Wednesday, 5 April 2017


With so much media attention on footy these days by the mainstream media, cable TV and even bloggers and podcasters, then you can expect all sorts of takes on the free kick situations.

Be they takes on how a rule has been 'exploited' to earn a free kick (it wasn't), or
how a team that gives away so many frees needs clarification on why they are yielding so many frees (you would think the preseason rules missive was properly communicated), or
how the 'noise of affirmation' drives more frees a certain way more than another.

On the last point, there may be something in it, given the analysis by Matt / The Arc Footy. Its a good analysis that basically highlights a home team bias across the board since 2000, and a certain Perth team as an outlier in that area.

And some of the ESPN analysis goes against this article in the ABC News site on 'free kick myths', particularly the comment about the home team advantage not being key. The WCE data makes a prima facie case that it does.

As a counterpoint, the ABC article does highlight a few basics premise of frees. Firstly, that the free kick count doesn't have to be even. Ever.
Also some of the reasoning behind why teams get frees. First to the ball and/or tackling skill are two cases examined.

There is no clear cut solution to the cries of the footy fan about 'umpiring bias'. We all see footy through the prism of our allegiances, and see slights or bias accordingly.

The game is designed to be shades of grey. Our perfectly imperfect game. Of balls that bounce at odd angles. Of moments where a split second can be the difference between a marked ball or a dropped mark A centimeter between 'Baaalll!' and 'Too high!'

Let the myriad of variances wash over and around you, for it is what makes football great.

The Wash-Up.

It was conceded pre-season that the returnees for Essendon would make model tippers all wonder how to adjust their systems and strengths without undue subjective tinkering.
The FMI system undertook no tinkering and so will always suffer on Essendon tips until they return to their natural level, Consider that when tipping.

W Bulldogs/FFCby3pts52W Bulldogs/FFCby23W Bulldogs/FFC+21Sydney/SMFC-20
GWSby65pts90GWSby102GWS+15Gold Coast-27
Brisbane Lionsby1pts50Essendonby27Brisbane Lions-12Essendon+31
West Coastby46pts82West Coastby19West Coast-9St Kilda+9
Geelongby17pts63Geelongby1Geelong-6North Melbourne+5
Port Adelaideby45pts81Port Adelaideby89Port Adelaide+29Fremantle-28

Also, leaning on that estimation of Essendon is the value of Richmond. Was their 2016 year an aberration, and 2017 is seeing a return? After two rounds, it is too early to be clear on that point.

All but 'no change' in positional rankings, though the points have been adjusted.
Sydney were the top ranked team heading into 2017, and in 2 games they have slipped to 3rd. Also moving two spots after two rounds are the Bulldogs, on the rise.
4West Coast1292-9-
5W Bulldogs/FFC128421+1
8Port Adelaide120230-
9North Melbourne11285-
12St Kilda9989-
16Gold Coast810-26-
18Brisbane Lions618-11-

Essendon's return to their natural level will, by the look of their current ranking, be a while yet. Worth noting prior to the banning of 10 players, their ranking was around the 850 - 900 points range.

The Round Ahead.

Expectations are for an easy run by the tipsters. The only close one is Essendon to lose to Carlton by 7, but as before, consider how undervalued modellers are on the Bombers.

R 3
North MelbournevGWSBellGWSby24pts32
RichmondvWest CoastMCGWest Coastby21pts34
Port AdelaidevAdelaideAdelAdelaideby22pts34
FremantlevW Bulldogs/FFCSubiW Bulldogs/FFCby34pts25
St KildavBrisbane LionsDockSt Kildaby53pts85
Gold CoastvHawthornCarrHawthornby30pts28

Surely none of the above will be 'decided by an umpiring decision'... None of them ever are, because if the ball bounced differently, or if that was not paid a mark earlier, or if the wind wasn't so strong, or if...

You get the point.

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