Sunday, September 6, 2015

AFL Power Rankings - Round 23 2015

Clubs resting players in the final home-and-away round of the AFL season not only raises questions about the ‘integrity’ of the competition it wreaks havoc with the rankings. Well, havoc is a bit strong, but it probably means we have to make some mental adjustments if we want to work out where each team is ‘truly’ at heading into the finals.

Serial offender Ross Lyon reduced the rankings’ ability to pick Fremantle’s good September a couple of years back by resting half his first-choice side and consequently getting thrashed by lowly-ranked St. Kilda. This year Lyon has done it again, with the result that the Dockers got well beaten by Port Adelaide on the weekend. We now have the curious result that the minor premier is not even among the top eight ranked clubs. This is not just the result of one week though, and even if the latest result was discounted completely Fremantle would still be considered here to be among the lower-ranked clubs in the top eight. Nevertheless, the rankings rate the Dockers as favourites to win their first final against Sydney, because of their home ground advantage.

North Melbourne is the other club that rested around half its first-choice side this week. But unlike Fremantle, even if the weekend’s result is completely discounted the Roos would still not be considered favourites to win their first final. Outside Hawthorn and West Coast though the other clubs look to be fairly close in ability, so North still has a reasonable shot at winning in the first week.

Based on the rankings and home ground advantages, and after doing the adjustments described above, here are my predictions for how the finals series will unfold:

Week 1
West Coast d Hawthorn
Fremantle d Sydney
Western Bulldogs d Adelaide
Richmond d North Melbourne

Week 2
Hawthorn d Western Bulldogs
Sydney d Richmond

Week 3
Hawthorn d Fremantle
West Coast d Sydney

Grand Final
Hawthorn d West Coast

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