The Roar
The Roar

AFL
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

AFL ladder: Collingwood ‘lucky’ to have double-chance says study

3rd September, 2012
30
1051 Reads

Following the AFL home-and-away season, a new study says the final ladder could be improved to ‘truly’ reflect the ranking of the overall performance of the 18 teams.

A study by a La Trobe University sports economist uses complex econometric modelling and regression techniques to estimate an ‘optimal’ bonus points system – determined from data on all AFL matches from the 1997-2008 seasons – similar to those used in Super Rugby.

It is claimed that this system is better at revealing strong teams in the AFL than the current system, which does not award bonus points.

The research – by Dr Liam Lenten from La Trobe’s School of Economics, and co-author Dr Niven Winchester at the esteemed Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US – builds on Dr Winchester’s previous analysis on the Super Rugby system.

The authors’ results indicate a preferred allocation of four league points for a win, three points for a draw, two points for winning by 27 or more and two points for losing by 26 or less.

However, they state that the partition could instead be altered to 24 points (i.e. four goals) to make it more interpretable to fans, and that a goal bonus (similar to a try bonus in Rugby) for scoring (for example) 20 goals, could also be included.

The 2012 ladder under a bonus point system in reported below. Dr Lenten points out that Collingwood would have finished 7th instead of 4th in 2012, giving them an elimination final against North Melbourne, and handing Geelong the double-chance and a qualifying final against Hawthorn this coming weekend.

Dr Lenten says the inclusion of bonuses may also maintain spectator interest in matches where an obvious winner emerges prior to match completion.

It could also prevent dominant teams taking their foot off the pedal after establishing a significant lead.

Advertisement
Advertisement

For these reasons, Dr Lenten claims that the AFL Commission should consider amending the current allocation of league points.

The authors of the study acknowledge that introducing bonuses to AFL standings may cause controversy as a team with less wins could (as in Super Rugby) conceivably qualify for the finals at the expense of a team with more wins, creating fan resistance to the idea.

However, they point out that many other sports already use popular ‘bonus point’ systems (if not by name), such as those in Super Rugby, as mentioned, as well as ice hockey and others

Also, according to Dr Winchester, parallels can be drawn to the Duckworth-Lewis revised-target rule used in cricket, “…which was met initially with much scepticism but is now widely accepted”.

Alternative 2012 AFL Ladder under Inclusion of Bonus Points

Actual With BP Team

Win

Draw

MarginBonuses

%

Comp Pnts

1

1

Hawthorn

17

0

17

154.6

102

2

2

Adelaide

17

0

13

132.5

94

3

3

Sydney

16

0

14

140.6

92

6

4

Geelong

15

0

14

117.1

88

5

5

West Coast

15

0

12

124.2

84

8

6

North Melbourne

14

0

14

112.5

84

4

7

Collingwood

16

0

9

116.5

82

7

8

Fremantle

14

0

12

115.7

80

12

9

Richmond

10

1

17

111.6

77

9

10

St.Kilda

12

0

12

123.3

72

10

11

Carlton

11

0

13

108.0

70

11

12

Essendon

11

0

11

100.1

66

13

13

Brisbane

10

0

8

91.0

56

14

14

Port Adelaide

5

1

8

78.9

39

15

15

Western Bulldogs

5

0

7

67.0

34

16

16

Melbourne

4

0

6

67.5

28

17

17

Gold Coast

3

0

6

60.8

24

18

18

GWS

2

0

4

46.2

16