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 […]



With the standings and percentages as they are following the wins by Melbourne and North on Saturday, Collingwood’s path is easy: win and you have the #1 seed. Lose and they still have the #2 seed (even an 80-0 loss won’t sink their percentage to where Melbourne’s is. The Demons are locked into the #3 if the Pies win.) But Collingwood can still keep the #1 seed (important for the GF) if they keep the score low: if Adelaide scores 36 points and wins, Collingwood cannot hold on to the top seed. If they limit Adelaide to 30, they can lose by as much as six and hold the top seed. And if Adelaide only scores 20, Collingwood can score just five points and still beat Brisbane’s percentage.

My AFLW Round 9 preview

That’s above my pay grade, I’m afraid. I just write the articles.

Stirling? Can you answer this question?

My AFLW Round 9 preview

I thought so, too. Had not seen the Bruton suspension when I wrote this; it does make the argument harder to defend. But North has a wider variety of tools at their disposal; the suspension means less to them than it would have to the Dockers. I’ll still take the Kangaroos, although I have no cheering preference myself.

My AFLW Round 9 preview

Smartest thing they could have done. This isn’t directly a money-making league: it’s a league designed to enhance each individual club’s value. Gate receipts are comparatively insignificant.

2020 AFL Women's season: Round 6 preview

I don’t understand why Richmond’s upcoming spoon is dependent on a Gold Coast victory over the Eagles – I’d argue it went the other way: that if West Coast wins, Richmond has the 14th place clinched. . . . Oh, and I need to tell you, in all honesty, I always try to wait until your weekly article has posted until I send in mine… It’s not that I have to agree with you, but I respect your opinion enough that if you’ve got something significantly askew from mine, I take a good hard look at mine again and see if I’ve missed something in my prediction. Thanks for your stellar work.

2020 AFL Women's season: Round 6 preview

I think I already have, Cam….

The Roar's AFL top 50 players: 30-21

My turn:
1. Dustin Martin. . . .
2. Nat Fyfe. . . .
3. Patrick Cripps. . . .
4. Marcus Bontempelli. . . .
5. Paddy Dangerfield. . . .
6. Jeremy Cameron. . . .
7. Stephen Coniglio. . . .
8. Tim Kelly. . . .
9. Brodie Grundy. . . .
10. Luke Parker. . . .

The Roar's AFL top 50 players: 20-11

Having just posted a reply to a comment on my own article about how I can’t imagine writing a prediction article based on pre-season historical results, you’ve gone and done a marvelous and meaningful job of exactly that, Josh – brilliant! . . . The only thing I’d add is the need for teams who were in desperate needs of optimism for both themselves and their supporters to do well during pre-season. Melbourne was certainly number one on that list, and it’s no surprise to see them go two-for-two in the summer session. Gold Coast can be counted in that context as well, although you correctly pointed out the reason for reticense on their part for the 22-game season ahead. Here’s hoping a year of maturity for all the boys who went through the last campaign or three helps them pull off a few more victories later in the year. Perhaps SK and Freo faced similar doubts that 2-0 help defray, but otherwise the rest of the league is just thinking March 19th starts at 0-0-0.

AFL preseason trends predict a top-eight shake-up

I can’t imagine ever writing an article based on pre-season results. Point given, and I agree with your analyses.

Historical clues to predicting AFL placements in 2020 (Part 1)

No such thing – I’ll have the Tigers first when I post my personal predictions next week. Even looking at data only, I’ve still got them locked in to the top four “in pen”. Not sure how much higher you think I should’ve suggested from the data of a third-place finisher, not to mention the infrequency of teams repeating championships in this league. By the data alone, second might be a bit high, in fact. However, I’ll still put them first next week because looking at this actual physical team (this article doesn’t do that at all and says so in the introduction), I think they’re the most likely to win. . . .

Or is it hating to say that? If so, count me as a Richmond hater…

Historical clues to predicting AFL placements in 2020 (Part 1)

Mine too, although I can’t see Richmond not being the prohibitive favorite. I tried to be as objective about the data as I could be – there’s no way West Coast falls to thirteenth, which is what I wrote since that’s where they ended up the last two times they were fifth. But all this kind of article is ever useful for is sparking conversation, so I’m glad you’re here conversing! Thanks for the feedback.

