Gigs’ Stats: Cold reception suits Saints and Cats just fine

Andrew Gigacz’s Finals Week 3 Stat. Declaration


Now that it’s all over bar the shouting, it remains only to be seen who’ll be shouting the bar – Saints supporters or Cats clappers.

Let’s see what could be gleaned from the two games.


In the battle of Team Blake v Team Lake it was ultimately Blake’s Saints who triumphed at the death. This was a monumental tale of passion, pain and euphoria. But never mind that, here are some stats:

  • St Kilda’s score of 60 has never before been a winning one in a Preliminary Final.
  • And that score is the same one St Kilda registered against the Dogs in their first ever finals meeting in 1961. On that occasion, however, it was not enough for victory.
  • The 7 point difference was the ninth occurrence of that margin in finals history. Four of those nine finals have involved St Kilda but this was the first time they’ve racked up a win. Their previous 7 point losses were in 1991 (to Geelong in the Elimination Final), 1971 (Hawks in the Grand Final) and 1963 (Melbourne, Semi Final).
  • Ironically the last time we had a 7 point margin in a Preliminary Final it was provided by this year’s other two top four sides. The Pies beat Geelong by 7 in the 1981 PF.


Not sure what brand of shampoo or soap was used, but Geelong certainly gave Collingwood a bath on Saturday night. Unfortunately there could only be one Johnson that was tearless on Saturday night and that was Stevie J, after his successful return from injury. For Collingwood’s Ben, it was a sad night indeed. Some statistical stuff stemming from Saturday’s slaughter:

  • Perhaps no-one was happier about Collingwood’s final losing margin than Carlton fans. Prior to the Cats’ win, there had been three previous finals in which a 73 point margin was recorded. Two of those losses were Carlton’s (GF 1949 v Ess, QF 1999 v Bris) and one was Collingwood’s (GF 1956 v Melb). This is one stat where the Blues won’t mind the Pies squaring the ledger.
  • In winning on Friday night the Saints scored 60. On Saturday Geelong scored 2 x 60. But they needn’t have bothered with the second 60. Just one 60 would still have been enough to beat Collingwood by 13 points.
  • The Magpies’ losing score of 47 has been registered in seven previous finals but this was the first one since 1924.


GOOD – For Saints their final score of 60 was only the third time in finals history it has been enough to win. The only other times it has been a successful score was in 1902, when Collingwood won the Grand Final with it, and in 1935, when the Magpies recorded a Semi-Final win before going on to another flag.

BAD – Anyone who’s checked the weather forecast for Saturday knows that we are in for cold Grand Final day, with wind, rain, hail and thunder expected, along with a top temperature of just 15 degrees. This begs the question: which of this year’s Grand Finalists runs hotter when it’s cold?

Well this year the form of both teams has been good in the cold. On days when the maximum temperature has been 16 degrees in the city where the game was played, Geelong have won 3 from 3. For St Kilda, it’s even better, with their record being 5 out of 5.

On days when it’s touched 14 degrees and gone no further, Geelong is 1 from 1. The Saints are again better with 2 from 2.

But as we know, the forecast is not for 14 or 16 degrees. It’s for 15 degrees. Well Cats fans, your team has won twice on 15 degree days this year, with the Saints successful just once. BUT – and this is a big BUT – Geelong is the only one of these two teams to LOSE on a 15 degree day. The maximum was 15 degrees on the night the Cats were torched by Carlton.

BAD – Meanwhile, back at the scoreboard, the last team prior to Geelong to record a Prelim win with a score of 120 was Melbourne in 1988. Uh-oh, Cats fans, better not look at what happened to the Demons the next week.

So that’s one good omen for St Kilda and two bad ones for Geelong. I wonder if that will affect the bookmakers’ odds.


Congratulations to Nick Riewoldt who, along with Carlton’s Bryce Gibbs and Marc Murphy, has become the first player in history to record 15 Brownlow votes and finish 9th in the count.

And good going by St Kilda in general for becoming the first team ever to have six players score more than 10 votes. The Super St Kilda Six are: Lenny Hayes (20 votes), Nick Dal Santo (17), Nick Riewoldt (15), Brendon Goddard (14), Leigh Montagna (13) and Justin Koschitzke (11). The previous record was registered by Geelong in 1991.

Oh, and Gary Ablett won the Medal.


Here’s Super Stat-man Steve Healy’s take on the Brownlow:

Well done to Gary Ablett who won the Brownlow medal with 30 votes, the same amount as Chris Judd five years ago, one more than Jimmy Bartel two years ago.

He becomes the 6th winner for Geelong after Edward Greeves (1924), Bernie Smith (1951), Alastair Lord (1962), Paul Couch (1989) and Jimmy Bartel (2007). He’s the fourth Brownlow medallist in a row to have six letters in his surname, and he’s the first player since Jason Akermanis to have a surname starting with “A”.

Since the Brownlow medal was given to Ablett (who led the competition in handballs with 702 and averaged the most possessions), it indicates that umpires must look for the player who gets the most handballs. What about the leaders in all the other stats and how many votes they got in comparison? (during the home and away season):

Most possessions: Dane Swan (700) = 12 votes (equal 20th)

Most kicks: Dane Swan (401) = 12 votes (equal 20th)

Most handballs: Gary Ablett (as mentioned)

Most marks: Nick Riewoldt (204) = 15 votes (equal 9th)

Most hitous: Darren Jolly (682) = 2 votes (equal 137th)

Most frees for: Joel Selwood (55) =16 votes (8th)

Most frees against: Simon Taylor and Mitch Clark (46) = 0 votes and 6 votes (equal 54th) respectively.

