GIGSTUFF 50 – The score on the draw

by Andrew Gigacz


The statistical planets are clearly aligned at the moment folks. Another draw last Friday means that, as mentioned in GigStuff 49, we remain on world-record pace for 24 draws during the home and away season, three finals going into extra-time and ANOTHER drawn Grand Final. And the events of Friday night have given us a clue to who will play in that drawn Grand Final and what footballing tragedy may befall them. To find out which team that is, and why pages 924 and 925 of the 2011 AFL Guide are my favourite two in the whole book, read on in our GigStuff Draw Extravaganza Special.





As mentioned above, a draw a week will give us 24 for the Home and away season, way beyond the current record of five draws in a season, set way back in 1921. In that year, Essendon, Melbourne, Fitzroy and Carlton all drew twice each, while St Kilda and South drew once.

However, despite being on world record pace, we are still trailing behind our friendly season from a century ago – 1911. That season saw a draw in the first week and TWO in Round 2. No further draws were recorded after that, though.


Other years in which teams have “drawn” well (sorry) are listed below, with the Grand Final result from that season included in brackets.

1909 – 3 draws (SM 38 d Carl 36)

1911 – 3 draws (Ess 41 d Coll 35)

1914 – 4 draws (Carl 45 d SM 39)

1935 – 4 draws (Coll 78 d SM 58)

1944 – 4 draws (Fitz 66 d Rich 51)

1952 – 3 draws (Geel 86 d Coll 40)

1961 – 3 draws (Haw 94 d Coll 51)

1977 – 4 draws including the Grand Final (NM 151 d Coll 124)

1980 – 3 draws (Rich 159 d Coll 78)

1995 – 3 draws (Carl 141 d Geel 80)

1996 – 3 draws (NM 131 d Syd 88)

2003 – 3 draws (Bris 134 d Coll 84)

2007 – 3 draws (Geel 163 d Port 44)

2010 – 3 draws including the Grand Final (Coll 108 d StK 52)

What does that tell us? Well, if we do end up getting at least one more draw before the season’s out, then Collingwood will only have a 1 in 4 chance of winning the Grand Final if they make it. That’s gotta be a positive. Sydney would also have a 1 in 4 chance but if they win the margin will be narrow – no surprise there! Richmond would be a 50-50 prospect if they made this year’s Grand Final and, yes, that’s one giant “if”. Carlton would have a 66% chance of winning as would Geelong, while Hawthorn, North Melbourne and Brisbane would win the flag if they made it to the big day. Two teams that definitely WON’T win it are Port Adelaide and yes, poor old St Kilda.

But of course, all that is relevant if we get another draw this season. If we don’t, you can defenestrate that entire theory.


The Melbourne v Sydney draw in Round 1 was certainly an interesting introduction to the world of coaching for John Longmire. For the record, Longmire is not the first coach to have his inaugural match end in a tie. Percy Wilson of Melbourne did it in 1921 and Geelong’s Billy Orchard did the same in 1914. But Longmire IS the first no-playing coach to achieve the unusual feat.

I contacted John after the drawn game and he would neither confirm nor the deny the rumour (which may or may not have been started by me) that his pre-match address to the players consisted of the statement, “I don’t care if you don’t win; just don’t lose!”…


A draw in Round 17 last year, another one in the Grand Final and yet another on Friday against Richmond. It must all be getting on Saints’ coach Ross Lyon’s nerves.

Well I’m sorry to say Rossy that history says that things are only going to get worse for you and your boys, from a draw and a premiership perspective.

Firstly, as an aside let me just point out that this is the third time Richmond and St Kilda have drawn, and the other two occasions were also early in the season. In 1978 St Kilda 15.20 (110) drew Richmond 16.14 (110). Two years later, in what was Alex Jesaulenko’s first game as coach of St Kilda, the Saints 19.14 (128) tied Richmond 18.20 (128).

Interesting to note that in both those games one side get a goal less than the other. And the same occurred again last Friday, with St Kilda who scored 13.17 (95) against Richmond’s 14.11 (95) probably ruing some costly misses.

In fact it is that very scoreline that might be a portent of doom for the Saints this year. The last – and only – time a game has ended with that exact scoreline was in Round 5, 1948. Richmond was also a player on that day and their score then was also 14.11 (95). The team they drew was Essendon who scored 13.17 just as St Kilda did last Friday night.

But it’s what happened to the Bombers AFTER that draw that will worry the Saints. Indeed they made it all the way to the Grand Final, but the good news ended there. In that match Essendon kicked a shocking 7.27 (69) to draw against Melbourne 10.9 (69). With 34 scoring shots to 19, there’s no doubt the Dons blew that one. And a week later it was all over by quarter-time as Melbourne blew the Bombers away to win by 39 points.

So there you go, Rosco, you’ve got another Grand Final to look forward to; two in fact. But no flag.

Business as usual really, isn’t it?


Each season I get the feeling that we get more close games in the early rounds and that the margins blow out as the season goes on and some sides drop off the pace. I have no idea if that’s true, but just for fun, I thought it might be interesting to see which round cops the most draws. And the answer lies in the “Draw Ladder” below.

