GIGSTUFF 49

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.

GONERS

And why is this so? Because history says so, that’s why. Let’s look at Geelong first. They had a first-up one-point win over the Saints. What’s wrong with that? Plenty. On the 15 previous occasions that a team has won by the narrowest margin in Round 1, not once have they gone on to win a flag. The best effort was by the Cats themselves when, after knocking off Collingwood by a point in Round 1, 1967, they fell short by 9 points against Richmond in the big one. Geelong – GONE!

Meanwhile, Collingwood’s big mistake was to win by 75 points against Port Adelaide. Geelong defeated Footscray by just that margin in 1936 and failed to even make the finals. Collingwood – GONE!

Footscray, the recipient of that 75-point hiding, finished only 10th that season. Which means Port Adelaide are… GONE!

And finally the Doggies. Three sides in the past have been on the end of a 55 point thrashing in Round 1. The best recovery from such an event was by Fitzroy in 1960. They lost to Collingwood in Round 1 and then narrowly lost to the side that went on to lose the 1960 Grand Final (Collingwood again). And when you think about it, that’s exactly what the Bulldogs have been doing for the past three seasons (lost to Geelong in 2008, and St Kilda in 2009 and 2010). So another PF loss this year for the Dogs. Which means simply: Footscray – GONE!

THE LUCKY 13

So that leaves a baker’s dozen of sides whose demise has not yet been settled. Of these teams, the side with the greatest chance of going all the away at this stage is, unfortunately for many, Essendon. The Bombers have a 33% chance of being led to a flag in James Hird’s debut coaching year. How jealous will Hird’s fellow 1996 Brownlow Medallist be (Vossy) if that happens?!

Next cabs of the rank, in terms of premiership likelihood are Melbourne and Sydney. Four times in history have sides who’ve drawn in Round 1 gone on to take the flag. This means that John Longmire is also a chance for a first-up flag as coach. (Vossy’s blood is really starting to boil now.) The Demons and Swans have a 22% chance of taking home the ultimate prize.

Freo have a 12.5% chance of grabbing the flag, with North Melbourne, St Kilda all coming in at 6.7%. Surprisingly, winning and losing by 20 points in Round 1 gives you an equal chance of winning the flag, which means that Adelaide, Hawthorn, Carlton and Richmond are all just as likely (or unlikely) to be on the dais in October. Those four teams’ chances are currently sitting at 5.9%.

(Incidentally, we really should have known what the margins would be in the Adelaide-Hawthorn and Carlton-Richmond games, but of course that’s easy to say with the benefit of “20-20” hindsight…)

And to get Vossy up to apoplectic levels, even Guy McKenna’s Gold Coast Suns are not without a chance of a premiership in their first year, despite not having even played yet. In fact, it is because the HAVEN’T played a match that they could win the flag. History shows that the Eagles landed their first flag in 1992 after copping a bye in Round 1.

But Vossy, there is even hope your limping Lions. Back in 1946, Essendon lost to Footscray by 2 points in Round 1 before taking the flag later that year.

THE SCORE ON THE DRAW

There’s so much to be written on Round 1 draws that I might save the topic for a supplementary GigStuff over the weekend.

The good news though, is that we are on what Dennis Cometti would describe as world-record pace. At the current rate, we can look forward to 24 draws during the home and away season, three finals going into extra-time and ANOTHER drawn Grand Final. Hope you’ve have that heart check-up.

RADIO GA-GA

Nice to see Carlton’s tribute to the 70’s last Thursday. Their final score was 14.20 and 1420 was 3XY’s frequency in its heyday. (And before any correspondence is entered into, yes 3XY was also 1422 but that was only after 1978.)

And had each of Melbourne and Sydney scored two points less last Sunday, the surely radio station SEN would’ve been under the scrutiny of the AFL’s match-fixing police. SEN’s frequency is 1116 and both Sydney and Melbourne ended their day on 11.18.

SCORE WARS

And 11.18 is a total of 84. Add in Richmond’s total of 13.6 (84) and we see that 84 has jumped to a clear lead in Score Wars 2011. Incredibly, 84 was registered only three times for the entire 2010 season.

Brisbane and West Coast both scored 92, a total which only came up twice last year.

No other score was registered more than once in Round 1, although the 80s popped up everywhere, with Port scoring 80, Hawthorn 85 and North 88. There were just three scores over the ton and Geelong’s 48 was the lowest winning total since… well at least 2004. (That’s another Gig Dig I need to do.)

