GIGSTUFF

GIGSTUFF 51

Posted by Gigs on 15th April 2011

by Andrew Gigacz

MEATLOAF

The bad news is we didn’t get the draw were hoping for last week and we are no longer on target for 24 drawn games in this year’s home-and-away rounds. The good news is that we are still on a “2 out of 3” schedule, meaning we will still get a record 16 draws, and that the first two weeks of the finals will each have games where extra time is required and the Grand Final will be a draw again.

You’re not doubting that logic are you? Surely extrapolation never lies… Read the rest of this entry »

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GIGSTUFF 50 – The score on the draw

Posted by Gigs on 6th April 2011

by Andrew Gigacz

The statistical planets are clearly aligned at the moment folks. Another draw last Friday means that, as mentioned in GigStuff 49, we remain on world-record pace for 24 draws during the home and away season, three finals going into extra-time and ANOTHER drawn Grand Final. And the events of Friday night have given us a clue to who will play in that drawn Grand Final and what footballing tragedy may befall them. To find out which team that is, and why pages 924 and 925 of the 2011 AFL Guide are my favourite two in the whole book, read on in our GigStuff Draw Extravaganza Special. Read the rest of this entry »

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Giga Bites 7 – Director’s Cut

Posted by Gigs on 6th April 2011

Below is an extended version of Giga Bites, which appeared in the Saturday Age on 19th March, 2011.

by Andrew Gigacz

TIGER TRENDS (1)

Depending on which trend-line one follows, the news regarding Richmond’s Round 1 prospects is either bad or worse. If a line is drawn through the Tigers’ last two season-opening clashes against the Blues (losses of 83 points in 2009 and 56 points last year), then Damian Hardwick’s men are heading for another loss, albeit by only 29 points this time. A continuation of that trend will see the Tigers lose by just 2 points in next year’s opening round, before they finally crack it for a 25-point win in Round One, 2013.

TIGER TRENDS (2)

On the other hand, a look at the last three regular season matches between these two sides reveals three wins to Carlton by 20 points (R15, 2009), 56 points (R1, 2010) and 89 points (R20, 2010). Successive increases of 36 and 33 points in those winning margins suggest another 30 points could be added to the next margin, meaning Carlton can look forward to a whopping 119-point victory this Thursday night!

BREAKING NEWS (1)

37 years after one R. Nixon’s career came crashing down as a result of scandal, that of another is hanging by a thread. With the potential cancellation of his licence it remains to be seen if Ricky Nixon will remain in the news. Despite extensive investigation, Giga Bites is unable to confirm rumours of the creation of a tell-all website, to be known as either ‘Ricky-Leaks’ or ‘Ricky-Nicky-Leaks’.

BOMBER TRENDS (1)

James Hird’s tenure as Essendon coach is off to a bright start with the Bombers making it all the way to the pre-season Grand Final. And if history is anything to go by the honeymoon should continue until at least Round One of the real stuff. The records show that in all previous seasons in which a new team has been added to the league (1908, 1925, 1987, 1991, 1995 and 1997), Essendon has won its first game in that year. The Dons’ proud first-up record extends even to the inaugural VFL season of 1897.

BOMBER TRENDS (2)

And the news just gets better for Hird and Bomber fans. The Dons’ opening match pits them against the Western Bulldogs and the last four occasions these two sides have met in Round One has seen Essendon take the points. The teams have met 12 times in Round Ones past and the Bombers have an overall win-loss record in those games of 8-4. Even the four games Essendon lost were all by margins of under a goal.

BREAKING NEWS (2)

Despite continued on-field success, rumours abound that not everything is rosy behind the scenes at Collingwood. Talk continues to surface regarding the future of current coach Mick Malthouse, and whether the Pies’ coaching succession plan will go ahead. Despite extensive investigation, Giga Bites is unable to confirm rumours of the creation of a tell-all website, to be known as ‘Micky-Leaks’.

POSTCODE OF THE WEEK

Despite losing their final practice match against North Melbourne last Saturday, the game proved at least to be an exercise in self-recognition for the Western Bulldogs. The progressive behinds tally of Rodney Eade’s team over four quarters was 2,4,6,9 and 2469 is the postcode of a place in NSW called… Bulldog.

BREAKING NEWS (3)

What was seen by many as a messy handling of the end of Mark Thompson’s coaching career at Geelong, has prompted some historians to look at previous coaching regimes at the Cattery and how they were overseen by the administration, stretching all the way back to the 1950s. Despite extensive investigation, Giga Bites is unable to confirm rumours of the creation of a tell-all website on this topic, to be known as ‘Reg-Hickey-Leaks’.

SPORTING ANAGRAM OF THE WEEK

Brisbane Roar’s come-from-behind victory against Central Coast in the A-League grand final led to some wild celebrations amongst supporters. Despite extensive investigation, and the fact that it is an anagram of BRISBANE ROAR, Giga Bites is unable to confirm rumours that the behaviour resulted in AIRBORNE BRAS.

