Category Archives: Littley’s Analytics

Draft position and finals

statsSome interesting stats from Chris (one of our veteran Commissioners).

Draft Seat Titles – getting No 1, 9 or 10 are historically the better seats. Seat 2 is the worst. In fact in 35 season (across a few grades) only 1 title has been won from seat 2.

Draft Seat for Wooden Spoons – There have been 6 wooden spoons for draft seat 2, 5 for seat 8.

Draft Seat for getting a finals birth – 1, 6 and 7 are the best. 4, 5 and 8 the worst.

Once in the finals – winning the minor premiership counts for 51% of GF victories.

Across the 35 seasons, 5 coaches whom won the minor premiership have been knocked out in straights sets (we call it the JL’s after after a coach with a history of it).

Of those finishing second 6 have been JL’ed. Of those finishing third 15 JL’s.

A grade produced an average score per week during the reason season in excess of 185 in 2015. That was 8 up on last year. When we started in 2004 the average score was 153.6 using the same scoring methodology.

Scoring: When is the right time for change?

Scoring Formula

With 2015 now open on TheBench most leagues are currently preparing for the new season to kick off. Commissioners would have finalised their managers for the upcoming season and set the draft date so the attention will be switching to a review of the rules and implementing any changes that might have been flagged in 2014.

My own league is currently undergoing this process and with our rules pretty much set after years of fine tuning, our main focus has been what changes (if any) do we need to consider with regards to our starting line ups and the all important scoring system. Over half of the leagues hosted by TheBench take advantage of customisable scoring systems and this is where things can get interesting. As the style in which AFL games are played evolves so too does the value which you place on your scoring positions.

In the KFL (of which I am commissioner) we have some similarities to the Classic league available on TheBench; however there are a few amendments. For 2014 we had the following scoring in place:

1 x Ruckmen         Hit Out x1, Mark x1, Disposal x0.5, Goal x2

2 x Tacklers           Tackle x5

4 x Forwards         Goal x 6, Behind x 1

5 x Midfielder        Disposal x1, Goal x2

2 x Markers           Mark x3

For our review the main thing we focus on each season is trying to get all positions to be of a similar value. Of course you are going to get managers who push a case due to a bust out game (L.Hansen with 17 marks in one game comes to mind) however for the most part we are looking for trends in the game that are either over inflating a positions statistics or reducing their relevance to the competition.

For years ruckmen dominated the first round of the draft so that has been adjusted from year to year to help level the playing field. Of course securing a healthy big man is a great way to get your team plenty of stats however it is no longer the be all and end all. And ultimately that is what you are trying to create within your league, to have a scoring system that creates more strategies to building a successful team. That way a manager must be switched on for draft night rather than being able to go into autopilot.

For 2015 our attention has turned towards the forward position and trying to make them more fantasy relevant for 2015. The days of forwards kicking 100 to win the Coleman are long gone. The last forward to kick over 100 goals was Lance Franklin who managed to kick 113 (including finals) in 2008, Brendan Fevola kicked 89 in 2009 however since then no forward has kicked more than 82 goals in any season.

With AFL sides looking to spread their goal kickers to small forwards and more importantly midfielders perhaps it is time to adjust the statistics that are included to suit. Here are a few ideas that have come out of my league to potentially combat this trend:

Increase Points Scored Per Goal

One of the simple fixes we have been looking at is to increase points scored for a goal to 8. All of a sudden cheering on your forward when he is kicking a bag on the weekend has a lot more meaning to it, and really, isn’t this why we all play fantasy sports?

Forwards to Include Marks

Another idea that is doing the rounds on our email chain is to reward the key forwards of the game by including points for a mark. There is nothing worse than watching your forward patrolling the wing ala Nick Reiwoldt or Buddy Franklin so adding a few points here is another solution.

Create a New Position

Unlike other fantasy competitions the beauty of TheBench is you can get creative so another idea floated was to split our existing 4 forwards into 2 x Full Forward and 2 x Small forward. Full forwards could score from goals, behinds and marks and small forwards goals, behinds and tackles. Every week you hear about how important forward line pressure is so why not introduce this into our fantasy games.

THE VOTE

So after much discussion we ended up floating these ideas as an official vote and the only one that managers had an interest in for 2015 was increasing goals to be 8 points with 5 out of 10 votes. After much arm pulling and ear bending of the 5 managers who voted no we finally ended up with a 6th manager siding with the yes’s but only for a trial basis with the scoring reverting back to 6 points if the votes fails to get a majority of votes for season 2016 (got to love having lawyers in the league).

 

So what changes are you looking to implement for 2015 and what do you think of the ideas mentioned in the article?

 

 

 

Say good bye to the bye

statsWith the wretched bye rounds behind us now for AFL season 2014, we thought we would pull some quick stats together to compare the results.  Some of the numbers might surprise you, they did for me!

We compared the scores for the games before the bye rounds and then the scores for only the three bye rounds, in both the classic and the full field league template.

So what were the results?

First we checked the the average scores.  Not surprisingly, the averages were higher in the pre-bye rounds than during the bye rounds.  Interestingly however, the difference was only small, 5 points for the classic template (only a bit over 3%).

Next we had a look at the standard deviation.  My school and uni stats classes were a long time ago and I can’t exactly remember what standard deviation is but I’m pretty sure is give you a hint as to how much a set of results vary.  And as we might expect, there was more variation with scores during the bye rounds.

Finally, we had a look at the highest and lowest scores.  Lowest scores, well a no brainer, the lowest scores during the bye rounds were lower than the pre-bye rounds.

