Round 14: Gigs’ Stats

by Andrew Gigacz


In arguably the most anticipated moment in sport since Steve Harmison bowled the first ball of the 2006/07 Ashes series to Andrew Flintoff at second slip, the Saints and Cats made a slightly better fist of it than Steve. A game of relentless pressure produced highlights galore, culminating in Michael Gardiner’s pack-busting mark with a minute left on the clock. It was billed as a match unique in 113 seasons of VFL/AFL footy. And the stats back that claim up. The attendance figure of 54,444 has never before been recorded at a game of footy.


It was also the first game of this season to produce an attendance figure in which the last three digits are identical. The last occurrence of that was on Anzac Day last year when 88,999 fans saw Collingwood thrash the Bombers, which they coincidentally did this week.


But it wasn’t just the last three digits of the attendance that were the same; it was the last four. That has not happened since round 9, 2006 when 29,999 spectators witnessed Brisbane tear apart the Dockers at the Gabba.


Almost a year earlier the Kangaroos defeated Richmond at the Docklands in front of a crowd of 40,444, the last time we had an attendance figure ending in 444. To find the last game where the attendance figure ended in four 4s, we have to go way back to Round 3, 1988 when 34,444 saw Richmond get murdered by Collingwood at some place called Waverley.




Saturday night saw the players of Essendon’s ’84 and ’85 premiership teams gather at Crown Palladium for reunion. No doubt as the beer flowed there would have been some debate about which of those two sides was greater. It seems that Richmond, North Melbourne and Geelong all weighed in with their opinions with each of the three sides scoring 13.7(85) in round 14. The last time we had three sides end up on the same final score in one round was in round nine last year when Carlton, West Coast and Hawthorn all scored 14.13(97). All three of those sides won, whereas this week’s triplets all lost.




Being scored thrice on the one weekend (see above) certainly helps in this comp. 85 has exploded away to a lead of three. It’s been scored 9 times this season, 3 ahead of the next most frequent final scores, 111, 104, 90, 86, 67 and 100, which registered twice in this round.




Hawthorn’s goal-less first half against the Doggies was the latest in a spate of games where sides have not scored a goal in consecutive quarters. It was the 7th time this season this has occurred. Melbourne failed to score a goal in their first half against Adelaide and in their second half against St Kilda. Adelaide also managed to keep Carlton goal-less in their first half in round 9, while Sydney, Richmond and Melbourne (again) have had games without scoring a goal in the second and third quarters. In 2008 we did not have one occurrence of a team failing to get a goal in two consecutive corners in the same match. The last time it occurred before this season was in round 12, 2007 when Brisbane had a goal-less first half against Geelong down at Kardinia Park. The last season we had as many as seven such occurrences will be the subject of Gig-Dig No.7.


1 vs 100


And so we have now had 14 rounds without a margin of 1 point or 100 points or greater. As mentioned in last weeks Stat Dec, 2003 was the last year we went as late as round 13 without such margins. Geelong broke that sequence in round 14 with a 1 point win over Port. The last time we went beyond round 14 without a 1-point or a 100+ point margin was in 1975. The sequence was broken that year by a 107 point win over South Melbourne by the Tigers.




Last week North helped “22” into the lead by losing by that margin to the Dogs. This week they lost by 15 to the Swans and 15 has now joined 22 in the lead. Both margins have been registered five times this year, with 17 and 19 coming up four times. Missing margins this year include 1, 10, 14, 25 and 29. We are also still waiting for a draw.





St Kilda’s quarter by quarter goal tally was 5,3,2,4 and the point tally was 3,1,1,2. Neither 5324 nor 3112 is a registered Australian postcode, entirely appropriate because, with fourteen wins from fourteen games, the Saints are in uncharted territory.




As good as Sunday’s blockbuster was, it might have been even better if Geelong had played Richmond instead. That’s a concept hard to believe, but this is how the game would’ve panned out with Richmond’s Saturday night quarter by quarter score lined up next to the one from Sunday by Geelong:


¼ Time:            RICH     2.1(13)              GEEL   2.2(14)

Half Time:          RICH     5.3(33)              GEEL   5.5(35)

¾ Time:            RICH     8.5(53)              GEEL   8.7(55)

Full Time           RICH     13.7(85)            GEEL   13.7(85)




After Geelong and Hawthorn, St Kilda, the Western Bulldogs and Collingwood were the popular picks after last season ended to make up this year’s top four. And yet, in its wisdom, the AFL has scheduled all three of those teams to play on the Sunday in Round 22 this year. With St Kilda most likely to finish on top it means that the Western Bulldogs or Collingwood might better be served finishing fourth than third so that they get an identical break to St Kilda before playing them. In this scenario, the team finishing third will play Geelong and have a day’s less break. It is quite possible that the Sunday twilight round 22 clash between the Dogs and Pies could in fact decide 3rd and 4th positions on the ladder, leading to the ridiculous proposition of a side having more to gain by losing that match. All eight games round 22 on the Saturday would solve this issue, but with the AFL’s bean-counters unlikely to ever embrace that idea, the least the AFL could have done would have been to schedule the bottom four sides from 2008 to play the two games on the Sunday in round 22. Nice one AFL.




St Kilda’s success this year could arguably be linked to a reduction in soft tissue injuries. When Sam Fisher became the sixth Saint to do a hammy in a month in 2007, Ross Lyon, in his first season as coach said “we’re missing some meat and potatoes in our program”. Since recovering from that 2007 hamstring tear, Sam Fisher has not missed a game. Nobody really knows what Rossy was talking about that night but the potatoes must have been a key because Sam Fisher is an anagram of “FRIES, MASH”…

About Andrew Gigacz

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

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