AFL Round 1 – Footscray v Brisbane Lions: Hope Versus Hope

There’s various levels of hope for each footy fan and dependent on the stage of the season, isn’t there?

At the end of the season:

Making the finals is an improvement.

Well at least we won more games than last season.

XXX looks a likely type; we could build a forward line around him.

At least we won the Brownlow.

That’s our second Coleman medal in three seasons.

Those draft picks look like they will go all right next year.

We won the last two so that will give us momentum for next season. (huh?)


During the season:

We can still make the 8; we only have to win 5 of the last 6 games and hope the other teams lose 5 of their last 6.  (Does any team that has a mathematical chance ever make the finals?  I can only think of Fitzroy circa 1984 winning last 5 or 6).

There’s still a possibility we could finish tenth.

If we can get aaa back in the team that would make a difference.


At the end of a game:

We would have won by more but for that last few minutes of each quarter

Next week we are at MCG – we play well there.


During a game:

We outscored them that quarter.

We had more scoring shots in the last half of that quarter.

The umpires are against us.

If they would just kick straight we’ll win this.

They must have had the wind.


The time of the most hope though, is at the start of a new season.  Everybody is on 0 wins and it’s a clean slate.  There’s lots to hope for although I’m sure that there were a few Bulldog supporters who felt more than a little trepidation as they faced the first round coming off 11 losses at the end of last season. Brisbane’s undefeated pre-season and resultant silverware had generated its own hope.  They looked fantastic in the NAB Grand Final.


Most experts and more than a few armchair ones had predicted a certain bottom five placing for the Bulldogs so supporters would have felt a little uncomfortable at the start of the new season. Having seen the corresponding fixture last year when the Lions won by close to 10 goals I was also convinced in my own armchair that the match was a foregone conclusion and the Lions would pull away for an easy win.  The experts were asking where their goals were going to come from.  Sixteen minutes into the first term was the answer: 5 separate goalkickers and Brisbane with not one.


The Lions were insipid; the Bulldogs inspired.


In fact the Lions seemed to lack almost all the skills needed in today’s game; no pressure, poor kicking to position, poor tackling, missing set shots and kick outs, lack of awareness, no run.  The contrast from the NAB Grand Final was ridiculous.


On the other hand I was very impressed with the Bulldogs strong commitment to each other, excellent tackling, fitness, excellent skills with hand and foot.  Sometime things just go your way too – Murphy’s goal defied physics.  By the end of the game a few things were clearer – the Bulldogs had a number of avenues to goal and looked much better than a bottom five team.  There’s hope!


For the Lions there was limited hope: – didn’t win a quarter; did not have more scoring shots in a quarter.  Merrett played well as did Handley.  Mathematically they can make the eight.


Does anyone want to buy an armchair?

About Noel McPhee

Noel's background is in statistics including 13 years at the ABS. More recent employment has been at Deakin University and Services Australia. He has worked on every State and Commonwealth election this millennium plus a few Local Government Elections. His weekly article, 'The Stats Bench' appears weekly on the Eastern Football Netball League's website. Noel's legacy as a sportsman is that he tried hard; two cricket fielding trophies, a tennis premiership and boundary umpiring about 80 EFL senior games. He has completed over 25 parkruns in quite slow times in the last three years.


  1. Barkly St End says

    Mathematically they can make the eight, heh, heh, no one can argue with that after round 1.

    Well done dogs.

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