Squiggle on Round 9


Everyone knows the AFL ladder is a filthy liar until at least the halfway mark of the season, but right now it has its own alt-right web show advertising male vitality pills. The official ladder is so full of crap, it could and should be dumped outside Punt Road as a warning for the Richmond coach.

More on that later. It was a great week for Sydney, who came to Melbourne to face a red hot St Kilda, and played like they just remembered they were a pre-season flag favourite.

It was also an excellent week for Essendon, who put the Eagles down by 10 goals.

Adelaide returned to the winners’ list, although an 80-point victory over Brisbane was only par. Maybe even below par, if you consider the number of Lions scoring shots. Still, that was better than GWS, who managed to extract a win from their game against the Tigers only after a twist of fate so heinous, DVDs of the game should only be allowed to be sold under the counter in Canberra. I just want to say, it goes to show that the Geneva Convention has a long way to go before the world can be truly free of acts of horrific torture and abuse. Also that when you think you’ve been hurt so badly you can never feel anything again, you actually can. You can.

I’m going to the Dreamtime game this weekend and I already feel twitchy and fragile, like I’m coming home to an abusive husband, and the house is dark, and I’m pushing open the door and I just know he’s in there somewhere, sitting in his chair, smoking. I just hope this time he’ll be good to me.

Anyway. After three wins by minuscule margins, the Giants are flattered by their ladder position. They’re also suffering through an injury blight, so it may all even out. But Squiggle thinks close wins are only a little better than close losses, at least in terms of rating team strength. There’s quite a lot of good evidence that the result of close games is a coin toss, with teams winning close ones due to luck more than skill.

Some will inevitably string together a series of close wins or close losses, the same way that if you toss a coin many times, you’ll eventually get a run of heads or tails. But it’s not reflective of an ability to keep doing so, so when this happens, the team’s ladder position becomes deceptive.

Fremantle notably did this in 2015, becoming an incredibly unlikely minor premier, and duly crashed down the ladder the following year. But here they are again in 2017! They’re sitting 5th with a percentage that would make a 14th placed team blush. Certainly a lot of that is because of one terrible game, when they lost by 89 to Port Adelaide. But with victories by 2, 5, and 2 points, and no close losses, they could very easily be bottom 6.

So the official ladder is lying. We’re more likely to wind up with something like this:

And believe it or not, Brisbane are also flattered by their ladder position, with their sole win so far this year coming by 2 points at home against Gold Coast in Round 1. None of their 8 losses have been close.

Port come off the killer bye this week, so that will be interesting. They managed to improve their standing during their off-week, mainly thanks to the Eagles sliding.

We’ve had a super-likely wooden spooner for quite a while, but the race for 17th is coming down to just three teams: Gold Coast, Hawthorn, and Carlton, and most likely one of the latter two.

Flagpole! It’s Crow favouritism, as usual. Flagpole still loves you, Adelaide.

Pray for me.

Discuss on BigFooty!