First, the final tracking of performance of Essendon under Hird, and then, the more worrying trend for the AFL, the increasing disparity in matchday results
On Hird TimesLast month, a case was made here that Essendon and Carlton would be best served by re-setting their club operations to be aligned to more business frame, and unhook themselves from outside influences such as coteries and other businessmen who like to wield power. This was written on the back of calls for James Hird to leave, mixed with internal reviews and external calls for retaining the status quo... at least for the season.
As it happens, the 'support of the board' was tested when (as the story rather unconvincingly goes) James Hird offered his resignation to the board who considered it, then
As it happens so often, a board was in the position of having to do what it said it would not, and also in this case do it prior to the completion of a 'full review' of the football department. Perhaps it would have been best to wait the remainder of the season, review all aspects of football and made the change as part of that reform process.
But the events of football rarely offer anyone the luxury of time.
So, the Hird-era is over. The curtain finally drawn.
So, using the FootyMaths rankings points as a measure of the club, it should be worthwhile to refresh the chart that shows where the club is at, and has been since the last years of the Sheedy Era.
The decline this year has been extraordinary, with 266 points dropped in 11 consecutive games. A run of games only matched by the Sheedy 2006 team (11 consecutive drops in ranking points), but the actual points loss was 55 points less. An unprecedented lowering of the Essendon colours this year.
Yes, Hird has been able to manufacture 5 wins this year, which is 2 more than that Sheedy side that he played in. So 2015 does not come off as worse when completely compared.
But as it stands, that downward trend has little chance of being turned around with any degree of significance with 3 games to be played.
Blow OutsEarlier in the year, it was noted here that the 2015 season, with improvements to some clubs' performance, was still headed for a record for the number of games with margins of 60+ points.
With another 2 months of football under our belts, the below table shows the current situation.
|2015 BLOW OUT BIN|
|MARGINS OVER||140||pts||0||2013 mark||1||0%||of benchmark|
|MARGINS OVER||120||pts||1||2013 mark||5||20%||of benchmark|
|MARGINS OVER||100||pts||4||2013 mark||8||50%||of benchmark|
|14||Essendon||8||4||52||St Kilda||25||12||162||St Kilda||by||110|
|MARGINS OVER||80||pts||11||2013 mark||18||61%||of benchmark|
|20||W Bulldogs/FFC||24||9||153||Melbourne||8||7||55||W Bulldogs/FFC||by||98|
|7||West Coast||21||9||135||Gold Coast||6||7||43||West Coast||by||92|
|5||West Coast||18||12||120||GWS||4||9||33||West Coast||by||87|
|18||Essendon||5||10||40||W Bulldogs/FFC||19||13||127||W Bulldogs/FFC||by||87|
|2||North Melbourne||20||13||133||Brisbane Lions||7||9||51||North Melbourne||by||82|
|MARGINS OVER||60||pts||37||2013 mark||41||90%||of benchmark|
|12||W Bulldogs/FFC||22||14||146||Brisbane Lions||11||8||74||W Bulldogs/FFC||by||72|
|17||Brisbane Lions||5||8||38||North Melbourne||16||14||110||North Melbourne||by||72|
|2||West Coast||20||11||131||Carlton||9||8||62||West Coast||by||69|
|5||Gold Coast||18||10||118||Brisbane Lions||7||12||54||Gold Coast||by||64|
|18||Carlton||8||6||54||North Melbourne||18||10||118||North Melbourne||by||64|
|19||W Bulldogs/FFC||19||14||128||Port Adelaide||9||10||64||W Bulldogs/FFC||by||64|
|20||Brisbane Lions||20||11||131||Carlton||9||13||67||Brisbane Lions||by||64|
|18||Port Adelaide||17||10||112||St Kilda||6||13||49||Port Adelaide||by||63|
|9||Melbourne||8||6||54||Port Adelaide||18||7||115||Port Adelaide||by||61|
As per the above list, season 2015 is only 5 games away from breaching the 2013 highwater mark for lopsided outcomes. With 27 home and away games plus 9 other finals, there is a strong chance that the 2013 mark will be bested.
The only bright spot in the above figures is that there are currently no +140 point margins recorded yet, and all brackets from 80+ and above are not likely to be worse than 2013. This shows that while there are more 60+ point blowouts this year, they are restricted to the lower end of the scale.
To be reviewed at seasons end.