The Almanac Oracle Challenge, 2019 – An Update

At the beginning of the season, a number of intrepid Almanackers put forward their claim to be the Almanac Oracle by answering 15 this-or-that questions designed to separate the true footy prognosticators from the pretenders.


Of the 15 questions, there are definitive answers to 9 of them so far – 8 of them, really, but we’re counting 9 – so it’s time to perch on the edge of the seat, revisit the questions from season’s start, and find out who the 6 contestants are who are actually still in contention for the title of Almanac Oracle.


The Answered Questions

1) Will Gold Coast have a percentage above 53?

Not many were fooled by the opening question… The Suns have cruised to a higher percentage than 53 and (almost all of) the contestants successfully predicted this one.


2) Who finishes higher, Melbourne or Adelaide?

Just over 50% of contestants incorrectly tipped the Dees, a statistic that beautifully reflects just how surprising Melbourne’s horrid season has been.


3) Will the highest home-and-away crowd be at a game involving Richmond?

ANZAC Day would take the title this season, although it should be noted that the Tigers played in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th most attended games. 60% of contestants correctly predicted this one.


4) Will the number of marks this season be higher or lower than it was last season?

The league is cruising to a lower total of marks. After 37,288 last season at a rate of 188.32 per game, this year’s average is currently at 183.46 – we’re looking at about 1,000 fewer marks this year than last. The contestants were split almost perfectly evenly on this one, with some already finding themselves out of the contest within the first 4 questions.


5) Will Taylor Walker break the record this year for career goals by a player wearing #13?

Tex is your man – he needed 38 to break the record, and kicked his 38th last week. Again, the contestants were evenly split.


6) Will any of Jake Kolodjashnij, Joel Hamling or Oscar McDonald kick their first AFL goal this season?

OSCAAAARRRR!!! Surprisingly, two-thirds of competitors predicted this eventuality – with the third who weren’t being almost uniformly at the bottom of the Oracle ladder. Who knew this question was such a good predictor of whether or not you were a good predictor?


7) Will the Roos or Hawks perform better in Tassie this season?

The Hawks came good on their Tassie experience, as predicted by just over 50% of contestants… Though our leader, who we’ll learn more about below, was tripped up for the first time by this question.


8) Which will be higher – the combined wins of the Saints and Blues or the number of games Jack Watts would play?

Ol’ Jack has let down the almost two-thirds of contestants who thought he’d take this one out… But if you predicted the Saints and Blues would be on top, you’re likely doing well in the Oracle Challenge.


9) Will Jaeger O’Meara have the most disposals for Hawthorn this season?

Technically, the fight for this one still isn’t over – O’Meara sits in third, 7 disposals behind Henderson and 40 behind Worpel. If Worpel is injured in training this week, then O’Meara is still in with a shot, but for the moment at least, we’re calling it. Early. Antony Green-style.


The Unanswered Questions

1) Will Jeremy Cameron play at least 20 games this season?

He’s up to 19 and looking to play this weekend…


2) Will Ben Brown or Tom Hawkins kick more goals per game played this season?

At the moment, the two men are tied on 52 goals from 20 games each…


3) Will Sam Walsh win the Rising Star?

He’s the favourite, but Rozee and others are a big shot. This question split the contestants right down the middle – what an influential award it might be for this competition…


4) Will anyone have more debutants than Port Adelaide this season?

At the moment, the answer is no – Port have had 6 debutants, which equals the Demons and Tigers as the most in the league. If the Dees blood another in their last few games, though…


5) Will Zach Merrett or Max Gawn have the highest Brownlow Votes Per Game for their career at year’s end?

They’re practically tied at the moment – Gawn at 0.4343 and Merrett at 0.4369. Just over half the contestants have gone for Gawn…


6) Will Essendon play a final in 2019?

The Bombers are in the eight, with no guarantee of staying there after last week’s performance. 40% of contestants said they’d reach September, but it’s anyone’s guess with two rounds to go…


The Contenders

Incredibly, with so many competitors answering less than 50% of the questions correctly so far, there are only 6 contestants still in contention to win the Oracle Challenge. And so, here are the last contestants standing – noting that not quite all potential permutations are listed below…


Dave Brown (8)

Mr Brown finds himself ahead of the pack, as the only contestant with 8 out of a possible 9 questions correct – only the Hawks having a better record in Tassie than the Roos has tripped him up so far.

Of the remaining 6 questions, Mr Brown has predicted the following:

* Jeremy Cameron to play 1 more game and reach 20 for the season

* Port Adelaide to have the most or equal most debutants

* Essendon to make the top 8

* Ben Brown to kick more goals than Tom Hawkins

* Max Gawn to have more Career Brownlow Votes Per Game than Zach Merrett at the end of the 2019 Count

* Sam Walsh NOT to win the Rising Star


Raymond Knight (7)

Mr Knight finds himself agreeing with Mr Brown on 4 of the remaining 6 questions, however he can take the lead over Mr Brown if:

* Tom Hawkins kicks more goals than Ben Brown


* Sam Walsh wins the Rising Star


Ian Hauser (7) and Mick Jeffrey (7)

Assuming Jeremy Cameron plays as expected this weekend, Mr Hauser and Mr Jeffrey will find themselves 2 behind Mr Brown and 1 behind Mr Knight as a 10th question is closed off – neither of them had faith in Cameron’s ability to stay injury and suspension free this season. However, one of these two men can still win the competition outright if three things happen:

* Merrett ends up ahead of Gawn on Career Brownlow Votes Per Game

* A team finishes the season with more debutants than Port

* Essendon miss the finals.

If these three things happen, then Mr Hauser and Mr Jeffrey will find themselves 1 ahead of Mr Brown, and also ahead of Mr Knight.

Then, it will be down to the Rising Star result to split these two contestants, as Mr Jeffrey predicted a Walsh win, while Mr Hauser predicted that Walsh wouldn’t win.


John Harms (6)

If the three things above happen as Mr Hauser and Mr Jeffrey hope, there is still a possibility of a bolter coming through and taking the title this season. If all three of those things happen and Sam Walsh doesn’t win the rising star, and Tom Hawkins scores more goals than Ben Brown, Mr Harms will be tied with Mr Hauser at the top of the Challenge. There are a couple of other permutations that can see Mr Harms reach the top, but he needs almost everything to go his way from here to the finish line.


Joe De Petro (6)

An honourable mention to Mr De Petro, who is mathematically capable of winning the Oracle Challenge…right up until Jeremy Cameron runs through the banner this weekend, at which time Mr De Petro will be out of contention.


It’s been fun, folks – best of luck to you all as the last few questions are answered…



Our writers are independent contributors. The opinions expressed in their articles are their own. They are not the views, nor do they reflect the views, of Malarkey Publications.


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About Edward P. Olsen

EPO is equally passionate about sport and sports writing. While others toil away at the local indoor sports centre re-living their futile childhood dreams of being one of the best of all time, he types away at home re-living his futile childhood dream of being one of the world’s great columnists.

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