Category Archives: Featured

The Final Push to Secure a Top-Eight Finish

Source: AFL via Facebook

The season is drawing to a close and we’re starting to get a real good look at who the serious contenders are to take the flag. No one can deny how strong the Adelaide Crows are looking and even the GWS Giants. However, as we saw last year when the Western Bulldogs came in seventh and won the premiership, you can never write off the teams that finish a little bit further down the ladder.

So, who are the major dark horses that could upset the frontrunners in this season’s playoffs?

Funnily enough, the Bulldogs are hitting their stride at the perfect part of the season. They once again sit in seventh and have won four out of their last five matches. In another positive boost for the club, star midfielder and defender Easton Wood has avoided the knife and won’t require surgery on his hamstring, with the club confident he will be ready for finals football if they can secure a top-eight spot. The Doggies don’t have the easiest run home, though, facing the Giants, Port Adelaide and Hawthorne. They will have to be at their best if they have any chance of making it in.

The Port Adelaide Power are still in the mix, sitting in fifth, but with such a bad record against the top teams so far this year, it’s hard to see them making much of an impact come September. They have a relatively easy run home, though, coming up against Collingwood, the Gold Coast and the Bulldogs. With only four points separating fifth to 11th place, they will feel they probably need to win all three games.

Source: Sydney Swans via Facebook

What a season it has been for the sensational Sydney Swans! After their worst start to a season in 24 years and becoming the first team to go 0-6 after being in a Grand Final the previous season, they have managed to turn it all around and are now bombarding their way into finals contention. They are currently in seventh place and the latest AFL tips currently have 100% confidence in them defeating Fremantle this weekend, proving how much of a dangerous side people think they are. They have to face the Crows the week after, though, and that will be their real test before what should be an easy win for them against the hapless Carlton Blues considering the Swan’s form.

Sitting four points behind these three teams in eighth is the Essendon Bombers. They have the daunting task of taking on the Crows in their next game and will be praying for other results to go their way if they can’t manage an upset. Fortunately for the Dons, their two last matches come against opposition that they will be quite confident of overcoming. Firstly, they meet the Gold Coast Suns, then finish up the year at home to the Freemantle Dockers.

The West Coast Eagles, Melbourne Demons and Saint Kilda also sit on 40 points. These teams all have a mathematical chance of finishing in the eight also and it’s going to be a spectacularly tight finish to what has already been an amazing year of footy.

Sloane Leads the Crows to Victory in Top-of-the-Table Clash

On Friday night, AFL fans witnessed the much-anticipated game between the Adelaide Crows and the Geelong Cats. The Melbourne club had become a ‘bogey’ team for the Crows in recent times and the boys from South Australia were looking to break a five-game losing streak against them. The Crows 13.13 (91) defeated Geelong 10.10 (70) and maintained their grip at the top of the ladder.

Adelaide came out all guns blazing and dominated the match from the get-go. Their dominant performance in the first quarter set the tone for the rest of the game. Even though they were kept scoreless in the final quarter, they had done enough to secure the victory and give themselves some precious breathing space on top of the table. Adelaide is now the firm favourite, with the latest odds of 3.40 suggesting they will be the ones to lift the trophy in September.

Adelaide kicked five goals in the first quarter and their explosive football kept Geelong relatively quiet with the Cats only managing one goal. The Crows never really let them back into the game after that and it was always going to be a struggle to come back from the 22-point deficit at quarter-time.

They finished at half-time 29 points up and went into the third quarter leading by 37. The Cats put on a late charge inspired by Geelong veteran Harry Taylor in the final quarter, but unfortunately for the home fans, his three goals in five weren’t enough to snatch the points.

Rory Sloane was absolutely fantastic throughout the match. He kicked three goals, collected 27 disposals and laid seven tackles in an electrifying game. Considering he was heavily concussed just six days prior after receiving a heavy knock in Darwin against the Melbourne Demons, it was a remarkable performance. After a display like this from the powerful midfielder, it’s easy to see why his name gets mentioned when people start talking about the Brownlow Medal.

Richard Douglas was lethal in front of the sticks and finished the night with a career-high four goals and 20 disposals. Adelaide’s Sam Jacobs was also terrific, with his 32 hit-outs and 17 possessions providing Sloane with perfect service through the middle of the park. Hugh Greenwood, with 23 possessions, and the Crouch brothers all gave impressive displays, with Matt having 32 two touches and Brad 29.

There were some standouts for the Cats, though. Patrick Dangerfield had a prominent display, with 25 disposals, after recovering from a foot injury sustained last week, while Taylor almost rallied the troops for a comeback and kicked five goals overall.