Round 2: 13
Round 1: 11
Round 5: 11
Round 4: 9
Round 12: 9
Round 16: 9
Round 6: 8
Round 7: 8
Round 14: 8
Round 3: 7
Round 8: 6
Round 15: 6
Round 9: 5
Round 10: 5
Round 11: 5
Round 18: 4
Round 20: 4
Round 13: 3
Round 17: 3
Semi Final: 3
Grand Final: 3
Round 19: 2
Round 22: 2
Round 21: 1
Prelim Final: 1
Qual Final: 1

So it seems Round 1 and 2 are a bit more “drawful” than the other rounds. If you’re looking to avoid the draw, Round 21 might be your best bet, or just maybe Rounds 23 and 24.


One of the lower scoring draws in history occurred at a very soggy Western Oval on a wet old afternoon in 1991. After dominating large parts of the match, Footscray conceded the to Sydney late in the match before a last minute behind by Steve “Super” MacPherson tied things up at 35 apiece.

MacPherson had been involved in a dramatic last minute play only a week earlier, when he gave away a free kick to Carlton’s Mark Arceri, who then kicked Carlton’s only goal of the entire match!

And four years prior to that, the ball found its way to Super’s hands as the final siren went with the Dogs six-points behind North at the ‘G. MacPherson calmly slotted the post-siren goal from about 50 and the sides ended the match at 125 apiece.


Last Friday’s draw was the 149th in VFL/AFL history. Perhaps surprisingly, less than half of those games (65) ended up with the two sides kicking an equal number of goals (such as Melbourne and Sydney’s 11.18 (84)). 73 of the drawn games have ended with the sides a goal apart (e.g last Friday’s St Kilda 13.17 to Richmond 14.11 match).

A further nine drawn matches have ended with the teams TWO goals apart, the most recent of which was just last year, when Collingwood 9.22 drew Melbourne 11.10. And finally there have even been two games that were drawn despite the sides having a three goal difference. The above-mentioned 1948 Grand Final was one of those and the other occurred in Round 1935, when Carlton’s 9.25 (79) wasn’t enough to top Footscray’s 12.7 (79)


So that means that the next draw we have will be the 150th in history. Surely the AFL should be making a big thing of this? With so many themed rounds and with their power surely they could set up “150th draw” round? Maybe Round 7 should be the one, specifically concentrating on May 7. After all it was in Round 7 of ’77 that was the last time we had two draws in a week.

The AFL could designate the Bulldogs v Sydney game as the 150th draw, which would be fitting because the Dogs have Ward, which is “draw” backwards and the Swans have “Tie” Kennelly….



And here are even more useless draw facts:

1. Essendon is the drawing-est team in history having been involved in 33. Carlton are one back on 32, followed by Collingwood  and Fitzroy on 26 and then St Kilda on 25.

2. The drawing-est venues are the MCG, which has had 25, Princes Park (16) and the old Brunswick St Oval (13). Entering just its 12th season, Idiot Stadium (Docklands) has done well to already move into equal-fourth place on 9, with the Western (Whitten) Oval and Windy Hill.

3. The Round 1 Sydney-Melbourne draw was the first 84-84 draw in history. The most common draws, in terms of final score, have been 66, 76 and 79.

4. The highest scoring draw in history was in Round 2, 1993 when Carlton 19.18 (132) tied Essendon 20.12 (132). Of course it wouldn’t have been a tie had Stephen Kernahan not registered one of the greatest post-siren shanks in history. (And that was a certain D Fletcher’s very first game.)

5 And the lowest scoring draw was when Carlton 4.4 (28) drew Melbourne 3.10 (28) at Princes park in 1898.


He probably didn’t realise it, but the Melbourne players paid a tribute to new Sydney coach John Longmire in their drawn Round 1 match. The Demons’ 18 behinds were spread over the four quarters in the sequence 2,6,4,6. And 2646 just happens to be the postcode of Balldale, the town in which Longmire grew up.


Even after Shane Edwards kicked a late second-quarter goal to put Richmond eight points ahead of St Kilda last Friday, there were many watching that match who thought at the time, “I reckon St Kilda might kick another 6.8 in this match, and the Tigers another 5.6”. And of course, they were right. So maybe we shouldn’t be surprised to learn that SHANE EDWARDS is an anagram of “AH. SENSED DRAW”.


About Andrew Gigacz

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


  1. You purport that this season there is a likely hood of draws being up, Gigs.

    I would like to note that the off season was highlighted with draws down.

    Saints bonding, remember.

    Saints feature consistently.

  2. John Butler says

    This is a good point you make Phantom.

    Let us hope Fev was not paying attention.

  3. Ian Syson says

    Err Carlton and Geelong drew 1 apiece in 1896 (see other thread).

    How many draws were there in top flight footy before behinds were counted? I guess those stats would be soccer-like.

  4. haiku bob says


    check ’61 again.
    the pies didn’t even make the finals that year.
    but i know who did.


  5. Right you are, HB. Must’ve been a Freudian slip!

    For the record, 1961 Haw 94 Foots 51.

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