Monday, March 28, 2011

AFL Power Rankings - What To Do With The Gold Coast Suns?

The AFL Power Rankings are meant to be a reflection of a team's form over their past 22 matches (discounting the pre-season), with more recent matches receiving a higher weighting. However, until next week, the total number of games the Gold Coast Suns will have played is zero. Hence, there is the potential for the Suns to add a great deal of instability into the rankings over their first few matches. This is not only because there will not be a lot of data by which to determine Gold Coast's ranking, but also because there will not be a lot of data to determine a team's relative performance against them. For example, if Carlton beats Gold Coast by 6 goals next week is that a relatively good result or bad result for the Blues?

I like the following solution best. I am going to assume that the Gold Coast, in their first season, are essentially the equivalent of the Brisbane Bears in their first season (1987). In their first season, the Bears had an average net margin over 22 rounds of -25.1 points. I will therefore populate each of the past 22 weeks of data for Gold Coast (thanks to Lauren for this part of the idea) with a net margin of -25.1 points.

The result is that Gold Coast currently sit 16th in the rankings, between Richmond and West Coast. Any team that played Gold Coast next week would have to beat them by 14 points or more (remember there is an adjustment of +12 points for playing in Queensland) for their performance to be considered above par. The best part about this solution is that Gold Coast's ranking will now change at broadly the same pace as other clubs: if they get off to a great start they will move up the rankings, but pretty much no faster than any other team near the bottom who has a few good games. And teams that play the Gold Coast will have their ranking no less affected than if they played any other team down the bottom of the rankings.

It may be that Gold Coast turn out to be a better/worse team than the 1987 Bears, but I think that's a reasonable expectation for them for now.

Until next week...

Sunday, March 27, 2011

AFL Power Rankings - Round 1

As promised, here is the first installment of the weekly AFL Power Rankings for 2011. Most of the results in Round 1 were consistent with the rankings post-2010 finals, so there is not much changing of positions from then. The big exception was Essendon smashing the Bulldogs, with the result that the Bombers fly up a couple of rungs, and the Bulldogs, continuing their rather average ending to 2010, crash from fifth to eighth. I'll figure out where to slot in new team the Gold Coast Suns when they play next week.

1 (Last week 1) Collingwood 39.9 (Last week 39.8)
2 (2) Geelong 28.7 (30.6)
3 (3) St. Kilda 14.6 (12.9)
4 (4) Hawthorn 10.5 (12.0)
5 (7) Sydney 3.4 (3.4)
6 (8) Adelaide 3.1 (1.6)
7 (6) Carlton 3.1 (4.2)
8 (5) Western Bulldogs 0.7 (8.2)
9 (9) Melbourne -7.2 (-7.1)
10 (10) North Melbourne -9.8 (-9.9)
11 (11) Fremantle -11.5 (-11.1)
12 (14) Essendon -18.2 (-25.4)
13 (12) Port Adelaide -20.8 (-21.0)
14 (13) Brisbane -21.3 (-21.7)
15 (15) Richmond -24.4 (-25.9)
16 (16) West Coast -26.1 (-26.3)

Friday, March 25, 2011

My SuperCoach Starting Line-Up For 2011

Plenty of cheap Gold Coast players, although all on the bench for Round 1 (because of the bye):

Defenders: Goddard, B (StK), Gibbs, B (Carl), Deledio, B (Rich), Grimes, J (Melb), Adcock, J (BL), Otten, A (Adel), Heppell, D (Ess), Toy, J (GC), Lower, N (Fre), Duigan, N (Carl).

Midfielders: Swan, D (Coll), Pendlebury, S (Coll), Bartel, J (Geel), Gaff, A (WC), Conca, R (Rich), Atley, S (NM), Swallow, D (GC), Bennell, H (GC), Harris, D (GC).

Rucks: Sandilands, A (Fre), Hale, D (Haw), Fraser, J (GC), Smith, Z (GC).

Forwards: Riewoldt, N (StK), Franklin, L (Haw), Pavlich, M (Fre), Goodes, A (Syd), Higgins, S (WB), Krakouer, A (Coll), Tapscott, L (Melb), Petrie, D (NM), Matera, B (GC), Darling, J (WC).

