The Best Against the Best

I got a bit tired of listening to my Collingwood supporting friends talking about how amazing they were.  Had a quick look at how they go against top sides and (spoiler alert) it is pretty average.  I decided to have a look through results and put together a ladder that includes only matches against top 10 sides – due to the different number of games played it is ranked by winning percentage.


I drew the line there under North Melbourne, as it is unlikely Essendon will make the finals, but North and the Cats are still very much a chance.


A friendly draw really can help… feel free to use this to taunt Melbourne supporters as well as Collingwood fans.


Ladder Pl W L Pts Win %
West Coast 10 7 3 28 70%
Richmond 12 8 4 32 67%
Sydney 12 7 5 28 58%
Geelong 13 7 6 28 54%
Essendon 12 6 6 24 50%
Port Adelaide 8 4 4 16 50%
Hawthorn 9 4 5 16 44%
Greater Western Sydney 9 4 5 16 44%
Adelaide 12 5 7 20 42%
North Melbourne 10 4 6 16 40%
Collingwood 9 2 7 8 22%
Brisbane Lions 12 2 10 8 17%
Melbourne 7 1 6 4 14%
Fremantle 11 1 10 4 9%
Gold Coast 11 1 10 4 9%
St Kilda 13 1 12 4 8%
Western Bulldogs 12 1 11 4 8%
Carlton 11 0 11 0 0%


About Glenn Cummings

Part time sports expert, all varieties of course but mainly Australian Football, baseball, basketball and cricket. Occassional writer, but prepared to offer up opinions on all things sport, community and politics related more regularly to anyone within earshot. Full time worker, which unfortunately limits my time to research other more interesting subjects.


  1. Glen, I think you have shown what most people understand, that the draw for any club can have a significant impact on their chances of making the top 8 in any year. This year is certainly the ‘easiest’ draw Collingwood has had in many years (due mainly to finishing well down the ladder in the past several years); and there have been many seasons where they have played a much tougher draw because tv and the AFL wanted blockbuster games to maximize ratings and revenue (bums on seats). The AFL draw is certainly not fair for all and there are ways to even it up but the AFL and tv have a different agenda. Another influence on success is fitness of the team. Is it possible to pick, say, the top 10 players in each team and determine the number of games they played (or missed) in the season, rank the clubs and compare to actual ladder position?

  2. glennontour says

    Hi BOD, I agree completely that the draw is a bit of swings and roundabouts, but I am yet to hear a fan of a team near the top concede that they have an easy draw and realistically are a mid-table team who got a bit lucky this year.

    I like the idea for an injury analysis. Will get on to that one.!


  3. Well Glenn, I am a Pies supporter admitting we have had an easier draw than usual. It is not necessarily an easy draw but if there is only a game or 2 or percentage determining top 8 or bottom 8 or 5th v 2nd and a double chance, those extra games against bottom 8 teams could make a difference. Many have been excited by Melbourne this year but your analysis tells an interesting tale.

  4. glennontour says

    BOD, I think I am just a slightly bitter Essendon fan. The flip side of this analysis is don’t drop games that you should win. Collingwood and Melbourne have been very good at beating teams that they should. What the Bombers would give to have back the Carlton and Bulldogs games from early in the year . Likewise the Swans dropping to Gold Coast a couple of weeks back and the Cats losing to the Dogs. Win those and it is a different ladder.

    I guess I am a fan of a 17 round season – home one year, away the next. About the only way to avoid the anomalies noted by the ladder above.

  5. Jack Reagan says

    Interesting choice to use the top 10 as a cut off, given the clear dividing line (3 wins) this year is between 12th and 13th.

    Collingwood is 3 and 0 against Adelaide and Essendon.

  6. glennontour says

    Hi Jack, I wanted to draw the line at top 8, but particularly Geelong have been in and out. Took a pragmatic approach and said the top 10 are the only ones who can make the finals. Taking it to top 12 makes it a bit pointless really – if you are hoping to play finals footy you should be beating the 11th and 12th placed teams. I don’t think anyone has really given Adelaide or Essendon a chance at finals for a while now. As I saiid to BOD above, Collingwood and Melbourne have been good at not dropping matches that they should win, including Essendon and Adelaide. But both have been poor against sides they will need to beat to do anything in September, I will redo the analysis after round 23 with only matches against top 8 sides counting and see what it throws up.


Leave a Comment