Gigs’ Stats: Wins is a four-letter word

Andrew Gigacz’s Finals Week 2 Stat. Declaration


No sooner than last week’s Stat Dec had hit the presses, the emails and phone calls started rolling in. The Almanac switchboard went into  meltdown as people queued up to point out that the attendance figure from the St Kilda v Collingwood game of 84,213 is NOT a prime number. At this juncture I would just like to point out that the OFFICIAL crowd was 84,213 – BUT I did see 10 people sneak in without paying, taking the true total to 84,223. And as we all know, 84,223 IS A PRIME NUMBER.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it …


If there’s one thing the coaches love, it’s their key indicators. After last Friday night’s game Rodney Eade was keen to point out the Dogs were way ahead in their indicators all through the match. Gee, if only he’d let me know that at half-time last Friday night, I could have stopped worrying about the fact that I’d just witnessed the crappiest half of footy I’d seen all year.

Now I’m not one to speak ill of key performance indicators – or KPIs as they’re known in the world of corporate claptrap. On the contrary, I wholeheartedly embrace them. In fact, I unearthed a whole bunch this week that gave us clear explanation of the why the Dogs and the Pies won their semis.


Good coaches know that winning a semi-final is made much easier by having a greater number of players whose surnames are exactly four letters long. This was clearly borne out over the weekend when the Dogs out-four-lettered the Lions by 4 to 1. Old stager Mick Malthouse is also well aware of this vital weapon and the Magpies smashed Adelaide 4-0 in this area.


It might be a popular letter with pirates (say it out loud in a gruff voice) but when it comes to winning a semi, R is for wRong. Neither Footscray nor Collingwood had any players with surnames beginning with R, while losing sides Brisbane and Adelaide had 3 and 2 respectively. A tough lesson for Vossy and Neil Craig to take into next year’s finals.


13 has always been a number that’s engendered fear but when you’re playing a semi-final on a weekend that includes the 13th of September the key is to embrace the number, not shy away from it. Once again, the experienced Eade and Malthouse knew this fact and played Giansiracusa and Thomas, while for the Lions and the Crows, Kieran King and Taylor Walker were left on the sidelines when they could perhaps have helped their teams over the line.


What do we look for in the form lines of teams? The letter W, of course. And with the Dogs and Pies outnumbering their opposition sides 2-0 in the W-surname department, wins for them were never really in doubt.


GOOD – For Saints fans the final score in the Dogs-Lions game should warm their cockles. In winning 16.11 (107) to 8.8 (56), the Bulldogs replicated the exact score recorded when St Kilda beat Sydney in the corresponding game in 2004. The Saints went on to lose a heartbreaking Preliminary Final to Port Adelaide, who of course went on to win the flag. The Dogs are now the Saints of 2004 and St Kilda takes on Port’s premiership role.

BAD – The last team prior to Collingwood to record a win with a score of 83 was Geelong last year. While they went on to play in the big one, we all know that they didn’t win it.

GOOD – On the other hand, the Magpies held the Crows to 78 on Saturday night. The last team to do that in a final was North Melbourne in 1999. And they DID win the big one.


People all over Australia have been asking, when was the last time Collingwood and the Western Bulldogs won in the same week of the finals? (Or at least they should have been asking that.) Well the answer is NEVER. (To any pedants out there, yes they both won semis in 1946 and ’51 but those were not played on the same weekend.)

And the other question that’s been overheard on trains and buses in Adelaide and Brisbane is: when did the Crows and the Lions both lose a final on the same weekend? To which the answer is also – NEVER.


It’s an almost unassailable lead for the margin 5, after Collingwood’s 83-78 win on Saturday night. That makes it 9 times for the year for 5, two ahead of 15.


For Collingwood their quarter by quarter goal sequence of 1, 2, 6, 3 proved to be a nice reflection of the circumstances. For it was in the year 1263 that Battle of Largs took place. King Haakin IV of Scotland attempted to invade Scotland with his armada but was defeated by the astute King Alexander III of Scotland. An important home turf victory in both cases.


The clues to who might win the flag may have been hidden in the quarter by quarter behind sequences of each team at the weekend.

For Collingwood, it was 4124, the postcode of Lyons. Does this mean it will be the Saints’ and Ross Lyon’s year?

Adelaide, meanwhile, served up 3423, which is the postcode of Jeparit, from where Collingwood’s Erroll Hutchesson hailed. Hutchesson began his career in 1958 – the last year the Magpies won on the last day in September.

The Dogs gave us 2423, the postcode of the beautiful NSW town of Topi Topi. Maybe, just maybe, this is a sign that this year it will be Doggy Doggy finishing on Toppy Toppy.

And Brisbane? Well, their behind sequence gave us 6101, which is postcode of East Victoria Park. Not sure if that means the premiership cup will make it all the way to Collingwood or that they will go close but not quite get there. Perhaps it’s an indicator of a repeat of the 1966 result and margin.


So the Pies and Dogs move on to face the Cats and the Saints. For Brisbane it’s all over until next year, while for Adelaide, after the SEMI FINALS, their season IS IN FLAMES…

About Andrew Gigacz

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


  1. Played Gigs,
    An omen for you.
    Skipper Sutton wore 6 in 1954.
    Captain Johnson wears 6 in 2009.

  2. Gigs,

    Robert Menzies also came from Jeparit.