Historical clues to predicting AFL placements in 2020 (Part 1)

I was about to share my guesses for your top 30 when you posted this, so I suppose I’ll weed these 9 out and share my guesses for the remaining 20 instead. Argue as you will. . . . Brad Crouch (AD), Lachie Neale (BR), Patrick Cripps (CA), Brodie Grundy (CW), Scott Pendlebury (CW), Steele Sidebottom (CW), Nat Fyfe (FR), Patrick Dangerfield (GE), Mitch Duncan (GE), Jeremy Cameron (GW), Stephen Coniglio (GW), Josh Kelly (GW), Lachie Whitfield (GW), Max Gawn (ME), Tom Lynch (RI), Dustin Martin (RI), Lance Franklin (SY – can’t wait to see where y’all decide to rank him), Luke Parker (SY), Tim Kelly (WC), Elliot Yeo (WC), and Marcus Bontempelli (WD). . . . Yes, there are 21 names there. Like I said, I had a top 30, and I weeded out nine of the ten that were already named. Which of these 21 candidates didn’t even make the top 50? No clue; it’ll be interesting to see over the next two days. Great writing, all of you.

The Roar's AFL top 50 players: 30-21

The heavy majority of the data we’re using in these analyses are from 1990 forward, and 1994 forward in particular when there were eight finalists and at least fifteen (usually sixteen) teams. But when we’re looking at something as specific as what happened after a minor premiership, it’s convenient to include the older evidence as well. . . . As for the “click bait” accusation, Yattuzzi, I’m not sure what you could have expected different from what we delivered. I thought the editors found a highly appropriate title for this article.

Historical clues to predicting AFL placements in 2020 (Part 1)

In the interest of full disclosure, the “fan consensus” comes from the two tipping contests I use that display how many folks have picked each team – and – and just average the two of them. In the closest example above, Geelong was favored by 67% in one contest, and by 47% in the other (Brisbane was favored by the other 53%); hence, they were listed here as 57%.

AFLW Round 2 at a glance

It also points towards the difficulty of defining the team’s defenders by opposition scoring and the team’s forwards by their own scoring. As others have pointed out, there’s much more that goes into those evaluations, even before getting into the idiosyncracies of the age of a list, injuries, a team’s structure on off/def, and so forth.

Champion Data have released their 2020 list rankings and we have many, many questions

I’m going to “defend” Champion Data a wee bit. Just for contrast… . . . Their week-to-week stuff has always seemed to be relatively accurate, at least in ranking players on their relative performances in each round. (If anyone can make something useful out of “metres gained”, though, I’d love to hear it.) But the fact that all that’s released here are these vague over-arching categories of the three regions in relative rankings only, combined in an undescribed manner, tells me they knew they had nothing concrete to share and simply released this for a conversation starter. . . . . I went back and compared last year’s “predictive rankings” with reality and your collective memories were spot on – they were no more accurate than XI’s randomized forecasts are: Melbourne 1st, Adelaide 2nd; Brisbane 10th, West Coast 11th. So ignore the results this year, too, but don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. This use of their data is worth the value of Donald Trump’s makeup, but the in-season data they produce does occasionally have its uses.

Champion Data have released their 2020 list rankings and we have many, many questions

The issue nobody seems to have brought up is the motivation for the league office to cram so many new clubs in as quickly as they have: the pressure from the individual clubs to each get their own AFLW team, for a host of reasons. It may not be directly profitable yet, but indirectly their demonstration of gender equality and all the great press they’ve seen happening with the “original eight” teams has reinforced their original desires to host a women’s club in the AFLW (I believe at least all fourteen of these teams applied for clubs in the original creation of the league)…. . . . So the league was in a position of trying to keep its constituent clubs happy, and in the end Gil et al rule at the pleasure of the eighteen AFL footy clubs… . . . Was it the best decision for the health of the game on the field? Probably not – the US has a long history of failed leagues whose death was brought about by too rapid, too rabid expansion. (Look up the early 1990’s CFL “American Invasion” for an amazing tale of expansion, collapse, and resurrection.) But the AFLW will survive it, and by definition it can’t expand too much more as currently constructed! We’ll have some more of these routs this season, probably tapering into the next, but like the GWS men’s team’s ascension into the title game, these new clubs will eventually improve to viability. (North and Geelong’s histories say it’ll be sooner rather than later, too.). – – – – *Here’s praying that this Gold Coast club follows those examples, rather than their male counterparts on the Q coast… and maybe even gives their men’s team their own example to emulate.

Expansion sides winless in AFLW round one

Let me see if I can bring the conversation back around to footy… . . .

Glad the article opened the debate on close, not-particularly-well-played-but-very-even games without delving too far into the land of “women can’t play as well as men”. Obviously that wasn’t the point. I’d much rather watch two evenly matched teams who’ll most likely end up at the bottom of the division ladder than watch Adelaide or the Kangaroos absolutely destroy either one of them. When the only highlight anyone remembers from the GF of the AFLW’s best-played season yet is Erin Phillip’s injury, that’s not a very interesting game. But while there weren’t many highlights of great play in this game either, there was tension that didn’t exist in that Crows/Blues decimation…. . . .

