Gigs’ Stats: Make-up of the eight is not as clear-cut as you think

Andrew Gigacz’s Round 21 Stat. Declaration


As the man who inspired Ben Cousin’s torso markings once said, “so it’s come to this”.  The Pies will finish third, the Bulldogs will finish fourth and Essendon and Hawthorn will play off in a virtual elimination final.

Except that’s not quite true. Let’s look at what COULD happen depending on results:

Collingwood v Western Bulldogs

While it’s true that the Maggies are in the box seat to retain third spot (they need only win to secure it), it is well within the bounds of possibility for the Dogs to take their spot.

•    If Collingwood’s final score next Sunday is 17 or less, The Dogs will need to defeat them by at least 23 points to leapfrog their percentage and pinch third spot.
•    If Collingwood score’s anything between 18 and 129, the Bulldogs will need to win by 22 or more to claim third.
•    If the Magpies’ final score is between 130 and 254, a 21-point margin is all that’s required. (It’s getting easier, Doggies!)
•    Should Collingwood score 255 or more – and stranger things have happened (OK, stranger things haven’t happened but there’s no need to spoil my fun, is there?) a measly 20-point win will get the Dogs into third spot.

Of course the question remains, would these two sides rather finish third than fourth? While it’s true that St Kilda put both these sides to the sword in their meetings this year and that they were more competitive against Geelong, it’s also true that the side finishing fourth will play St Kilda, with the same number of days’ break as the Saints. The side rewarded with third place will play Geelong but with a preparation of one day fewer.

And besides, teams are queuing up to play the Saints now, aren’t they?

Essendon v Hawthorn – But That’s Not All

Yes, whoever wins this match will take the higher place on the ladder BUT it might not necessarily be eighth place. Consider the following scenario: The Hawks fall in by a point (101-100) against Essendon. Jekyll and Hyde Port Adelaide bring their A-game to Footy Park against a North Melbourne side physically spent by their heroic win over the Saints and win 140-37. In such a scenario Hawthorn’s efforts will be in vain as they will have fallen 0.0024% behind the Power. And if you think that scenario is ridiculous, take a look at what Port (then 13th on the ladder) did to North Melbourne (then 4th) in Round 22 last year. (They smashed them by 76 points.)
But the story does not end there. Let’s change the scenario above by having the Bombers sneak in an extra behind just before (or after, if it’s a set shot) the siren. That gives us a draw. Enough to keep the Dons half a game clear of Hawthorn. But not necessarily enough to give them a spot in the eight. Let’s imagine that after that drama has played out, Port goes ballistic, just as they did against Brisbane on Saturday (10.0 to 3.2 at quarter-time), but this time for the entire match. Their final score of 36.22 (238) to North’s 6.12 (48) will give them a percentage buffer of 0.3 over Essendon, with both sides locked on 40 points, and a spot in the eight.

What do you mean that would never happen? Well, history says it can, and has. That score is identical to Fitzroy’s against Melbourne, a mere 10,990 days ago (come Saturday).

But what about?

All right, in fairness I should also mention that if Carlton wins by 10 goals and the Bulldogs lose by 10 goals, Carlton can pinch 4th spot. But if you don’t mind, I’d prefer not to entertain such thoughts.


Two losses in a row and you’d think I’d be scratching to find a good omen for the Saints. But I’ve got one. (I’m so nice to you Saints fans.) In 1995, Carlton ended the year with a 20-2 record. Their only two losses were in consecutive weeks to sides from outside the eight and they went on the take the flag in style. So there you go, Saints, nothing to worry about. Unless Essendon beat Hawthorn and finish inside the eight. In which case simply modify the above omen to “outside the top seven”.


Actually, while on the topic of dominant seasons, it’s interesting to have a look at the three most dominant ones since 22-round seasons were introduced. As mentioned above, Carlton were 20-2 in the 1995 home-and-away season. They won the flag but have not won one since.

In 2000, Essendon went one better and recorded a 21-1 season. They, too, won the flag that year and they too have not won a flag since.

And last year was Geelong’s turn. Following a flag in 2007, they went 21-1 in 2008 but did not even win the premiership. And they are looking somewhat shaky as the 2009 finals beckon.

So despite a certain logic telling us that an-ultra dominant season foretells an extended period of supremacy, history indicates the reverse is actually true.


North skipped out of the blocks on Sunday with the first five goals of the match against the Saints. Sound familiar? That’s exactly what they did in Round 11 against the same team at the same venue. And although St Kilda fought back to hit the front, just as they did earlier in the year, this time they did not go on with the job.


Meanwhile, back to the numbers, and the fifth 5-point margin in five weeks has catapulted 5 to outright leadership in the Marginal Medal. With a week of home-and-away games remaining, it leads 15 by one, having been recorded seven times for the season. Meanwhile, 14 showed up for the first time this season on Friday night in the Dogs v Cats game. Bizarrely, this leaves 29, 39 and 49 as the only margins under 50 not recorded this year.