Sunday, March 13, 2011

My Top 5 Favourite Places to Drink in my Little Circle of Melbourne

5. SweatShop - Lonsdale St, CBD: This is a tough call between this bar, Black Pearl (Brunswick St, Fitzroy), Troika Bar (Little Lonsdale St, CBD), and Town Hall (Errol St, North Melbourne). All of them play great music, but I will go with Sweatshop because even if you don’t get a table you can still hang about, which doesn’t work so well in the other spots. The design of Sweatshop is simple enough: it’s essentially a bunker with a whole bunch of ‘1sts’ scrawled along the walls (all of them appear to be in-jokes, don’t try to understand them). But it has a decent atmosphere at any time of night (possibly because it always feels like it is 11pm there), making it a good stand-by for any night out in the CBD.

4. Berlin Bar – Corrs Lane, CBD: I’ve only dropped by Berlin Bar twice, but it’s certainly a place that makes an impression. First you have to walk up a flight of nondescript stairs to an equally nondescript door, and ring the bell for access. Once inside you walk past a large photo of Hitler (or Charlie Chaplin I suspect) standing over a globe, and then up to the bar itself, which has been divided into a very plush ‘West Berlin’ section, and a plush but faux-rundown ‘East Berlin’ section. The drinks menu itself is also fairly satisfying, with plenty of German beers, and a good range of cocktails. It’s not necessarily a place you would go to on a regular basis, given the degree of difficulty in obtaining access, but it’s worth making the trip at least once.

3. The Corner Hotel – Swan St, Richmond: In terms of design, the Corner Hotel is no better than any of the other pubs in the Swan St area; its rooftop beer garden is quite good, although not even necessarily among the best beer gardens in Richmond. But of course, that’s not what the Corner is most famous for: it’s the great line-up of bands that play at the venue each year. It’s pretty handy to have a beer upstairs and then walk down to the bandroom, and on some nights, to go back and forth between the two: music, beer, music, beer, and so on… It would rate higher, but getting up to the rooftop beer garden can sometimes be frustrating, and there’s some chance one of your party will be kicked out before the night is through.

2. Der Raum – Church St, Richmond: Der Raum is apparently considered one of the best bars in the world, and I would say with good reason. Any drink there is guaranteed to be some sort of experience: mine so far have been a Jamaican Black Strap served in a medicine bottle and wrapped in a little brown paper bag, and a coffee-flavoured cocktail that looked like a miniature stout. And they all taste great, hence justifying the relatively hefty price tag. Alas, Der Raum is soon to become a ‘members’ bar’, which may make it harder to gain access, but if I’m passing by and feeling wealthy I’ll still give it a shot.

1. Madame Brussels – Bourke St, CBD: Madame Brussels has pretty much everything you would want in a Melbourne bar: an outside rooftop area, kitsch d├ęcor, a back room parlour, good-looking wait staff, jugs of cocktails, and imported beers. And it used to be a brothel. Just about the perfect place to drink - except when it rains, that is …

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Finger Points Outwards - No. 32: The Australian "Housing Bubble"

While I'm still not prepared to definitively call it a 'housing bubble', I reckon this is a pretty convincing argument on why we should be at least a little concerned about Australian housing valuations.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Gig Review: MGMT - Palace Theatre, Melbourne

First on stage were Pond, who essentially looked like MGMT if they had been de-aged by a decade. They also looked like they had come directly from a 'Time To Pretend' video shoot given their various states of undress. Listening to their set was basically a game of 'pick the late '60s psychedelic hippie tune', but they passed the time for the audience in attendance, and playing to a large crowd seemed like it was a thrill to them at least.

The real MGMT then stood up, opening with three of my favourites: 'Weekend Wars', 'I Found A Whistle', and the duke of all rock manifesto anthems: 'Time To Pretend'. For all the kerfuffle about how much of a departure their second album was from their first (always an exaggeration), the songs were woven pretty much seamlessly together, backed by the obligatory arty footage of coloured lights and transposed images. The set was well executed and very rarely dull, no small achievement for a band that has the 12-minute 'Siberian Breaks' in their repertoire. There wasn't much in the way of putting on an actual 'show' for the punters - the exception being 'Kids' where Andrew and Ben left their instruments and danced and rolled about the stage - but the band didn't really need to resort to theatrics when the music they were playing was so multi-layered and, to use a 'late '60s psychedelic hippie' term, groovy. The audience reacted well also, obviously the popster trinity of 'Kids', 'Electric Feel', and 'Time To Pretend' received the most enthuastic responses, but in contrast to reports I have read of other shows, the band's other material wasn't drowned out by the murmuring. All in all, worth a pat on the back and a great big congratulations for Brooklyn's shaggiest, and let's see where they go from here.