At that time, Carlton, Essendon and St Kilda were all just out of the 8, and combinations of wins and losses could have brought any of them into the finals. Fremantle held the 8th spot.
But we instead looked at who was better in a head-to-head, top 11 matches only analysis, and thought that Carlton the better record and would be unlucky to miss out. Against the then top 11 teams they were 4 wins and 8 losses (92.7%).
Next in line was Essendon, also having a season of 4 wins and 8 losses (81.2%) against the top 11 teams.
But on Friday night they too blew up, against Richmond...
Which left St Kilda and Fremantle, both with 3 wins and 8 losses against the top 11 teams.
With St Kilda easily defeating the GWS (as expected), they were still a chance at the last finals spot until Fremantle won away against North Melbourne. The finalists were set in place, and the Saints missed out.
So now lets look to the future by looking back as how the top 8 teams performed against each other.
Extracting out all those games, we can create the table as at right.
Again, as the number of matches played is uneven, match ratio is employed to sort into an order.
With this table, there is a clear fractioning of teams that are more likely to win and those not.
North Melbourne, Geelong and Fremantle have all lost more than they have won against quality opposition this season. And looking at Geelong. and Fremantle in particular, you can wonder about the impact they will have come finals time.
All three teams do have some players with finals experience, so they may put up a decent show in September.
Standing On The Outside
Outside the 8, there are 3 teams who should feel unlucky that they are not part of September action.
Essendon and Carlton both have better winning records against the top 8 teams than Geelong and Fremantle (looking at the match ratio numbers). Their percentages are nothing to get excited about though.
We also think that Richmond should feel aggrieved about losing a few close games (as we blogged about earlier this year: 'A Tale of Two Seasons'), as it has clearly cost them a finals berth. The Tigers' percentage of 99.1% against the finalists shows they have been very competitive in 2012.