No change at the top of the table with 85 on eleven, two ahead of 94. Three scores, Carlton’s 153, Fremantle’s 141 and Hawthorn’s 135 made their first appearances for 2009.


My fellow Stat Cat, Mr Steve Healy, informs us that the Carlton v Melbourne match almost produced a perfect goal sequence in each quarter. Carlton kicked 6, 6, 6, 6 while the Dees kicked 4, 4, 4, 3. Says Steve, “Although I can’t single out a Melbourne behind that should have been a goal, let’s just say that Jamar should have kicked another in the last quarter.”

In other Statistical Steve Healy Highlights:

•    In Collingwood’s last four games at the MCG they have averaged 19.5 behinds, kicking 60.78. To compare it with a better team, in Melbourne’s last four games at the ‘G they have kicked a much more accurate 64.38.
•    Speaking of the Dees, for the second time in six weeks they face a side that have come into the game with their first two losses of the year. Geelong in Round 16, and now St.Kilda next week.
•    Brendan Fevola kicked 7 straight against the Dees for the second time in a row. This means, in his last two encounters agains the Dees he has kicked 14.0 from 17 kicks.
•    Port Adelaide kicked 10.0 in their first quarter against Brisbane on Saturday night. Not only it was the second consecutive year they have lost to Brisbane after being 47 points in front, but it is the second time 10.0 has been scored in a quarter this year, St.Kilda did it in the second quarter of the game against West Coast in Round 3. A score of 10.0 in a quarter has only been done six other times in history: Hawthorn in 1991, Geelong in 1997, Essendon in 2000, Collingwood in 1996, Sydney in 1984 and Hawthorn again in 1999 in their 63-point comeback against St Kilda.

And people say it’s ME with too much time on my hands. Hope you’re getting your homework done, Steve.


Richmond’s 4-quarter goal sequence on Saturday night against Hawthorn was 2525. This seems most appropriate because the hit single “In the Year 2525” by Zager and Evans (released in 1969, a Tiger premiership year) is apparently a song about when the Tigers will win their next flag – or so someone told me.


Well, you know, the Americans do cross-storylines between different shows, so why not cross a postcode with an anagram?

In beating Essendon, Freo scored 4, 5, 6 and 6 goals across the four quarters of the game. 4566 is the postcode of NOOSAVILLE and that is an anagram of LOSE IN OVAL, which is just what Essendon did at Subiaco…


OK, you want a real proper anagram of the week do you? In that case, how good was Drew Petrie in the dying moments of the match against St Kilda? With a huge pack mark, he dragged the Kangaroos across the line. Of course he was helped along by myriad St Kilda errors, which they were left to rue after the final siren. Appropriate then, that DREW PETRIE is an anagram of I ERRED, WEPT…

About Andrew Gigacz

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


  1. Peter Flynn says

    Anagram Man,
    CASTER SEMENYA (800 metres world champion) becomes YES A SECRET MAN.
    Not my work Gigs.

  2. Nice one Peter. I presume Caster is a man who keeps mostly to himself?

    How about you? Are you the sort of person to regret an error and then run away? PETER FLYNN becomes REPENT ‘N’ FLY.

    Or perhaps you’re a passionate indoor plant keeper and your house could be described as a FERN PLENTY?

    Back to Caster, wouldn’t it be good if his surname was Spersions?

  3. Peter Flynn says

    I’ll take the first at the minute.
    The latter was more applicable in the more halcyon days of existence.
    Nice last line. It hasn’t been proven yet what Caster’s gender status is.
    Complex issue.

  4. Gigs – re your first point that if Collingwood kick more than 255 points the Doggies only need to beat them by 20 points, that means that the Dogs would need to kick more than 275 points. So, my question: Is there enough time in a football game (ie 100 minutes of play) for over 530 points to be scored ?

  5. Dips, as you know, the Dogs can score very heavily at times!

    Actually, I remember seeing the Dogs play Brisbane at Telstra Dome on TV a few years back. There was a centre bounce at which the clock was showing 3 seconds remaining to half time. In a classic centre break, the Dogs got a hit-out straight to a runner who ran and bombed it from 50m. His kick left his boot a fraction of a second before the siren sounded so the goal counted. But of course, the siren won’t sound all through the quarter, so more time will normally be lost in such a play. If we allow the Dogs say 10 seconds a goal, that’s 6 goals a minute, 120 goals a quarter, 480 goals for the match. Which gives us 2880 points for the game.

    So yes, I think 530 points is possible. In fact, I’ll be surprised if it doesn’t happen.

  6. Steve Healy says

    Ah, so you got your “Nearly Mr Healy” wish. Great stats about the top eight situations.

  7. I did Steve, all thanks to you. That one was a great pick up. and I like how you added in what SHOULD have happened.

    One thing that should (better) NOT happen this week is a repeat of the final round of 1966 (StK flag year) when Collingwood beat the Dogs 132-28. (Please, no!)

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