Saturday, 21 December 2013

2013 Review - Out Of The Eight

Our season review continues... here are our 13th to 9th best ranked teams after season 2013.


BRISBANE LIONS
Rank: 13th (-)     1018 pts (+40)
AFL Ladder: 12th       10 W / 12 L

A season of neither great advances nor great improvements for the Lions.
And the nothing of a year that was 2013 was possibly one driver for the Voss exit.

As a team we ranked in the lower echelons, improvement would have been an expectation for the Loins at seasons start. Our data suggests that the first 6 rounds saw the Lions go backward, and the writing appear on the wall for Voss.
Brisbane did though start to improve, but not enough to prevent the axing of  Voss at the conclusion of Round 19. That said, there was a clear post-bye improvement.

The raw data shows that Brisbane did cop three losses by 10 goal or more, but we never considered them our worst team of the week.
We also had predicted them winning between 12 and 6 games, so by actually getting 10 they were at the top of that bracket.

Where to from here?
Basically, with a new coach at the helm in Justin Leppitsch, the first year should be all about treading water at a minimum (i.e. not going backwards), and a possible stab at 7th-8th if all goes well.



ESSENDON *
Rank: 12th (-)     1054 pts (+15)
AFL Ladder: 9th*       14 W / 8 L

For Essendon, season 2013 was their 'season from hell'.
It  saw them derided nation-wide as, at worst - Performance Enhancing drug cheats, and at a minimum - so lacking in good medical and managerial governance that they should be labelled a 'pharmacologically experimental environment never adequately controlled or challenged or documented' by their own internal investigation.

On field it was a season that started with great highs and inspirational wins, that eventually petered out into an ongoing slow moving train wreck of a team that ran out of puff. A bit like 2012, and 2011 (etc). In fact the chart at right looks a lot like that from 2012. They also were our worst performed team 4 weeks of the year... with 3 in a row at the end of the season.

The final 'red hot poker up the you-know-where' to the Bombers faithful was to see all that effort vanish before their eyes, and before the finals as the AFL ruled they would sit out September... though looking at those last 8 weeks, you would wonder if they would have made an impact in September at all.

And looking at our estimation of the Bombers pre-2013 season, we expected a 12-win, 10th place season, so they exceeded our expectations on that front. Rankings points wise, another year of little change.

Where to from here?
Another team with another new coach (...sort of). Essendon try to reshape themselves as clean and eco-friendly by recycling Bomber Thompson into the Hird-seat for one season. How he will cope with the knowledge that what ever he does will mean little as he is out the door after 2014, we don't know.
The club though needs to get in the the finals next season as a minimum... but more importantly, they need to not have half-seasons again. No more great starts followed by a 10 week limp to the line.
That is the real challenge for Bomber's Bombers.



PORT ADELAIDE
Rank: 11th (+3)     1071 pts (+230)
AFL Ladder: 7th       12 W / 10 L

Port were a bit of a basket case at the end of 2012, but have become one of the headline stories of 2013.
With oft-overlooked and finally-installed coach Ken Hinkley at the helm (and morning TV pest Kochie in the big chair), the Power pulled themselves from the brink and into the finals.
The chart on the shows all the teal ink on the right of the zero mark as they out-performed expectations across the AFL commentariat.

Certainly they outperformed our estimation. 12 wins was outside ourt predicted window of 5 to 10 wins.
That said, we (and The Age) also considered them to have one of the easier draws, so that helps.

Where to from here?
Well, given that we think they over-performed in 2013, we expect a similar season (12 wins) in 2014 to be acceptable, as a way to cement that growth.
Less than that will highlight an interesting 'bounce' in player performance vs freshness of coaches voice. This was also seen in 2012 - 2013 after Adelaide did so well under the first Sanderson season, but fell back under his second.



WEST COAST
Rank: 10th (+3)     1098 pts (-228)
AFL Ladder: 13th       9 W / 13 L

Before the season, most media pundits thought the West Coast Eagles were monty's to make the top 4 (including us with the Eagles as top 8 certainties). Instead they became one of the seasons biggest disapointments. By our rankings, they suffered the second biggest drop of all clubs in 2013.
Does the football world over-value the Eagles? The 2013 return of 13th is closer to its 2010 form (18th) than either the 2011 or 2012 seasons (4th and 5th respectively). Or has it really been that the Worsfold message went stale?

The worrying point for the West Coast was that the scale of decline was all in the post-bye period, where they went 3 wins from 11 games, including 3 losses by 60 points or more in the last three games of the year.

Where to from here?
Just one more case of 'another season, another club with another new coach'. Can the voice of Adam Simpson bring the Eagles another finals tilt? Will the advantage of a good draw help them push up the table in 2014?
We think the unknown of the new coach combined with the recent inconsistent form means a 'must finish top 10' would be a pass mark.



ADELAIDE
Rank: 9th (-1)     1164 pts (-76)
AFL Ladder: 11th       10 W / 12 L

Adelaide finished season 2013 in 11th on the back of a 2nd place finish in 2012. When they finished 2nd, we only ranked them as 8th, which was the cause of some consternation from Crows fans. Our rankings try to take a longer view of clubs, so we felt a little vindicated (possibly not the right word) when in 2013 they returned to perform closer to how we rated them.
Given they were 2nd in 2012, the draw for Adelaide was also relatively easy. This makes this years 10 and 12 season a disappointment, and one they wont want to see repeated in 2013 (with an easy draw, as determined by The Age, OR a moderate draw, by our method).

Further to the disappointment was that we expected them to finish between 3rd and 9th, so 11th is a fail. The 10 wins is just inside our worst case scenario.

Where to from here?
Playing at a new ground will change the Adelaide dynamic, and with another season behind him, it will be interesting to see the Sanderson approach in 2014. Surely for his security, a top 8 finish, and 12 wins is the target.

Next, the 4 teams ranked 8th to 5th, with one surprise!

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