The Highest scores however, this is what caught me off guard.  The highest score during the bye rounds were much higher.  Why?  Well your guess is as good as mine.  Could it be that Jack Riewoldt finally pulled his finger out and delivered a blinding 11 goal performance, or perhaps Tom Liberatore put a solid 26 tackles together in this two games over the three rounds, dunno…

Perhaps the weeks rest means that the players perform better, bumping up the scores?  We checked that too:

Biggest bag of goals during the bye rounds was 11 to Jack Riewoldt and Josh J. Kennedy.  Prior to the bye rounds, 7 was the most for Jay Schulz.

For the tackles, 14 was the most to Adam Treloar in rounds one to sever while 15  tackles when to Ryan Griffen during the bye rounds.

Most hit-outs, 53 to Jamar during the three bye rounds, 60 to Mumford during the previous 7 rounds (finally a result that makes sense).

Disposals, 41 to Scott Pendlebury during the byes, 44 to Dyson Heppell prior to the bye rounds.

 

So there you have it.  A big stack of stats and not a lot to conclude other than it doesn’t make fielding a team any easier during the bye.

 

Here are the average scores:

Classic League Template:

Statistic Pre-Bye Rounds Bye Rounds
Average Scores 174 168
Standard Deviation 25 40
Maximum Scores 96 46

 

Full Field League Template:

Statistic Pre-Bye Rounds Bye Rounds
Average Scores 1318 870
Standard Deviation 771 513
Maximum Scores 2081 1380

 

 

 

 

 

Rules, Rules and More Rules

Shepelle blamed the baggage handlers, Hirdy blamed Dank, Dank blamed ASADA/WADA or the WIGGLES? and Kevin Barlett has blamed the AFL commission.

In the past ten years there’s been an enormous development in the way the game we view today. The grounds are superior, players are full time athletes and  the weekends fixtures are solely to please Channel 7, not you or I wanting to head to the Royal before a match at the MCG on a Saturday arvo.

Having some spare time last Friday night (as the game between Collingwood and Richmond was awful) I dug up the changes in rules that effectively have been developed purportedly to improve the way the Australian Rules Football is played.

http://www.afl.com.au/afl-hq/the-afl-explained/rule-changes-1858-2013

At first these all seemed reasonable however once you start considering the consequences it could be argued KB and his merry men (and women, just in case there are any on that committee) must also wear some of the responsibility.

Since the implementation of the interchange sub in 2011 there has been an increase of 50% in the number of players gathering 25 or more possessions each week and a 84% in the number of players making 5 tackles or more each week, the majority however as a result of the changes to the interchange cap last year.

My understand of the interchange cap was to improve the spectacle of the game by reduce congestion on the field?

WRONG.. todays game is much like an under 9’s match at your local ground on a Saturday morning.

My view on why this is happening is quite evident.

Midfields now rest in the forward line, Swan, Cotchin, Rockliff, Watson, Fyfe and Bartel have all been seen standing at full forward. This means Forwards such as Buddy, Jack, Cloke, Pav have all pushed up the ground to provide these midfielders with a rest.  This creates the ability for the ball to be transitioned into the opponents forward line quickly as players are fitter than ever before they are able to get to the contest where a resting midfielder is located putting a higher number of players in that area.

Whilst I’m taking aim at a legend of the game I find it completely ironic its only until Kevin leaves the AFL inner rules sanctum to take aim at those running the show.

Personally I see no other way but to reduce the number of players on the field, certainly we don’t want to start turning our game into a netball field, the sub rule in soccer is one that would suit and we don’t want entire line ups changed like an American football match.

Its unfortunate that in its current format we’re unlikely to see the scenario of a 100 goal a season full forward (not unless GWS can revolutionise the game with Patton, Cameron and Boyd) but here’s hoping

Travis Cloke – A Bench Favorite?

clokeWritten in today’s Herald Sun is an article called AFL umpiring department does not see an issue with lack of frees paid to Collingwood’s Travis Cloke’

In writing this entry I’ll be the first to admit that not having him in my Bench team makes it easy to take the ump’s side but because he is a pie, it makes it so much more enjoyable.

In July 2013 a similar article was written in the Australian Newspaper when head coach Nathan Buckley approached the AFL Commission for an answer to the lack of frees paid to Cloke, whilst not privy to the response, the resultant outcome for the rest of the year was 12 frees for and 10 against.

Like many I get frustrated watching Travis Cloke play primarily because the only way he seems to kick goals is as a result of a one on one tussle and if he doesn’t take that mark, out come the Kleenex.

Coaches today have worked out how to play Cloke. Ross Lyon in round 1 had Michael Johnson dropping back to help McPharlin, in round 2 against Sydney, Richards and Grundy doubled up and on Saturday night against Geelong the whole team understood their role in helping Lonergan.

I remember watching full forwards of the past, either climbing packs or taking marks on the lead at full pace. Ablett, Lockett and even Fevola all had the full complement in their artillery.

When was the last time Cloke took a screamer or even managed to take a mark on the lead.. certainly not this year as his only 2 goals have been a result of a mark on the boundary line and you guessed it, a free kick.

If you’re in front of your opponent on a lead there has never in the history of the AFL been a free kick against the lead for contact made to his direct opponent, perhaps this something Cloke and his brains trust should consider.

In round 9 I’ll be up against a coach with Cloke as one of his full forwards, that game is against Adelaide at the Adelaide Oval. Needless to say I’ll be holding my breath every time the ball is launched into the Collingwood forward line where a possible one on one matchup  it taking place, here’s hoping the umpires maintain this current stance.

Don’t get me wrong he is a power full forward, and at over 105kgs he’s one big unit, but  next time you watch a pies game (if you must), take note of which player initiates contact and how many times that contact could be deemed illegal, most of the time it’s in fact Cloke.