How low can you go? Goals washed away in the rain

Andrew Gigacz’s Round 5 Stat. Declaration

It’s only Round 5 but are we already seeing the men separated from the boys? Has the wheat already been sorted from the chaff? Has the cream already risen to the top? Can I use any more metaphors to say the same thing again?

What I’m trying to get across is that after only five rounds, the undefeated sides, St Kilda and Geelong, have stolen a two-game break on the rest of the field. It’s the first time that’s happened so early in a season since 1979. And as uneven as that potentially makes the competition, it’s been balanced by the fact that we have no winless teams; it’s the first time in three seasons that all teams have won so early.

After another statistically spectacular round, 2009 is making a bid to be International Year of the Low Final Score. After Freo’s flimsy 4.4 (28) last week against the Saints, this week saw Port Adelaide, Brisbane and Melbourne all fail to get out of the thirties. It’s four seasons since we’ve had more than three final scores under forty in an entire season, so to get three in one round is remarkable.

On Friday night, the suffocating Saints took their already-above-200 percentage even higher, thumping Port by 66 (always a nice number for Saints fans) points. It is the first time in 106 years that a team with a Round-4 percentage of more than 200 has actually managed to increase that percentage in round 5.

Interestingly, St Kilda achieved their big victory despite the fact that they scored progressively fewer goals in each quarter (6, 4, 3, 2 – and before anybody asks, 6432 is the postcode of Victory Heights, so yes, it is appropriate for the Saints). How long it’s been since that happened is the subject of an investigative footy-data-mining exercise – henceforth known as a Gig Dig. What I can tell you is that it hasn’t happened this season or last. Stay tuned.

Saturday saw Collingwood and Essendon commemorate ANZAC Day, with Collingwood also marking the fact that it was only eight months to Christmas Day by gifting the Bombers the match.

Along with the Magpies, West Coast remains in contention for the 2009 Yo-Yo award (for the longest loss-win-loss-win sequence). In losing to the Hawks, they extended their sequence to five. Not to be outdone, Sydney followed suit by going down to the Dockers. While all this was going on, the charges of Dean Laidley were laid low by the Tigers, who broke their 2009 (Paul Daffey) duck.

On Sunday, the Crows also kept their Yo-Yo award hopes alive with a win over the Demons at the MCG. With only eight months to the start of the Boxing Day Test match at that same ground, the Crows celebrated by posting a winning score of 51, to mirror Mark Waugh’s matching-winning second innings knock of 51 not out against India in the Boxing Day Test of 1999.

In the battle of the predominantly blues, Team Wiggins (Simon, 18 disposals, 11 marks) defeated Team Higgins (Shaun, 27 disposals, one goal) by 43 points. There’s an argument to suggest that the Blues were effectively a 144-point better side this week than last. They beat the Dogs by 43 points, who beat the Dockers by 63 (round 1), who beat the Swans by 21 (this week), who beat Carlton by 17 (last week). But that argument may well be circular.

And down at Kardinia Park the Lions, despite having Rich (Daniel), were very poor against Geelong, as the Cats creamed them to the tune of 93 points, a margin not seen since 27 July 2007, when those same Lions defeated Collingwood at the MCG.


As intimated in last week’s declaration, 100 has stamped itself as the glamour score of 2009, having now been registered in four consecutive weeks. It is now in equal first place, alongside 67 and 90. Last year’s winner, 94, clocked up its second appearance for the season.


Adelaide’s 51-34 win against the Demons gave 17 the lead in the 2009 Marginal Medal. A logjam of six other margins comprises second place, each having been registered twice. The “margin under four points” drought continued into Round 5. The 1988 season was the last one in which no games had a margin of three points or less in the first five rounds.


This week’s bad omen is for Collingwood and all teams outside the top eight other than Hawthorn. The top eight at this time last year turned out to be the top eight at season’s end, with one exception. Collingwood, ninth after Round 5, replaced Richmond, eighth after Round 5. This year it’s Hawthorn who are ninth and the Magpies eighth.


Last week I pointed out that, despite the storm clouds gathering on Terry Wallace’s horizon, Richmond actually rose from the bottom of the ladder. During the week (in a snippet published in Thursday’s Age) I took the point one step further by suggesting that a simple extrapolation of that improvement pointed to Richmond rising to the top of the ladder by Round 18. Well folks, the plan is rolling along nicely for the Tiges, as this week they moved up another notch, to fourteenth.


And on the subject of the Tigers, their victory on Saturday night was due in no small part to Jack Riewoldt, who led the way with three goals. At Footy Park, cousin Nick Riewoldt continued his good form with a four-goal haul. Their teams might be poles apart on the ladder but the Riewoldts share a few traits. While they have both struggled with their kicking for goal at times, their work ethic is unquestioned. Both run hard and present time after time for their teammates upfield. How ironic, then, that “Riewoldts” is an anagram of TWO IDLERS.

About Andrew Gigacz

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

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