If we couldn’t tolerate poor play under any circumstances, why would anyone watch footy at ANY level lower than finals-bound AFL clubs? (I know, that’s basically true with the U10s and such. Those are training games more than they’re entertainment.) Anyway, thanks for thinking about the subject (to those of you who thought about it rather than knee-jerk a reaction, a group blessedly small in number on The Roar).

The best worst game ever

To all y’all comparing home schedules: if everyone’s playing essentially the home schedule they played last season (and several before that). don’t adjust your predictions from last year’s results to account for any supposed home field advantages. Just a thought.

My predictions for the 2020 AFL season

Selfishly, I’m ecstatic that we’ve kept this magical event in the afternoon, riather than later in the day, because living in the Mountain Time Zone in the United States, sixteen hours behind Melbourne, the first bounce will take place at 10:30 pm Friday night. Staying awake to watch the entire game is very doable, even for me. Listening to the 7:30 pm kickoff games is more difficult when I have to stay up ’til 3:30 am just for the opening bounce. (Or I wake up at three and miss everything ahead of the game.) So thanks, AFL, whether we were any consideration out here in the Western Hemisphere or not!

AFL grand final full day schedule, entertainment guide 2019: Richmond Tigers vs GWS Giants

A completely different topic than the admittedly-wide ranging article, although I thought about touching on that, too. (Geelong was completely shafted this season. I was furious about that QF!) The idea that the GF absolutely HAS to be played at the ‘G every single year is would be palatable if it weren’t the home stadium of one or more teams. (Still not good, though.) In my home state of Idaho, we have a population imbalance that matches the footy-loving population of Australia – over half the AFL teams are based in or around Melbourne, with four teams to the east and four more to the west. Here. the capital city of Boise fills the Melbourne role. … For many of the sports or conferences or rotating festivals in our state, Idaho organizations invariably do this – YEAR ONE: Boise. YEAR TWO: Northwards. YEAR THREE: Boise area again. YEAR FOUR: Eastwards (Idaho is shaped like an L). YEAR FIVE: repeat. It seems like a rotation where in every ODD year (i.e.. 2019, for ex), the MCG could be the host site (or include Marvel in the rotation if you’d like). In EVEN years, we can rotate Adelaide/Perth on one even year, and Queensland/Sydney/Canberra/Tasmania on the “other” even year. Yeah, there are stadium size issues, hotel issues, all that sort of things. It’s a thought. And when the issue becomes important enough to do something about it, we can start this conversation in earnest.

No sixth seed has ever won the grand final. Can GWS buck the trend?

Absolutely – Mason Cox is my spirit animal and the reason I went from disliking the Pies to becoming a Collingwood fan! (And if you doubt that his sense of humor matches mine, read his Twitter feed sometime!) He’s also the ONLY proof that us Yankees can conceivably play REAL football at a professional level. Meanwhile, will the last kicker out the Australian door headed to the US to punt in the American version of the game (college or pro) please close the door on your way out… It’s a fascinating imbalance.

No sixth seed has ever won the grand final. Can GWS buck the trend?

“Seed” isn’t the exact right word, I know – I just get tired of using the same terms over and over! And frankly, I think it’s because they’ve stopped trying to BE a Ferrari and started working on being more of a workman’s vehicle that got them here. But you’re right that there are significant differences between how this team’s assembled and how it functions, compared to the Bulldogs circumstances.

No sixth seed has ever won the grand final. Can GWS buck the trend?

It’s been the apparent cause of rust in several cases, AA. It’s cured the issue it was put in for – R23 “Dockering” – and given the AFL the chance to party for a week in between, but the second week off for QF winners has done them no favors over the last four seasons. I don’t know which is worse. At least coaches can plan for this and make some accommodations, though I’m sure Buckley tried. All I know is that I’ve tipped against the Giants thrice and been wrong thrice, just like I was with the Dogs three years ago. Not sure if I’m taking the 11-game-winner season favorites or the fairy tale that keeps writing itself in toughness next Saturday.

Giant result: GWS into grand final after beating Collingwood in a preliminary final thriller

The whole article has tongue slightly in cheek, so I’m not overly concerned about matching up the rest of the schedule – of course we’re not really going to flip a home game arbitrarily.

But on that topic, does everybody who shares a stadium get more than eleven home games anyway? Richmond had games against Carlton, Collingwood, and Melbourne in the MCG – did they have 14 home games? Or were some of their actual home games really “neutral site” because their opponents were also MCG tenants? It’s always going to be slightly imbalanced and odd in an arrangement when there’s more than one and fewer than 18 stadiums in use.

The AFL's alternative scheduling in 2019 is a success