Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Fixture Reform- Finals [3/5]

In these two previous posts, we described our proposal for change and the reasoning behind it, as well as detail on implementation.

In the next few posts, we look at other areas that the reforms can impact on, and first up...


We propose no changes to the structure of the finals system, nor its execution. The current finals 8 system is retained. Only the selection criteria for teams is modified, because simply an 8 team system is not wholly divisible by 3. Therefore a new process is employed.

Under our system, the top team from each of the 3 conferences go through to the finals automatically, and take three of the four double chance spots.
The conference winner with the better record is slotted into the first qualifying final game, and the lesser two performed conference winners play each other in the second qualifying final.

To complete the remaining 5 finals slots, ‘wild cards' are used. These are allocated too the best performed of the 9 teams that finish in 2nd, 3rd and 4th in each conference.
And the best of those 9 is rewarded with the last double chance slot, and is scheduled to play the first qualifying final (against the best of the conference winners).

The next 4 best teams then fill the two elimination finals match slots, based on season merit.

This completes the allocation of teams into the finals. There is a reasonable chance that the best of the 2nd to 4th finished teams could be scheduled to play their own conference winners in the first week of the finals. We don’t recommend altering that, as by merit both teams deserve those places.

From the allocation of teams onward, the finals system does not change.

We suggest that the three conference winners alone gain automatic selection as reward for gaining that title. It helps give those conference championships value beyond a simple award.

Our modelling has also shown occasions where a 2nd place team could have a better record than a conference winner. In that case, the second placed team performed better, but could still earn a double chance finals spot (if they have the 4th best overall record), or at least an elimination finals spot.

In allocating wild card spots, we suggest taking the results from the best 9 non-conference winners... that is, positions 2, 3 and 4 of each group. We have chosen this as our selection criteria, as in our testing and modeling of this system, as there is a chance a deserving team misses out.
We have seen occasions in our modelling where a team finishing 4th in a conference misses out on a wild card slot even though it has a better record than another team that gains a wild card.

To help in the understanding of the finals allocations, an example of one of our data modeling results is attached.

Working through a season, we could devise the three conference tables as at right.

For those wondering, the match scores were determined by the following excel calculation:
x = a teams highest score from 2012, less 10%
y = a teams lowest score from 2012, plus 10%
This calculation was done to ensure there is weighting to the teams to reflect their strength, but also randomise the results to a degree, creating occasional upsets.

For example: In a game between Hawthorn and Sydney, the scores were determined thus:
   HAWTHORN: a random number between 162 and 76
   SYDNEY: a random number between 124 and 77.
So in that case, there is a good overlap of scoring windows, creating win chances for both teams.

The conferences are therefore tabled separately, and conference winners and finals spots determined. In this instance, Hawthorn, Adelaide and Collingwood are conference winners and gain automatic finals spots (above the solid line).

The other nine teams listed below the solid line and above the dotted line are the teams in the running for the wild cards:
- Richmond, Geelong and Fremantle.
- North Melbourne, West Coast and Essendon.
- St Kilda, Sydney and Carlton.
Based on merit, Collingwood with the best record play the best performed non-conference winning team (Richmond) in the First Qualifying Final.
The other two conference winners, Adelaide and Hawthorn, then enter the Second Qualifying Final.

Elimination Finals are filled by the next 4 teams with the best records that finished 2nd to 4th in each conference.
In this modelled example, the Elimination Finals are between St Kilda and Sydney, and North Melbourne and Geelong.

The Finals Series then play out as per the normal system.

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