Saturday, 7 September 2013

Re-defining The Grand Pair

During the week, we blogged on the two grand finalists from 2012 having been the teams from that season to have the best record of the top 8 teams, and that we expect Geelong and Hawthorn to be this years grand finalists.

But can we really make such an assumption from just one data point?
We think it could be just coincidental and not an accurate line on predicting the future. So to prove or disprove this theory, we went back through all the top 8 finalists back to 2000 to see if there were any commonalities.

And while the analysis below is not so cut and dried, there are indicators to top 8 form and premierships. In most cases, if you finish in the top 3 or 4 places on this type of table, you have an excellent chance of winning a premiership.
And since 2008, this is more pronounced as the top three teams have always been in the premiership decider.
Further to that, in head to head top 8 team matches since 2008, the grand finalists have also come from teams with winning percentages amongst their peers of more than 60%

So, from our earlier post, we can consider Geelong and Hawthorn as premiership contenders along with Collingwood and Fremantle (who finish 3rd and 4th but equal on match ratio).
BUT.... we need to discount both Collingwood and Fremantle as they have sub 60% match ratio's.

Our original estimation still stands... that the 2013 grand final will be between Geelong and Hawthorn.

Supporting data (excluding 2012 and 2013, which is here)

2000 - ESSENDON     [1st at 90% vs. 5th at 44%]
Essendon, the best of the top 8 won the premiership, defeating Melbourne.

The data shows the Dons as clearly the best of that year, while Melbourne at 4 wins from 9 attempts against top 8 opponents were perhaps lucky to be there.

2001 - BRISBANE LIONS     [1st at 60% vs. 3rd at 55%]
Brisbane's breakthrough premiership, and the start of their three-peat. In 2001 they finished best among their peers.

Essendon were defeated in the grand final, but with 6 wins from 11 they were worthy opponents.

2002 - BRISBANE LIONS     [5th at 50% vs. 3rd at 67%]
Brisbane's second premiership was won with them having only a 50/50 record against top 8 teams.

Defeated opponents Collingwood had a 67% win ratio over like opponents, which put them equal top. An opportunity missed for the Magpies.

2003 - BRISBANE LIONS     [4th at 46% vs. 5th at 46%]
Brisbane's final hat-trick premiership was won with a less that 50% record against top 8 teams, which proves that any team can win with the right mindset.

Collingwood also won through to the grand final with a similar win ratio.

The best team, Port Adelaide, were knocked out in the preliminary final... missing a golden opportunity

2004 - PORT ADELAIDE     [1st at 70% vs. 4th at 50%]
Redemption for Port Adelaide, this time topping the group and wining the flag.

Brisbane again finishing with a less than impressive ratio against top 8 teams.

2005 - SYDNEY     [5th at 46% vs. 2nd at 70%]
Sydney win a thriller of a game, and were under-performing against other top 8 teams through the season, at 5 from 11.

West Coast were much better at 70%, but couldn't win on the day. A chance lost for the Eagles.

A chance also lost for Adelaide who were the best of the season with 9 wins from 12 games

2006 - WEST COAST     [2nd at 64% vs. 7th at 38%]
West Coast and Sydney again played an epic, this time it was an Eagles win by 1 point. The Eagles again were the 2nd best team in matches against top 8 teams

Sydney also were well down when compared under this scale, winning only 3 from 8, but seemingly able to win in the finals series.

Another missed opportunity for the best team that year, Adelaide.

2007 - GEELONG     [1st at 70% vs. 4th at 50%]
Geelong arrive on the premiership stage and return the 'best among the top 8 as flag winners' to the table for the first time since 2000.

Defeated Port Adelade were a 50/50 team against the best 8 of the year.

2008 - HAWTHORN     [3rd at 60% vs. 1st at 89%]
The Hawks at 6 wins from 10 are able to upset the best team of the year.

Geelong with an 89% win record against top 8 teams are the first best ranked team to lose in the grand final since 2000.
More angst for Cat fans who think that was the one that got away!

2009 - GEELONG     [2nd at 60% vs. 1st at 90%]
Geelong win another flag after going through the season with 6 wins from 10 attempts.

St Kilda feel the burn of being the best performed team among the top 8, dropping only 1 regular season game, and miss out on a premiership.

2010 - COLLINGWOOD     [1st at 75% vs. 3rd at 67%]
 Another flag win by the best team among the top 8, although it took 2 tries to get over St Kilda.

The Saints missed out again, but this year they were not so dominant with only 6 wins and a draw from 9 starts.

2011 - GEELONG     [2nd at 73% vs. 1st at 82%]
In what now seems to be a pattern, Geelong win another premiership after finishing with 8 wins from 11 games against top 8 teams.

Collingwood were a better team all year though, winning 9 from 11, but still unable to clinch back to back flags.

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