For more of Andrew Gigacz’s weird facts and figures from the world of sport and beyond, visit www.footyalmanac.com.au

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GIGSTUFF 49

Posted by Gigs on 1st April 2011

by Andrew Gigacz

“2… 1… ZERO, AND THE FOOTY SEASON HAS CLEARED THE TOWER OF OFF-SEASON SCANDAL”

And what a season blastoff it was! 2-point, 1-point, zero-point margins and a 4-point one in there, to boot. I’ve got enough material from round 1 to last me until the mid-season break! Or I would have if there were a mid-season break this year…

THE ROUND ONE FORECAST

This time last year, everyone thought I was mad. And not just because of that episode where I walked onto a packed train and yelled, “we’re all gonna die!” (Really, I don’t know what all the fuss was about; we ARE all gonna die eventually. It was just a statement of fact. Why do people always shoot the messenger?)

No, the real reason people thought I was mad was the fact that after just one round of footy in 2010, I declared that only three sides could possibly win the flag. And those three sides? Collingwood, St Kilda and Port Adelaide. But I went further than that, pointing out that the mostly likely Grand Final was Collingwood v St Kilda and the game could go either way. (Yes, folks, it was a draw.)

Those who doubt that this really happened are welcome to confirm the fact right here.

And all that was purely based on last year’s Round 1 results.

KNOCKED OUT IN THE FIRST ROUND

So what does Round 1, 2011 tell us about this year’s outcome? Well the results aren’t as clear cut this time around. I can’t narrow the field down to three just yet. But what I can do is tell you that four teams have already been eliminated from the 2011 premiership race. And in a big shock, two of those four a from last year’s “only three teams can win it” group. In an even bigger shock, three of the four sides that CANNOT win this year’s flag are from last year’s top 4!

The race for the 2011 is down to 13 teams folks. Out of the running after just one round are Port Adelaide, Footscray, Geelong and… yes! The reigning premiers, Collingwood, WILL NOT go back-to-back.

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Giga Bites 6 – Director’s Cut

Posted by Gigs on 18th March 2011

Below is an extended version of Giga Bites, which appeared in the Saturday Age on 12th March, 2011.

Giga Bites

Andrew Gigacz

AN ELUSIVE MATCH-UP

It may surprise some footy fans that, despite being two powerhouses of the AFL, last night’s NAB Cup Grand Final was only the second time in a hundred years that Essendon and Collingwood have met in a Grand Final of any sort. Having faced off in the ultimate game of the 1901, 1902 and 1911 seasons, the Bombers and Magpies have met in Grand Final just once more since – until last night. That match was Collingwood’s 1990 drought-breaking premiership win.

WIN OR LOSE, IT’S ALL GOOD NEWS

Regardless of the result of last night’s Essendon-Collingwood NAB Cup Grand Final, recent history suggests that the portents are good for both clubs. The participants of the NAB Cup Grand Finals of the last three years have all gone on to be part of the action in September. In 2008 Adelaide and St Kilda played a thrilling pre-season final before the Saints fell in by 5 points. The Saints went on to play in a Preliminary Final that year, while the Crows made an Elimination Final. The following year Geelong trounced Collingwood in the NAB Cup Final before repeating the dose in the Preliminary Final six months later and going on to win the flag. And last year Barry Hall led the Bulldogs to NAB-Cup glory against St Kilda, before the Saints reversed the result in the Preliminary Final.

LIFE IMITATES SPORT

After Ricky Nixon’s return to Melbourne from the UK on Sunday night, there was anticipation of a media circus at the offices of Nixon’s Flying Start management company on Monday. But Nixon was a no–show at Docklands, and had no public comment to make until the following day.

So it should have come as no surprise to punters that on the same Monday, in the first race at Geraldton, a horse named “Let The Show Begin” finished well back in the field and the winner of the race was “Can’t Say Too Much”.

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Giga Bites 5 – Director’s Cut

Posted by Gigs on 9th March 2011

Below is an extended version of Giga Bites, which appeared in the Saturday Age on 5th March, 2011.


by Andrew Gigacz

RYDERS RIDE AGAIN

Two sporting Ryders were scheduled to be in action last night. Paddy Ryder was due to line up for Essendon in its NAB Cup semi-final against St Kilda; and Jesse Ryder would have taken to the field with the rest of the New Zealand side in their match against Zimbabwe at Ahmedabad.

And while having two elite sportsmen who share a surname playing on the same day is not particularly unusual, there are one or two other interesting parallels between the two that set this pair apart:

Paddy Ryder is the second Ryder to have played VFL/AFL footy.

Jesse Ryder is the second Ryder to have played Test cricket.