The Crows are in prime position now for a top-two finish and a home final. They will be full of confidence going into their next match against the Collingwood Magpies, who have been struggling of late. The Cats will walk away and lick their wounds but will surely be ready by next week when they take on the Carlton Blues, in what coach Chris Scott will see as a must-win game.

Tigers Pushing for Top-Four Finish

Source: Richmond FC via Facebook

Richmond Tigers have continued to get their season back on track as they defeated the Carlton Blues at the MCG in front of 64,448 fans. In what should have been a relatively easy affair for the Tigers, they definitely didn’t do themselves any favours with their opening play and went in to the first break trailing by four points.

Richmond had a much better showing defensively in the second quarter, limiting Carlton to no goals and finding themselves just one behind. On the other hand, they were extremely wasteful in front of goal, taking only two goals and putting it wide for seven behinds.

Much to their supporters’ dismay, Richmond once again started to let Carlton back into the game during the third quarter. They did, however, manage to see out the rest of the game and seal the win. This came as a great relief to the players and the coach who were anticipating the final siren. As Tiger great Matthew Richardson said on 3AW: “It’s a good game if you like grinding games… I don’t.”

There were a few standouts for the boys in black and yellow with Jack Riewoldt kicking three goals and Dustin Martin grabbing 30 disposals. Kane Lambert and Shaun Grigg were equally as important, taking 26 disposals each.

The win, however, does see The Tigers cement their place in the top eight, bringing back the form that they enjoyed so much at the start of the season. This sees them take three wins out of their last four games and keeps them level on 32 points with the Sydney Swans, Melbourne Demons and Port Adelaide, who all recorded wins last weekend.

For their next fixture, the Tigers have the daunting task of heading to South Australia to take on Ken Hinkley’s Port. It’s a vital fixture for both, with Port at 73/100 and Richmond at 16/5 according to Oddschecker for a top-four finish, and that’s certainly something that will be on both coach’s minds.

Richmond will be hoping they can bring back the form that saw them start the season with five wins on the trot, and take points off some strong opposition. Port Adelaide will certainly be looking to put their stamp on this game having lost all four of their games against top-eight teams this season. It is shaping up to be a crucial match for both teams to keep up their momentum heading in to the second half of the season.

Customise your finals, Part 2

OK, so you have read up on our previous article about customising your finals here and have decided to give it a go.  Lets say you want to run your finals series one week earlier than the standard final 4 rounds, for clarity, lets call that ‘Round 19’.

But who can be shagged with manually calculating who plays who and manually keying in all those games…?  Well not us, and we assume not you either so we have built a tool to help called the “Game Builder Wizard”.

To setup your finals to run 1 week earlier than the final 4 rounds, you need to first setup the following:

  1.  On your League Edit page (advanced tab), set the “First Finals Round” setting to the round that you will run your first final, ie. round 19.  This setting controls which rounds are considered when updating your ladder. The ladder positions at the end of the standard home and away season is used to determine the games in the finals so you don’t want it to change while the finals are being played, otherwise your finals will get buggered up.
  2. On your Competition Edit page, you need to set the “Finals Model” setting to”None/Custom”.  This will tell the system to no create the normal finals games automatically and instead hand the keys over to you to control.
  3. On the Fixutre page, you will find and “Edit Games” link under the list of games for each round.  By default, the system has probably creates a set of games in round 19.  Click the “Edit Games” link and delete all of the games, leaving it blank.

Now you just need to play the season as normal until the last round of your home and away season, ie. round 18, is complete.

With round 18 complete, you can now go to the Fixture page  and click “Edit” again for Round 19, to setup your finals games.

If there are any games still in Round 19, delete them (but you should have done that already in step 3).  Deleting the first will enable the link to the  “Game Builder Wizard”.  Click on the link and the system will open up a page to help you automatically create the finals games.

game builder wizard link

The wizard will give you two criteria to pick from:

Game Style: this is the style or format of the games that are to be created.  eg. to setup the games for round 1 or a finals series, choose “Finals Round 1”.  Similarly, next week for a second round of finals, you would choose “Finals Round 2”.

game builder criteria 1

Participating Clubs: this option lets you choose the number of clubs you want to be involved.  If you are running a finals series with the top 5 clubs in your 12 club competition for example, choose 5.

game builder criteria 2

The system will show you a preview of the proposed games on the right.  If you are happy with the games, just hit Save and the games will be locked in.  You can even then go back in to the Fixture edit page and tweek the games further or even add some extra games for the bottom rankers.

The Game Builder Wizard will always try to merge any existing games but we aware that the Game Builder Wizard will delete any games featuring the Clubs that it cares about.  You will see the warning on the screen if this happens.

