Sunday, August 17, 2014

AFL Power Rankings: Round 21 2014


Richmond has risen up the AFL ladder by winning its past seven matches, after starting the season 3-10. But how much better have the Tigers actually been? Well, their average relative net adjusted margin (net margin adjusted for home ground advantage and strength of opposition) over those first thirteen games was a mediocre -6; over those seven wins it has been +13. So the Tigers have gone back to a level approaching their 2013 form, which of course was generally pretty good. Mid-season analysis indicated that Richmond’s drop-off in form in 2014 had been due to their top players and their bottom/role players not being as effective. More recently though Trent Cotchin, Brett Deledio, and Alex Rance have all again approached their 2013 form, the latter two having had injuries earlier in the season. And while the role players are still not quite as good, the return to form of their top players combined with the addition of Anthony Miles, and emergence of Brandon Ellis have made the Tigers again a semi-formidable outfit.


Look, I have probably featured Collingwood enough in this section in 2014 – including last week, and once perhaps a bit unfairly after it had just won a match and was still not a bad side. So Melbourne has to get this spot this week, after kicking only three – yes, three! – goals at home against Greater Western Sydney. Melbourne had been vying with the Giants for the most improved team in 2014, although as I have indicated before that just means they are expected to lose by five goals a game rather than ten goals. However the Demons definitely ceded the title of most improved to its opposition with its big loss this weekend, and fell two ranking spots in the bargain.


I still have to mention the Pies though, who fell like Cypher’s victims on the Nebuchadnezzar to Brisbane on the weekend. The loss means that their average relative net adjusted margin over the past five weeks is a St. Kilda-like -42, and their ranking points have decreased by more than any other team over the year except the Saints. If this keeps happening, who else can I feature in the ‘FALLING DOWN’ section? Manchester United? The Texas Rangers? The villages south of the Wall in Westeros? With a horror run of injuries on the weekend Collingwood’s fortunes may well not turn around until the next season.

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