The Roar
The Roar

Gordon P Smith

Roar Guru

Joined February 2017







I'm a Yank who stays up Friday and Saturday nights from February through September to get my fix o'footy.



Our AFL Round 12 picks and burst ratings

Given that the fixture for Round 12 is as fluid as the entire season’s schedule was last year, we’re not only late this week, having waited for the final decision on sites, but we’ll be really quick about our picks this week because we still don’t trust what the weekend will look like and also […]


RE the change in schedule with Brisbane and the Bulldogs sidelined for the weekend – our numbers put Carlton as a 9 1/2 point favorite over Geelong in the replacement game.

2022 AFLW: Round 2 statistical forecasts

As I’m just coming back over from my other “FOLLOWING FOOTBALL” gig doing statistical predictions for American collegiate football (same thing we do for the AFL & AFLW except there are 418 teams), I didn’t have time to get a story in before first bounce today. So here are our quickie predictions, piggybacking on Avatar’s tremendous work so we get on the record in advance of week one……. RICHMOND BY 7 (covers the 5.5)…. NORTH BY 30 (covers the 26.5)…. DEMONS BY 6 (will not cover the 11.5 listed currently)….FREMANTLE BY 24 (covers the 20.5)….ADELAIDE BY 3 (covers the 1.5)…. COLLINGWOOD BY 3 (Carlton covers the +10.5)…..and GWS BY 6 (does not cover the 16.5 they’re favored by – last game, that would barely cover the total!). All the point spreads are as of a few hours ago Friday. We’ll start our regular coverage next week.

2022 AFLW: Round 1 preview

Looking back at our data from 2016, I’m thinking my memory’s getting faulty in my old age, Thom. Before that 42-point debacle in Perth in R23, WBD won the three games preceding that loss, following a big defeat by Geelong in R19. But the sentiment was that there was so much strength in the top six – three at the top at 17-5, including three-time defender Hawthorn and two others with recent titles (Sydney and Geelong), with three more right behind them at 16-6 (GWS, Adelaide, and West Coast). Looking at the “recent form” on the year-end ladder, only Hawthorn matched the two losses WBD had; the other five teams combined for three defeats, all among those 16-6 teams. Sydney and Geelong each had six game winning streaks coming into finals, and the top two teams each finished R23 with 110+ point victories. So the Doggies were at best an afterthought, no matter what their form. Without having researched the topic, I would suspect the Bulldogs were the only seventh place team with a record within two games of the minor premier. (15 wins v 17).

Who really finished on top of the AFL ladder?

Not a stretch. In the 21 previous seasons with this finals format, every single GF has had a top three team in it; both teams were top three in 16 of them. Geelong last year was the first team to make the grand final from 4th in fifteen years; none of the three such clubs (Magpies ’02, Swans ’06, Cats ’20) won. Only GWS in 2019 and those ’16 Dogs made it from an EF to the Grand Final; the double chance clubs are 40 of 42 in the century making it to the last Saturday in September.

Who really finished on top of the AFL ladder?

But after Bontempelli’s zero-Brownlow vote game Friday night, it seems likely that any St Kilda win gives Jack Steele votes that might well put him into the winner’s circle come Brownlow reveal night. (And after Q1 I thought the Bont had three votes sewn up…)

Taking a look at the 'once-around' ladder, and your side's best and fairest

Doran, I’m starting to really look forward to your 18 in 18 article every week – it’s an intriguing concept and you do a great job of starting with the handful of players that “must” be there, and filling in around with the best of the rest as positions allow. I’ve had niggling differences in my selections, but never a prohibitive objection. Nice work.

The AFL team of the week Round 19: 'Chris Scott will definitely have to find a spot for him'

Great choice of topics — the perfect fodder for conversations a plenty! Well written and thought out. Your defenses are hard to refute, especially when your premise specifically says the ones YOU liked. My list would be slightly different (not much!) but it doesn’t make yours wrong. Keep up the good work!

The best twelve Australian rules players I have seen in 50 years watching the game

Good first article — good topic — good way to get the readership involved. There is no right answer to this type of question, of course, which is what makes it so much fun. Thanks for joining the team!

Who have been the best teams in AFL history?

Thanks for taking me under your wing, Daniel, and getting me into gear with The Roar. Getting past the bumpy spots would have been much harder without you. Best of luck with your adventures outside of this venue; here’s prayers for your health.

Four incredible years of sport: My farewell to The Roar

The Suns are one of those teams “behind Fremantle” – they had the same attention as the other seven clubs in that group from slot 12 to 18, where we listed the four times in recent history that such teams actually made finals. (The Suns and Giants are my two teams to barrack for, officially, because I’m not Australian and I figured they needed the fans, so I wear my gold and red on weekends. However, if I’m writing an article about historic odds to make finals, the Suns’ percentages, historically, are famously easy to calculate.)