Another thing to remember is that you need to wait for a round to complete (ie. all the real games have been played) before setting up the next round.  This is because for finals games, the Wizard will use the results from the previous round to determine who plays who in the next.

Other than that, you should be good to go.

Good luck!

 

 

 

Nathan Buck-leave?

Is that Hi or Goodbye?
Is that Hi or Goodbye?

 

Should he stay or should he (Buck)leave?

The question on many Pies supporters minds along with many other fans, pundits and AFL enthusiasts.

So lets look at some stats…

Buckley took charge of the Pies in 2012 having spent two seasons under Malthouse. In the 2010 and 2011 season they finished top of the ladder and won a flag as well. A good grounding perhaps…

But since then, with Buckley in sole charge, they have fallen fallen fallen. League positions since have been 4th, 6th, 11th and 12th…. And the start of this year has been less than promising aside a very close victory against the Tigers…

That said, Buckley’s win ratio stands at 55.8%. That is 95 Games in charge with 53 Wins – 42 Loses – 0 Draws . How does that compare? Malthouse only had a 56.6% record over his entire career (which includes the time dismantling, I mean coaching, Carlton).

Of recent ‘greats’ Kevin Sheedy only had 57% and Leigh Matthews a little better at 57.9%. Stellar coaching careers but not stellar stats by any means… So does that help Buckley’s case to stay?

All these records are easily overshadowed by Chris Scott of the current crop of coaches who has a stunning 71.1% win ratio. Wowsers !

But what does this tell us? You can prove anything with stats. We can carve up the coaches various teams and how they performed with each club at different stages and before you know it we can prove a point.

The key to Buckley has to be that he took over a top performing team and has been going downhill since then.

Let AFL not get into the crazy ways of the Soccer and sack managers after half a season. The players must take responsibility too (imagine if Cloke could kick straight!). But Buckley has had a long time in an increasingly hot seat… Is it time for Nathan to (Buck)leave?

The POM

 

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The (Potential) Game of the Week – Round 2

The POMs
(Potential)
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Round One done and we dance along to Round Two
There were some crackers in that opening round including the demolition of the Pies, the smashing of Freo, the squeaky bum win by the D’s and the wonderful win by the Cats with one Mr Patrick Dangerfield performing rather well (imagine when he kicks straight as well!)
All sets us up for an intriguing Round Two…. Now, we all know that the reigning Premiers (whoever they are) tend to start a little slower the next season. Maybe due to one long and well deserved party, a lethargy over being champs, a downright lack of motivation… Whatever it may be it results in a sluggish start. But I for one didn’t expect the 30 point smashing by the Cats. That should kick start the Hawks into a sense of commitment !
On the other hand the losing finalists tend to be a little more motivated, assuming they didn’t get lucky in getting to the final in the first place of course. And whilst West Coast didn’t have the hardest Round One opponents against the Lions they still handed them a very good flogging!

With Round Two throwing up (not literally) the 2015 Grand Final replay at the MCG, the Hawks v Eagles is my “Game of the Week”. A must watch to see if the Eagles can take their good form into a game against the wounded Hawks.

The POM

Beware the Bombers

As has been well documented, more than once, the once glorious bombers, previously known for flying up, up have hit a wee snag this year.  Thirty-four players of their 2012 team have had to take their metaphorical medicine (bad pun I know!) and sit on the side-lines for the 2016 season.  Some of the players no-longer play or now play for other AFL teams.  The key point being… DON’T PICK THEM!

Of those still playing, here is a list of the banned players to avoid for 2016:

  • Angus Monfries
  • Brent Stanton
  • Heath Hocking
  • Jobe Watson
  • Patrick Ryder
  • Cale Hooker
  • David Myers
  • Tayte Pears
  • Tom Bellchambers
  • Michael Hurley
  • Jake Carlisle
  • Travis Colyer
  • Jake Melksham
  • Stewart Crameri
  • Ben Howlett
  • Dyson Heppell
  • Michael Hibberd

 

The (Potential) Game of the Week : Round One….

The POMs
(Potential)
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With the new season kicking off shortly there are a number of fans who have heightened anticipation around their teams chances. Expectation, hope and plain delusion lead to thoughts of:

– Can we make top 8?
– Can we make Top 4?
– Can we be minor premier champions?
– And can we go all the way?

For one clubs set of fans, theirs is a more pressing question. Can we avoid the wooden spoon and can we even win a game?!?!

Usually reserved for the like of Melbourne or Brisbane of late this is the question being asked by the Bombers (very loyal) fan base. Right or wrong, whether known by the players or not the punishment has been handed down. A saga lasting for years will certainly continue until the players have served their bans.

But what this does make for is a MUST watch game in Round One. A depleted side in the Bombers but one where youth will be given a chance to stake a claim.

