During James Hird’s time as coach of Essendon, the Bombers’ seasons have been marked by their first halves of the season being significantly better than their second halves. Below are the changes in ranking points for Essendon during the first half and second half of every season since Hird took over as coach in 2011. In each season, the Bombers have been roughly a five goal better club in the first half of the season. Interestingly, in 2014 when Hird was banned from coaching Essendon bucked this recent trend.
2011 – first
half: +22.8; second half: -8.5
2012 – first
half: +17.6; second half: -15.2
2013 – first
half: +15.7; second half: -17.1
2015 – first
half: -8.8; second half, to Round 20: -28.2
contrast to 2011 to 2013, the Bombers went backward during the first half of
this season, they have gone backwards even faster in the second half of 2015,
to the point where they are now challenging Brisbane and Carlton for the
rankings’ worst team in the AFL.
Elsewhere, clubs in the top half of the rankings
moved all over the place this week. The Bulldogs, easily the hottest team of
the past three weeks, jumped from seventh to third. Adelaide rose from tenth to
seventh, and Richmond moved from sixth to fifth. In the other direction, Fremantle
dropped from third to fourth, and Sydney fell from fourth to eighth. All of
this movement implies an interesting finals series may be coming up … at least
for matches not involving Hawthorn.