Monday, February 27, 2017

AFL Women’s Power Rankings: Round 4 2017

Adelaide has moved even further ahead on the rankings following Carlton’s loss to Melbourne on the weekend. The Crows are now rated as one goal per game better than their nearest rival, who is… well, that’s not clear. Carlton, Brisbane, and Melbourne are rated at basically the same level now – in fact Brisbane and Melbourne have exactly the same ranking points. The Lions however, given that they are undefeated and have a great percentage, are the clear favourites to meet the Crows in the Grand Final.
Indeed the only thing holding Brisbane back from second spot is that people ranked them (okay I ranked them, but it was based on the premiership odds at the time) so lowly to begin with. Hurling People Now has called the Lions ‘a well-oiled machine’, noting that they have had a low number of disposals and low number of inside 50s, but have been remarkably efficient when they go forward. Or perhaps they have been a bit lucky?... We'll find out more when they take on the Crows next week.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

AFL Women’s Power Rankings: Round 3 2017

The AFL Women’s competition had its first round of really close results this week. Three matches were decided by less than a goal – including the first ever draw, between Fremantle and GWS. In the other two close matches, the home teams – Adelaide and Brisbane – just squeaked home to remain unbeaten for the year.

According to the rankings though, the home teams kind of ‘lost’. Or rather, given the eight point advantage assigned to home clubs they all should have won by more, particularly as they were all playing what was considered ‘inferior’ opposition. Hence Carlton leapfrogged Brisbane into second, and in Fremantle’s case its draw with the Giants saw it complete its drop from pre-season favourites to the rankings’ bottom spot.

Speaking of Fremantle and the Giants it is a bit of a shame that after just three rounds they already have very little chance of winning the premiership. So too does Collingwood, and to a lesser extent the Western Bulldogs. The AFLW season is only seven rounds long, and after those seven rounds only the top two clubs will be left to play off for the premiership. If instead the top four clubs played finals we wouldn’t have half the competition effectively out of the premiership race already. (Although can we count the Bulldogs out just yet…? Maybe we should wait a couple more weeks…)

Sunday, February 12, 2017

AFL Women’s Power Rankings: Round 2 2017

More volatility in the AFL Women’s Power Rankings this week as the question of how good each of these new teams are remains relatively unsettled.

Adelaide looks to be pretty good, as it jumps to the top of the rankings after a comfortable road win against last week’s leaders the Bulldogs. So do – somewhat surprisingly – the Brisbane Lions. The bookmakers initially had them down as likely to struggle, but they move up into second on the rankings after consecutive away wins against previously fancied opponents.

At the other end pre-season rankings leaders the Western Bulldogs and Fremantle are now considered to be a bit off the pace. And at the very bottom are my wife’s and two-year-old daughter’s AFLW team, Collingwood. My wife has decided that my daughter should adopt her club in AFLW as my club, Richmond, is absent. While I have cautiously accepted this, my daughter’s shouts of ‘More more Maggies’ have set a dangerous precedent. Perhaps a last placed finish for the women Magpies is what I need to dissuade her from becoming permanently entrenched in black and white.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

AFL Women’s Power Rankings: Round 1 2017

There were at least two recurring themes in the opening round of AFL Women’s this weekend. One was that the crowds kept being much bigger than expected. I went along to the opening match between Carlton and Collingwood at Princes (Ikon) Park, and unexpectedly found myself sitting near the top of the stand.

Another theme was probably one that was more for the ‘numbers people’: the similarities in the final scores. Carlton defeated Collingwood 46-11. Adelaide defeated GWS 48-12. And the Western Bulldogs defeated Fremantle 44-12. (Brisbane’s 25-10 defeat of Melbourne was the exception.) So which of these sides had the most impressive win then? Which is the top ranked team?
Carlton and the Western Bulldogs’ wins were fairly similar. The Dogs had the home ground interstate advantage over Freo, which in the rankings gives them a slight penalty, but the Dockers are considered a stronger team than the Blues’ opponent Collingwood. Adelaide’s win is considered not quite as good, given that it had both a home ground advantage, and its opponent GWS is thought to be one of the weaker teams in the competition.
The end result is that the Bulldogs, who had a good win and were believed to be a strong club already, are our top-ranked team after the first week. But as I said last week, with all new clubs and only a few matches to learn about them, expect the rankings to change a lot from week to week.