Paddy Ryder made his debut on 1/4/2006. Fred Ryder played his last (and only) VFL game 7/6/1926.

Jesse Ryder made his Test debut on 17/10/2008. Jack Ryder played his last Test on 16/3/1929.

In both cases, the difference between one Ryder’s career ending and the other starting in is just over 29,000 days (29,153 between Fred and Paddy, 29,070 between Jack and Jesse).

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Giga Bites 4 – Director’s Cut

Posted by Gigs on 9th March 2011

Below is an extended version of Giga Bites, which appeared in the Saturday Age on 19th February, 2011.


by Andrew Gigacz

DRAWN-AGAIN SAINTS

There appears to be something about drawn matches that attracts the St Kilda Football Club. Last Friday night the Saints drew with Essendon in Round 1 of the NAB Cup. This came, of course, after their drawn Grand Final against Collingwood last year. And just weeks prior to that, a thriller against Hawthorn culminated in scores tied at 87-apiece. A scan of VFL/AFL records going back to 1980 shows that St Kilda has been involved in nine draws since the start of that season. Only the Bulldogs, with ten, have registered more.

With St Kilda’s draw against the Bombers coming in the first week of the NAB Cup, it means the Saints have technically played two draws in three rounds (separated only by their thrashing at the hands of Collingwood in last year’s Grand Final replay). The last such occurrence of a side playing two draws within three rounds was in 1977 and that team was – you guessed it – St Kilda.

For the record, the Saints tied with Footscray in Round 5 of that season and with South Melbourne in Round 7.

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Giga Bites 3 – Director’s Cut

Posted by Gigs on 9th March 2011

Below is an extended version of Giga Bites, which appeared in the Saturday Age on 19th February, 2011.

by Andrew Gigacz

FIRST UP WINNERS

With cricket’s one-day World Cup kicking off tonight, advice might be in order for the captain who ends up winning the toss in the final on April 2. In seven of the nine previous World Cup finals, the winning team has been the one which has batted first. The two exceptions to the rule were Sri Lanka in 1996, who chased down Australia’s total of 7/241 and Australia in 1999, when the Australians lost just two wickets in overhauling Pakistan’s meagre total of 132.

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GIGA BITES 2 – Director’s Cut

Posted by Gigs on 14th February 2011

Below is a significantly extended version of Giga Bites, which appeared in the Saturday Age on 12th February, 2011.

by Andrew Gigacz

DRAWING A LONG (SUPER) BOW(L)

Super Bowl XLV was played this week and the Green Bay Packers’ winning score of 31 should have come as no surprise, especially given the fact that their opponents were the Pittsburgh Steelers.

In all of the Packers’ previous appearances in the Super Bowl, the winning score has been 31, 33 or 35. When combined with the fact that the Pittsburgh Steelers were involved in the only other Super Bowls to register any of those three scores, a winning score of 31, 33 or 35 last Monday was really never in doubt!

Super Bowls involving scores of 31, 33 or 35:

1967: Packers 35 defeated Kansas City Chiefs 10

1968: Packers 33 def Oakland Raiders 14

1979: Steelers 35 def Dallas Cowboys 31

1980: Steelers 31 def Los Angeles Rams 19

1997: Packers 31 def New England Patriots 21

1998: Denver Broncos 31 def Packers 24

2011: Packers 31 def Pittsburgh Steelers 25

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Giga Bites 1 – Director’s Cut

Posted by Gigs on 14th February 2011

Below is a slightly extended version of Giga Bites, which appeared in The Saturday Age on 5th February, 2011

by Andrew Gigacz

THE LAST WORD (OR LETTER) ON THE AUSTRALIAN OPEN.

They may have been the number one and two seeds, but Caroline Wozniacki and Vera Zvonereva were always going to be up against it in their efforts to win the women’s Australian Open title last weekend. A scan through the records shows that no player, male or female, with a surname containing the letter “Z” has ever won the Australian Open.

Several have come close. In 2007, Fernando Gonzalez was defeated by Roger Federer in the men’s final, while four “Z” women have also fallen at the final hurdle. Australian Di Fromholtz was runner-up back in 1977 and the 1990s were littered with women’s runners-up whose surname contained a “Z”. Mary Joe Fernandez lost to Steffi Graf in 1990 and to Monica Seles in 1992. In 1994 and 1995 Aranxta Sanchez Vicario was on the receiving end against Graf and Mary Pierce; and finally, in the 1998 Australian Open, Conchita Martinez succumbed to Martina Hingis.

Interestingly, all of those finals were straight sets losses.

In the men’s draw, every other letter of the alphabet has been represented at least once in the surnames of Australian Open winners going back to 1905, including exotic letters such as “Q” (Adrian Quist – 1936, 1940 and 1948) and “X” (Fred Alexander – 1908). Q, X and Z are yet to be represented in the list of women’s champions.

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