Last year’s winning and runner-up scores (100 and 68) were nowhere to be seen in Round 1.

MARGINAL MEDAL

Eight different games, not quite eight different margins. The leader is 20 having been registered in two of last weekend’s games. Hot on 20’s heels are 75, 55, 4, 2, 1 and 0.

LAW REPORT

Our court reporter advises that in the case of Smith vs Liberatore, the score is now Smith 117, Liberatore 2. That’s after Adelaide’s Brodie become the 117th Smith in VFL/AFL history and the Dogs’ Tom became the 2nd Liberatore.

TEAM OF THE CENTURY

So now that Jarrod Harbrow has gone from being a Bulldog to a Sun, he earns the initial GigStuff nomination for the Gold Coast Sons of the West Team of the Century.

RIDICULOUS POSTCODE OF THE WEEK

Surely St Kilda came away from last Friday night’s 1-point loss against Geelong thinking that they could’ve DONE MORE to win. Probably. And that fits in beautifully when you look at their scores from quarter time and half time in that match, 2.5 and 2.9 respectively. 2529? Well of course that’s the postcode of DUNMORE.

RIDICULOUS FOOTY ANAGRAM OF THE WEEK

And good luck to the aforementioned Brodie Smith (see Law Report above). Let’s hope his debut for Adelaide last week was the first of many exciting games, even though his name is an anagram of “Shit I’m bored”…

(Sorry, Brodie. I’m sure you’re a wonderful young man but the temptation was too great. Gigs.)

Watch out for the GigStuff “Draw” special edition over the weekend, buy Saturday’ Age, where you’ll get a completely different postcode and anagram and look out for my upcoming new column, “Omo Front Loader Concentrate” (aka “Gigs’ Soapbox”).

About Andrew Gigacz

Well, here we are. The Bulldogs have won a flag. What do I do now?

Comments

  1. John Butler says:

    Gigs, further confirmation the Pies can’t win again. Good For Football!

  2. Gigs – I challenge your hypothesis that the Cats can’t win the flag this year because of what happened in 1967. The Cats were clearly the best side in 1967 but were beaten by a maggot in a white uniform who not only allowed a Tiger mark in the Geelong goal square when the ball was so far behind the line that it was almost on Punt Road, but also because he paid a critical free against Doug Wade for “in the back” when Wade was in front of his opponent!

    Have you got any stats on teams that have won by a point in round one of any season and gone on to win the flag, after being robbed of a flag by poor umpiring at any time in their past?

  3. John Butler says:

    Geez Dips, it’s amazing how many Cats supporters are starting the sound like the Coodabeens’ Digger.

    Wade, Mooney…

  4. Dips, I never claimed that the forecast outcome would be a fair one!

    I remember that “non-goal”. But wasn’t the Doug Wade “in the back” in the 1962 Prelim? Or did Doug get doubly dudded 5 years apart?

  5. #3. “Bernie Evans. Don’t you touch him!”

  6. Gigs you might be right about the Wade decision. Still, it was in the same decade!

  7. Phil Dimitriadis says:

    Damn those sour grapes Dips! Having watched that game a few times I have to agree that the decisions went against the Cats. Polly Farmer is still filthy about those decisions, but alas we can’t change the score and the result.

    Gigs, you’ve raised the bar with this one. Vossy is in deep poop.

  8. Happy to say that we are STILL on world-record pace for draws!

  9. smokie88 says:

    Who knows, Gigs ?
    There could be even more draws over the weekend.
    Has there ever been a round with two or more draws, or
    will you save that for the supplementary edition ?

  10. Smokie. 1977. Round 7. Ess 99 v Rich 99 and St K 98 v SM 98.

    The Essendon v Richmond game was Tim Watson’s debut match.

  11. Dips #2,

    please stop hacking into my computer and plagarising my stuff before I can post it.

    Dips Says:
    April 1st, 2011 at 3:51 pm
    Gigs – I challenge your hypothesis that the Cats can’t win the flag this year because of what happened in 1967. The Cats were clearly the best side in 1967 but were beaten by a maggot in a white uniform who not only allowed a Tiger mark in the Geelong goal square when the ball was so far behind the line that it was almost on Punt Road, but also because he paid a critical free against Doug Wade for “in the back” when Wade was in front of his opponent!

    Have you got any stats on teams that have won by a point in round one of any season and gone on to win the flag, after being robbed of a flag by poor umpiring at any time in their past?

  12. Gigs, Dips #2.

    Geelong won the flag in ’63 after being robbed against Carlton in ’62.

    Go Cats.

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