AFL finals theory – pattern or coincidence?

Jsteel Roar Pro

By Jsteel, Jsteel is a Roar Pro

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    Some of you will believe the following theory is complete rubbish – and to be honest, I don’t know if it’s a legitimate theory yet either. Either way, it’s an interesting observation.

    The theory goes something like this: a team has a breakout year and finishes in the final four. The team then has two poorer years before becoming a premiership winner/serious contender in the fourth year.

    Geelong, Collingwood and Hawthorn have all followed this theory, with Geelong’s breakout year being 2004, Collingwood’s in 2007 and Hawthorn’s in 2008 (being a slight exception, in that they managed to win the flag in their breakout year).

    Geelong finished fourth in 2004, breaking out after having finished 12th, 9th and 12th in their previous three seasons. This was followed by finishing fifth in 2005 before slumping to 10th in 2006. They then of course went onto win the flag in impressive style in 2007.

    While Geelong were charging to the premiership, Collingwood had their own breakout year, when they came within five points of Geelong in the preliminary final. They then finished eighth in 2008 and fourth in 2009 before winning the flag in 2010.

    Hawthorn of course won the premiership in their breakout year of 2008, then finished ninth in 2009 and seventh in 2010 before returning to be a premiership contender in 2011 when they finished third, and could’ve gone further if it hadn’t been for a last-quarter fade.

    Even Adelaide has followed a similar trend, with a fifth-placed finish in 2009 before finishing 11th and 14th respectively in 2010 and 2011. Of course we all know about their success this year, and it’s now fair to say they are premiership contenders.

    So is there any pattern to this, or is it just chance?

    Could it be the trend of player development in the AFL? Could it be the psychological effect of taking on your first finals series, before using the experience in later years when you return?

    In any case, it will be curious to see how clubs such as West Coast (breakout year last year) go with the theory.

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    The Crowd Says (5)

    • September 10th 2012 @ 9:25am
      Jack said | September 10th 2012 @ 9:25am | ! Report

      Injuries, Retirements and Trades were the reason for 2009, 2010 for the hawks.

    • Roar Guru

      September 10th 2012 @ 9:46am
      langou said | September 10th 2012 @ 9:46am | ! Report

      just chance

    • September 10th 2012 @ 10:24am
      Rich_daddy said | September 10th 2012 @ 10:24am | ! Report

      Swans had a breakout year in 2003. Semi final in 2004, flag in 2005. I think it depends on whether clubs get ahead of themselves and believe the hype generated by the media. Happened to Geelong in 2006 and to a certain extent Carlton this year.

    • September 11th 2012 @ 9:28am
      Bill said | September 11th 2012 @ 9:28am | ! Report

      Break out or not going on current form this years flag is Hawthorns to lose. Now that their hoodoo side has been knocked out it just makes that task a touch easier.

      I can see the Dockers beating a questionable Crows side who’s recent form suggests they are the side you’d want to be playing and I can see the Eagles giving a hot and cold Collingwood an early shower.

    • September 11th 2012 @ 5:33pm
      Brian said | September 11th 2012 @ 5:33pm | ! Report

      just chance.
      e.g. St Kilda also broke out in 2007 and were at their worst in 2007

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