Most tackles: Brett Kirk (170) = 11 votes (equal 23rd)

Most goals: Brendan Fevola (86) = 11 votes (equal 23rd)

Most behinds: Brendan Fevola (56) = 11 votes (equal 23rd)

Most contested poss: Chris Judd (238) = 22 votes (2nd)

Most uncontested poss: Sam Mitchell (483) = 13 votes (equal 14th)

Most clangers: Daniel Jackson (83) = 5 votes (equal 64th)

Most contested marks: Jonathon Brown (49) = 19 votes (equal 4th)

Most marks I50: Jonathon Brown (105) = 19 votes (equal 4th)

Most inside 50’s: Chris Judd (129) = 22 votes (2nd)

Most rebound 50’s: Rhyce Shaw (116) = 6 votes (equal 54th)

Most one percenters: Darren Glass (132) = 3 votes (equal 106th)

Most bounces: Rhyce Shaw (160) = 6 votes (equal 54th)

Most goal assists: Brad Johnson (27) = 1 vote

Thanks Mr Healy.


In Melbourne we’ve been plagued by drought since 1997. That year was the first of a run of twelve in which the hometown of footy has had below average rainfall. I always blamed my son, Spencer, who was born in that year, for it. But maybe it all started with St Kilda’s Grand Final loss that year. So what I want for this year’s Grand Final is to break a drought. But not just one drought; a whole bunch of them.

Cats fans, you know what it’s like to go more than 40 years without a flag. And you know what it feels like to break that drought. Surely you wouldn’t begrudge the breaking of another one?

For me, the perfect Grand Final will play out with the Saints winning 15.9 (99) to Geelong 13.13 (91). This result won’t just break droughts, it will break records too. Here’s what it’ll give us:

A St Kilda flag will mean we will have had 7 different premiers in 7 years, breaking the previous mark of 6, set in seasons 1963 to 1968. And the common link between the old and new records would be Geelong and St Kilda.

  • St Kilda scoring 99 will give us the first ever occurrence of this score in a Grand Final.
  • Geelong scoring 91 would also be the first Grand Final recording of this score.
  • 8 points is the only margin less than 16 never recorded in a Grand Final.
  • For Saints fans, the long, agonising 43 year wait will finally be over.
  • And who knows? There’s been some rain around Melbourne this week. Maybe that other big drought will finally end too…


A nice touch by Geelong in scoring 3, 4, 4 and 6 goals in their four quarters on Saturday night. Leading into the Brownlow count, their efforts give us 3446, the postcode of Malmsbury, whose footy Team of the Century includes the Cats’ own Edward “Carji” Greeves, who won the very first Browlow in 1924. Carji was also a dual-premiership player, just like a couple of other Brownlow Cats could become this week.


Just as well the Pies didn’t win on Saturday night because MAGPIES v SAINTS would have turned into a MASSIVE PASTING.

In an attempt to glean an omen for the Grand Final, I went to the OAF (Official Anagrammatic Forecaster) and asked it for a winner: “CATS? SAINTS?” But the OAF’s only response was CAN’T ASSIST.

I guess the big question is whether the heroes of last Friday night, Nick Riewoldt and Lenny Hayes, are physically and mentally prepared to take Saints to one final victory. And it seems the answer might just lie in their own names, because RIEWOLDT AND HAYES becomes “READY TO WIN, EH LADS?”

About Andrew Gigacz

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


  1. Saints omens clearly outnumber the Cats. Go Saints 2009.

  2. Saints victory is a stats man’s dream, David. At least this stats man, anyway.

    It’ll give us 7 premiers in 7 years and then I just need to Doggies to do it next year to make it 8 in 8 – which it would have been if the Cats had won in either ’92 or ’94 (1990-97). They stuffed it up by losing in both of those years instead of just one. I just hope they don’t stuff it up this year by winning.

  3. If only the Cats scored one less point against the Bombers in the Semi in 1955- then it would’ve been the same scoreline as St.K V Bulldogs.

  4. Anything to be said on the strange Doggies 12 year phenomenon on their lionised losing Prelims?

    1985 – Robbed by Leigh Matthews (or Brad Hardie), what a great team we had under Mick Malthouse
    1997 – Robbed by the goal umpire, what a great team we had under Terry Wallace
    2009 – Robbed by the field umpire, what a great team we had under Rodney Eade.

    I’m not really looking forward to the mood of the fans in 2021.

  5. Nice pick-up Lucas. But it won’t matter so much in 2021 because the Dogs will take the 2010 flag. As long as I get one in my lifetime…

    Incidentally, if I could see 11 years into the future right now, would that mean I have 2020 vision…?


  6. Tony Roberts says

    Intrigued by your Grand Final weather forecast. In the event, last Saturday was much colder.

    GF Day must be one of the worst barometers (well actually, thermometers and rain gauges) of Melbourne’s long-term weather. Nearly all the cold, wet GFs of memory (1979, 1982, 2002 and 2009) followed drought winters, and often preceded appalling bushfires the following summer. So watch out, yet again, next January and February.

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