 'worst' index number of the four quarters, and also the easiest schedule (North Melbourne) has the highest 'easiest' index number.

In the run home, North play Richmond and Fremantle as their toughest opponents in 6 games, while St Kilda have Sydney, Fremantle and Port Adelaide as major headaches.


Second Half Of The Season - Rounds 11 to 23.


WHO HAS THE TOUGH FIXTURE?ROUNDS 11-23
RNKTEAMLAD POSFMI RANK PTSSUM OPP'N PTSHOME / AWAY BONUSTOUGH DRAW INDEX
1Hawthorn211471404803.36
2Adelaide10122814015-1003.24
3Port Adelaide5989132401002.14
4Collingwood111226137411001.83
5Richmond8112113532-2000.96
6Sydney/SMFC1139313181-1000.94
7Brisbane Lions15796137491000.74
8West Coast9130413299-2000.67
9Carlton131203132671000.45
10Fremantle4703126181000.23
11Gold Coast12103913605-2000.22
12Geelong378712940-200-0.28
13GWS16109813358100-0.66
14Essendon7122912783100-0.94
15St Kilda18144113223100-1.08
16North Melbourne687412349100-2.00
17W Bulldogs/FFC14131512465100-2.94
18Melbourne17909121950-4.70

Compiling the last two quarters of the season into the half summary yields us the above table, where it becomes a tough run to the finals for the reigning Premiers, followed closely by Adelaide.
A sure test of the Hawks mettle as they head (almost unanimously tipped by pundits) into an other finals tilt.

On the easier side of the ledger, both the Bulldogs and Melbourne should find some joy through the last days of winter. Melbourne in particular seem to have a nice old time of it ahead, with two thirds of the 12 matches against 2014's non-finalists.


How does the above compare to The TwentyThree...?
Again, some consistencies with both systems positioning the Hawks and Crows as having hard runs, as well as North, Essendon, the Bulldogs and St Kilda in the easiest 4 in both cases.

Similarly, there is interesting variations as well. In this half of the season, The23 lists the GWS Giants as having the 5th toughest run, but the FootyMaths table lists them as 13th.

Swings, meet round-a-bouts.




All of the above is an interesting exercise in theory and mathematics of shedule toughness estimation and assessment.
And (if time allows) it would be good to revisit these tables at each break during the season.

Further, it is good to see and acknowledge another footy blogger on the landscape. One with interesting concepts on Footy Metrics and a keen mind for opinion writing.
Someone to read with interest over the season.