Lets review some of the big statements in what was our 7th ever (footballing) post.
At the foot of the table, we suggested these teams will hold up the ladder for everyone else...
"Greater Western Sydney, Gold Coast and Port Adelaide.
Cant see any guaranteed wins for either of these teams, and are prepared to be entirely wrong on the 2012 Spooner (i.e. I wouldn't be surprised if Port sink clearly to the bottom). Only candidate for jumping from this group would be Gold Coast.".And of course, we expect no prizes for tipping the Gold Coast or the Giants as cellar-dwellers. Port managed a better year than we expected, but it was still quite a poor year for them.
Missing Finals Action.
We thought that the 2012 season would be another round of no September action for
"Brisbane, Essendon, Richmond, Adelaide, Melbourne, Western Bulldogs, and Fremantle.
-Brisbane are still in re-build phase and may be finals candidates in 2014, but not before then.
-Similarly Richmond, but perhaps 2013 will have them in the 8.
-Essendon will always live by the candle that is the Hird-factor... but it wont be enough to power them back to health.
-Adelaide may well have the FlabCup, but really... more work to be done.
-Melbourne. Do I need to add more? OK then how about 'flip a coin'. Talent is there, but consistency?
-Western Bulldogs will also be re-building, and will be the most likely to break from this group into the 8.
-Fremantle. Same old, same old. When will you learn to win away?"Self-congratulations never look good, but nonethless we were quite right about Essendon, who fell away after a good start... injuries knocked them about, and the playing list just isn't there yet for the Bombers. And to the Bombres fans that doubted our judgement and slated Essendon for the top 8, well... we will call that a win for us.
Happy to also say we were right about Richmond, who had a breakout year. If they had of won a few close games could well have been in the 8, and may have made out predictions out even more.
We think pundits basically wrote of Brisbane. While we had them outside the top 8, a return of 10 wins (5 clear of the teams below them) means they had a fair season.
We need to admit 'we were wrong' about the Crows and Dockers. It was quite surprising that Adelaide continuing their Flab Cup form into 'real footy' and parlaying that into a real finals tilt! Quite a win for the Sanderson in turning the club about.
We say 'it seems' because we are not sure... something for later, or someone else to pick apart.
And just how wrong we were about the Western Bulldogs... not only entirely not 'likely to break into the top 8', but lucky to have not finished last.
Hindsight is a wonderful thing, as it makes our call of loading North Melbourne into the eight as inspired! And we were also on the money about the value of 8th spot, but you could mount a case about that for every 8th spot since the introduction of the final 8 system.
But of course, we also had Carlton and the Saints in as well, which just goes to prove our predictive numbers pre-season were not as powerful as we thought. As well as the aforementioned "Bulldogs could sneak 8th" tosh... Oh dear!
"North Melbourne, West Coast, St. Kilda, Carlton, and Sydney
-Another of the key boffin over-rides, North Melbourne. Stats pull them into 9th (with the Dogs in 8th), but the thought is that the Roos are on the up, and the Dogs have more work to be done. But its a close one. An 8th spot that is probably a charity show (like the Bombers of 2011)
-West Coast could break from this group and join the genuine flag challengers. Real progression last season has then as possibly the best-ever Spooners (in 2010).
-St. Kilda get into the top 8 purely on past history and quality of list... but its an old list. Lets note them as 'most likely to fall out of the 8'.
-Carlton will be there or there-abouts, but no flag for you.
-Sydney will keep on keeping on... decent list, play their home ground well and still grind out wins."
Yep, that first bullet point is a bit embarrassing, and we have covered it above. Moving on...
A real pity about the West Coast of 2012 was that they were genuine challengers for a flag, but tailed off in the last half of the season to miss the top 4. Given a top 4 spot, a Grand Final beckoned.
The Saints and Carlton... a case of 'what could have been'. Carlton certainly were contented flag favourites at one stage. Gee, they would be happy with that headline now... yeah sure!
St Kilda seemed to bounce in and out of the eight most of the year. If a few close games fell the other way (as we highlighted during the season), then our tip would have come home. With two or three of those losses by 2 goals converted to wins... what could have been for the Saints.
The Swans seem to have done exactly what we predicted... re-generate a decent list, win at home, keep on grinding out wins. The fact that they worked so hard for each other, particularly in the back half of the year to win the Premiership, is testament to their club. We also think most pundits under-rated Sydney, and only a few thought they were a quality side 'flying under the radar'. Kudos to the Bloods.
The Best Three of 2012
Once again, the algorithms credited Geelong (like the Bulldogs) with too much power when they spat out the predictions with the Cats on top. Certainly, they did well enough to hold a top 2 ranking by our system, but they lost enough games along the way to exit the finals in the first round.
"And it seems to be the favorites of most...
Hawthorn, Geelong and Collingwood
-The three teams clearly from the stats... in fact the old C64 crunched out Geelong as the best team, but the boffins have had a bit of a think and knocked them back a peg (ageing players etc).
-Collingwood should keep sailing smoothly with a younger team, but they do have a new coach and alleged hubris that might up-end them.
-Hawthorn garnered a few media tips as the best of 2012, and they may be, but the FMI have them maybe 2 games off the top 2 places"Collingwood and Hawthorn retained a degree of our credibility buy performing well, but this season was noteworthy for the rise to prominence of the Hawks (our top ranked team). The 2012 premiership will be one remembered for slipping through the Hawks talons.
We would also make the same call for Collingwood. Clear rankings leaders, premiership hardened players and 'the anointed one' at the helm in a planned, managed seamless transition.
And sometimes management by committee doesn't work out so well either. Another season of lost opportunity.
All that said, we are happy with our first season's rankings, our pre-season predictions and we acknowledge there is room for improvement.
B- could do better
(self ascribed mark)