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.

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