    He used to drive a big car into the footy.

  3. Was Ming’s car a Bentley?
    Not named after Perc Bentley but a nice coincidence.

  4. Thanks Peter. Like that omen.

    Daff, I was aware of Ming’s humble beginnings in Japarit (son of a shopkeeper, I believe). Can we glean any sort of omen from the fact that he had an elevated parking spot for his big car at Princes Park?

    In his early days Bob served as Minister for Industry under Joe Lyons and that takes us back to postcode 4124 above. Looks like another Saints indicator.

  5. Spot on Peter. It was a 1963 S3 which is now in the possesion of the National Museum of Australia in Canberra.

    Maybe Harmsy can borrow it to drive down to this year’s Grand Final…

  6. Nice work Gigs.

    I’ve got a few stats:

    There was only one player to get the same amount of possessions as his number this week: Scott Stevens with 27 for Adelaide. Kurt Tippett (No.4) had 4 kicks, 4 handballs and 4 goals. It would’ve made sense if Adelaide won.

    Bad omen for Collingwood:

    Although Jack Anthony won the match for the Pies, his kick, handball, marks and hitouts in order were 4,0,1,0. 4010 is the postcode for Albion in Queensland, which has a population of 1,941. 1941 was a year Collingwood missed out on the finals, and it was a Melbourne premiership year.

  7. ..omg
    are you serious!
    now that my friend is a talent!

  8. Thanks Danielle, anyone could have worked that out if they’re clever enough.

  9. lol steve, you and Gigs should team up for the next Australias got talent thingo and say all that stuff on tv!

    wore my jersey to school today, two words:

  10. Ah, just like when I wore my scarf to school. You’ve gotta stick up for your club Danielle, most important lesson in life.

  11. lol dont worry i did!
    to most i just said:
    “Hey its not my fault i look great in this gersey and that your jealous!’

    but it gets annoying when a teacher wacked me with the newspaper saying:
    “Why would you wear that!!!?”
    lol he got over it and when he asked why i didnt have a number on the back i said:
    “cos i love them all too much and i cant choose!”
    lol hes a Bulldogs man who laughs at my obessesion with Shuan Higgins.

  12. The only two numbers i’ve ever had on my back are 5(David Schwarz) and 9 (David Neitz). I don’t have one either at the moment.

    Everyone in my class always talks to me about the Dees. Once I missed a Monday (because I was sick) and then the next monday (because I just came home from Canberra) and a rumor spread around that when Melbourne lose I don’t show up for school. My homeroom teacher is actually a Melbourne supporter- but she doesn’t know a thing about footy.

  13. im seriously thinking to get Superman on the back..SERIOUSLY

  14. That’s good, you should get a one digit number cos it’s cheaper

  15. LOL steve!
    price isnt an issue!
    mmm i wonder if it will look good on my back.
    i dont know why but i have a BAD feeling about nathan Brown.
    if mick keeps barring him, hell end up more than happy to leave to a club who will be smart enough to play him.
    im soo scared!!

  16. Ahh come on any number looks good on any back!

    So you’re rich eh?

    I reckon Brown might go to Hawthorn. They need that sort of key defender. Nathan Brown is a good player, he needs to play somewhere else if he’s not needed at Collingwood. I reckon he’ll be number 20 at Hawthorn. (replacing Tim Boyle).

  17. …..cryyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy
    lol no im not rich! but its not that hard to save up money! Nah number one and numer 11 look bodgey!
    as for Nathan i really think Mick is not giving him the oppertunity he deserves.
    im really REALLY upset about that.
    i mean Presti cant have to long to go, so you would think they would want nathan to play alongside him and learn.
    if i were coach, it would be so different AND we would have won a flag already!!!

  18. Just layed the table then.

    I think Presti still has a couple of years left in him in his current form. I think Medhurst needs to lift. In the last 8 games he has only kicked 4 goals. And he’s kicked less than half he did last season (50 last year and 22 this year)

  19. yeah i know!
    poor Medders! he was on red hot form until the injury! :(
    he hasnt been the same since :(
    i know its not girl promblems cos he and Hayley (Moxon or sumfin like dat, shes been around though, i think shes been with like 2 other footy players) look VERY happy, so i have no idea what the problem is. :(
    Wellingham has been so bloody impressive!
    its almost like Pendals was there himself! :)
    IM so PROUD!

  20. Funny you should make that Albion comment, Steve. I played cricket for Albion for 20 years. That’s the Melbourne suburb though.

  21. Looks like Medders got the wake up call he needed, dropped from the team!

  22. ..omg :(
    wow, that felt like a slap across the face.

  23. Pendlebury’s back in though, which is a better replacement. Interesting to see that Beams and Fraser are emergencies and not in the team.

  24. poor medders will be SPEWING!
    i mean you would think he wants a premiership since hes like 29 or sumfin.

  25. I think he’s still 27. Yeah It’s always sad being dropped at the end of the year (even though he missed some time with injury)

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