Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Top 20 AFL Rivalries

By contrast to almost everything else on this blog, to work out the top 20 AFL rivalries, I have not constructed any explicit weighting system. Having said that, I did look up some numbers – namely, how many finals and grand finals each team has played against each other. This helped bring some ‘objectivity’ to my impressions of just how big a given rivalry is (or was). It’s also in part why Collingwood features so prominently – apart from the fact that everyone hates them, they’ve played in more finals than anyone. But facing off in big matches isn’t everything – West Coast and Fremantle have never played off in a final, but few would doubt that the two Western Australian teams have one of the biggest rivalries going around. Also, recent big matches helped; Essendon and Hawthorn barely knew who each other were for 50 years, but their past three decades’ worth of encounters has boosted their rivalry in the minds of many football followers to the point where that doesn’t matter much.

However, in the end, it’s just one person’s rankings.  To my mind, the top 20 AFL rivalries are:
20. Collingwood v Sydney/South Melbourne (10 finals, 3 grand finals)

19. Brisbane Lions v Collingwood (3F, 2GF; Collingwood v Fitzroy – 18F, 3GF)
18. Carlton v Hawthorn (10F, 2GF)

17. Essendon v North Melbourne (7F, 1GF)

16. Collingwood v St. Kilda (11F, 2GF)

15. Sydney v West Coast (5F, 2GF)

14. Essendon v Melbourne (16F, 6GF)

13. Essendon v Richmond (9F, 3GF)

12. Hawthorn v North Melbourne (15F, 3GF)

11. Collingwood v Geelong (23F, 5GF)

10. Geelong v Hawthorn (7F, 3GF)

9. Fremantle v West Coast (0F, 0GF)

8. Essendon v Hawthorn (7F, 3GF)
7. Adelaide v Port Adelaide (1F, 0GF)
6. Collingwood v Richmond (16F, 6GF)
5. Collingwood v Melbourne (22F, 7GF)
4. Carlton v Richmond (22F, 6GF)
3. Collingwood v Essendon (20F, 4GF)
2. Carlton v Essendon (20F, 6GF)
1. Carlton v Collingwood (22F, 6GF)


@AFLFootyMaths said...

Interesting concept... I would have had Melb v Coll higher... Dees were rampant in the 50's and 60's, and the Pies did everything they could to stop them breaking their record of consecutive flags... that's got to add weight?

Troy Wheatley said...

I inItially had Dees v Pies higher, but then I thought if you asked a Pies fan who their biggest rivals were most would say Essendon before Melbourne. But there's certainly a time where that would have been a strong contender for #1, and if you thought it should be top 3 I wouldn't argue too hard against it.