Each club's statistical finals probabilities with nine rounds to go

With the Giants game moved to the MCG late in the week, it’s hard to know how the point spread will and should adjust. To be safe, we are moving our wager to simply “Giants win”, which as of this moment pays $3.14 on two.

Who wins each of Round 15's matches and why

Given the vibe that always revitalizes a team in Collingwood’s situation – their coach taking the sword in the name of continuity and harmony within the team – expect the Pies to play much harder than they thought they could have before Buckley’s announcement yesterday. So I’m changing my play on this game: Melbourne to win, and that’s it. The circumstances are much more volatile now, and it could be a one-point win or a one hundred point win if the emotions get the better of Collingwood. It’s impossible to be sure.

Week 13: The shifting sands of non-Victorian footy

If what I’ve written can be considered a slight to the Sir Douglas Nichols round itself, I agree that I should retract it and apologize. But the meat of the salutes to the great man and the indigenous people comes in round twelve, as far as I can tell, and except for the Friday opener, there really isn’t anything in the rest of round eleven we can say properly salutes the cause at hand. If that’s worth complaining about, I would argue that’s an argument for the AFL, rather than me for pointing it out…. I am honestly looking forward to Dreamtime and round 12, though.

Round 11 preview: Demons-Dogs and eight filler games

I count myself a Suns supporter from afar, but I kinda hope you’re right — only if it’s because Hawthorn rises from the dead, not because the Suns hit one of those terrible stretches they have been known for.

Round 11 preview: Demons-Dogs and eight filler games

Two answers: for some reason, they’ve stretched the Nicholls round across both 11 and 12. Don’t understand it either, but you’re not wrong about Dreamtime…. Also, in a week when I don’t see a game closer that double digits, I’ll stand by eight fillers. TBH, the Dogs may make the headliner just as much of a rout and make the entire round one to sleep through. At home, West Coast will demolish the Bombers in the first half and coast the rest of the way.

Round 11 preview: Demons-Dogs and eight filler games

Looks like we were both wrong on that Essendon game….

Round 10 forecast

In all the years I’ve written for the Roar, I don’t recall ever seeing any article of mine have its comments section turn into a singles bar before this… First for everything, I suppose.

Safe predictions for AFL Round 9

Not that I don’t think they’ll be there, you dirty punster you, but I don’t count that as all that safe a prediction at this stage — the Eagles do have this tendency to fall apart once every few years when injuries pile up. Odds are you’re absolutely right. I suspect Sydney will be there too, especially given their schedule before the bye, but that’s not a “safe prediction” quite yet either.

Safe predictions for AFL Round 9

Thank you, Gyfox.

The pinnacle of women's football - so far

There were a bunch of those concealed injuries that came out in the open after the season ended, not just Lutkins — but you’re absolutely right to praise her in particular.

The pinnacle of women's football - so far

It means that when you see the Bulldogs favored by eleven, they’ve won that game by more than eleven. That’s happened four of their five games (now five of six). Thanks for asking! I always worry about assuming too much…

Round 6 ratings and projections

Absolutely. Once wrote a piece to that effect: six or seven of the finalists in September are currently in the top eight in round seven. The trick, most years, is figuring out which two will drop and which two will rise. You’d think Melbourne and Footscray are safe.

What does the unbeaten start from the Bulldogs and Demons mean?

And my relative recent attachment to the game (twenty years) means that I don’t remember many of the situations first hand, and some of those injury details are hard to come by this far along. But that’s always of great significance: I made the comment in my pre-season prediction article that whichever of the four teams I thought were the best of the lot that was most free of injuries would win the cup, and I’m thinking that to be true of the Demons, Dogs, Power, and perhaps a couple of the 3-3 and 4-2 teams as well. Thanks for the compliments.

What does the unbeaten start from the Bulldogs and Demons mean?

The average nine-game week has three “upsets”, of varying sizes. Sometimes it’s a Tigers/Port type, when it was 55/45 to begin with, and sometimes North Melbourne will rise up and beat someone by forty, and anyone claiming to have predicted it is lying… The trick, of course, is knowing when and where those upsets are coming. And our guesses keep the casinos in business. Smart of you not to have confidence – the moment you feel confident on picking sporting events is the moment you lose it all.

AFL Round 5 betting preview

I agree that most of that sounds like good advice … hard for me to know what to make of the Psychotic Psaints right now, though, and since two of those we’re s’posed to keep the faith with are playing each other, Im stuck with my dilemma.

AFL Round 5 betting preview