History for these clubs is obviously short but the stats show:

Played: 5
Essendon: 4
Gold Coast: 1
Draws: 0

The only win for Gold Coast came last year with a margin of just two points… and 2015 had them close in the table, though at the wrong end of the ladder:

15th – Essendon – W 6, L 16
16th – Gold Coast – W 4, L 17, D 1

So with a new makeshift team for the Bombers and little separating them last year Gary Abletts Gold Coast go in as clear favourites.

It may not be the prettiest of games, but Essendon v Gold Coast is a must watch and my (Potential) Game of the Week.

This will show what 2016 holds for Essendon. Anything but a clear loss will be seen as a victory in most parts.

The POM

Top 5 Forwards for Round One

 

top 5Top 5 Forwards for Round One only.

But who makes the list?

Most banter over a beer would reel off a couple of names straight away… Kennedy, Franklin, Gunston….

But lets look at the stats… And importantly, which stats to look at?

2015 – Top Goal Kickers

Obviously a quick glance at the last years top goal kickers gives an indication:

1 Joshua Kennedy (West Coast)            80
2 Eddie Betts (Adelaide)                         63
2 Jeremy Cameron (GWS)                     63
4 Taylor Walker (Adelaide)                    59
5 Jack Gunston (Hawthorn)                  57

No Franklin for well known reasons but still I would have in my Top 5 Forwards for Round One… Wouldn’t you????

2015 – Top Averages

Maybe a better indication would be to look at an average, as the top goal kickers includes players who went further into the competition… Kennedy played in the Grand Final, but Cameron only played up until Round 23…

Lets have a look at that….

1 Joshua Kennedy West Coast     3.20
2 Jeremy Cameron GWS              2.86
3 Lance Franklin Sydney             2.76
4 Eddie Betts Adelaide                 2.74
5 Taylor Walker Adelaide            2.57

Kennedy still there ! As you’d expect a few similar names but a couple of new entrants to our Top 5 all of a sudden….

However, this still only gives you an average…. It doesn’t account for the other possible factors that really cam influence a score, such as:

1 – Opposition in Round One… A major factor of course ! For example consider these….

Geelong play Hawthorn so Gunston from our initial list may be scratched???

Adelaide are away to North… Betts and Taylor scratched??? Or keep one…

GWS play Melbourne and West Coast host Brisbane… Cameron and Kennedy are definite starters for sure. So we have two of five….

2 – Slow starter… Players can be really slow to start the season but give them a few games to warm up and watch their numbers fly. A Round 5 Top Forward may never make your Round One Top 5!

3 – One off performance (or inconsistent performance…. such as one Travis Cloke

4 – Pre-season form and any injuries. The latter is a major blight of any Fantasy Coach and a worry for this question…

5 – A newbie or rank outsider… Who knows who will come good this year!! And will they perform on Game Day One !!

So how easy is it after all…. we have left many out in our discussions above  who could be included and the question remains … who’s your Top 5 Forwards for Round One?

The POM

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The Premiership Wager

We have just launched a brand new feature on the bench called the Premiership Wager.

 

 

The Premiership Wager lets you put a bet on the outcome of your season long fantasy Competition.  All of the coaches submit their wager through the site which forms your competitions prize pool.  At the end of the season, the winner of the Competition will get their prize paid straight into their betting account.

As a Competition Manager, you have probably been doing this yourself and so would know of the hassle of having to collect the entry fee from your coaches, chasing up the late payers, sticking the cash somewhere (so you don’t spend it) and then paying it out at the end of the year.

As a Coach, you might know the joy of winning the season, only to have to wait for the last of the late payers to pay their way or for your competition manager to put his hand in his pocket, before you get your cash.

Well now, the Premiership Wager can take all of that hassle away for you and manage your competitions prizes.

Check out the video above for a sneak peak into the Premiership Wager.

As the Competition Manager, all you need to do to setup the Premiership Wager is pick the entry fee amount and the split of the prize pool between the winner and runner-up – that’s it.

The Coaches will receive an email with all of the details can can simply click the link and pay through the site.

The cash gets stored in a trust account for the year and upon your Premier being decided, will be automatically transferred to the winner and runner-ups account.

To try to keep on top of late payers (all Competitions have them, and you know who you are!), when you have the Premiership Wager running, all Coaches must have joined the Premiership Wager before they can submit their team. Coaches will continue to be locked out from submitting their team until they have either paid or we hit round 3 after which time the betting pool is closed.  After round 3, all Coaches will be able to enter a team however only those who joined the Premiership Wager will be eligible for the prize pool.

If you want to learn more, you can have a look at the rule of the site here.