The F Word – The race to the top 8

As if losing footy games wasn’t sad enough, last week a 1 point loss against Bonbeach meant any finals aspirations I had were now done and dusted. Now the best we can finish is 6th – just outside the final 5. Fortunately, much of my end of season hopes lie outside my hands in our senior team. And to be honest, I couldn’t be happier with the Swans’ chances at another premiership.

But my playing days of 2013 have taken a massive hit. What is left to play for now? Certainly not draft picks. Pride is the only motivator during these final rounds. But not all of the AFL teams share my gloomy outlook.




A bit of research told me it was still mathematically possible for even 14th placed Gold Coast to make the finals (albeit requiring some huge margin wins and a drawn game).

Although Gold Coast fans shouldn’t be holding their breath, finals football is a real possibility for North, West Coast, Adelaide and even Brisbane.

Where some teams will be relying on the other results, I thought I’d take a look at the final 5 weeks of football, and some of the challengers heading towards September.

Scroll below to see Cobba’s Round 18 Footy Graph…


In other news...

The top of the table match saw Essendon come up against ‘line in the sand’ rivals, Hawthorn under Friday night lights.

The Hawks outplayed Essendon in comprehensive fashion, walking away from a 56 point margin at full time.

The game between 1st and 2nd on the ladder was the 240th match to have done so. Rogers Results shows that first has now won 122 times to second’s 115 wins (3 drawn.) Hawthorn have played in 28 of these matches for a match/win % of 64.29, where Essendon have played in 62 for 56.45%.

Brown and gold star, Lance Franklin, enjoyed the closed roof conditions, kicking powerful goals, his biggest haul since his unforgettable 13 in round 10 last year, and the 2nd biggest overall in 2013 (Tom Lynch with 10.2 R7)

Their other power forward Jarryd Roughead added another 4 goals to his season tally of 54, now equal 1st with Josh Kennedy for the 2013 Coleman Medal.

Hawthorn were dominant over the Dons, winning every quarter, the 3rd time they have done so this year (6 in 2012).

Essendon are now 0-3 against the current top 4 this season.

1 win and 5.6% in front of 2nd placed Geelong, Hawthorn are now likely to be the eventual winners of the minor premiership with 5 rounds remaining. The Bombers’ loss now puts them in 4th position, still half a win in front of Fremantle.


It seems most weeks either Melbourne or North Melbourne feature in my weekly stats round-up and this week, and in round 18 they faced each other at Docklands.

Another sad chapter in Melbourne’s history was written when the Kangaroos demolished the side by 122 points at Etihad Stadium Saturday afternoon.

The club has suffered under North Melbourne in recent times, losing the past 11 games with an average margin of 45 points.

Although it was a smashing victory for the Roos, it was only the 3rd highest margin they have defeated Melbourne by. (129 in R10, 1981)

North Melbourne, who started off comparatively slowly, booted 16.9-105 to 1.2-8 in the 2nd half, the 2nd highest score conceded by the Demons ever. (Highest: 109 v Fitzroy, R17, 1979)

Melbourne took only 2 marks inside 50 for the game, 19 down from the Kangas, and from North Melbourne’s 122 marks, only 9 were contested.

With only 4.4 on the board at full time, it was the least amount of scoring shots for the Dees since 3.5-23 v Coll in R3, 1920.

Equal with the Bulldogs in round 4, they share the lowest scores honours for 2013.

Melbourne was at the end of another whopping margin, the 4th biggest this year. In fact Melbourne holds 5 of the top 10 spots in the biggest losing margin this year – GWS is next with 4.

The Demon’s finals hopes were lost a long time ago, but North still remain in the hunt. With a handy percentage of 122.8% (a 8.0% increase since last week) and 3 wins out of the top 8, anything can still happen.


At Football Park, Port Adelaide met with Brisbane on the Sunday afternoon, a must win game for the Power if they wish to make a finals appearance.

Under breezy conditions, Port Adelaide dominated much of the play, but were unable to translate that action to the scoreboard. As a result, they scrapped home by 9 points, leaving the Lions goalless in the final term.

Port’s 9.17-71 was their lowest victory ever against a Brisbane team (Previous: 10.13-71 in R5, 1997)

The close margin wasn’t so much of a surprise to statistical observers, it was the 3rd consecutive margin decided by under 2 goals (11,11,9).

Port Adelaide’s improvement this season probably hasn’t been as well documented as it should have been. In 2012 they averaged 75.4 points per game, this year, they are cruising at 91.7. The 2nd highest increase in the league behind Gold Coast (17.3 increase)

The Power have won 10 out of the past 20 games (50%) and a total of 16 of their past 50 (32%).

Port hold on to their 8th position on the ladder, and Brisbane are left a huge challenge ahead of them in 13th place.


Cobba’s Round 18 Footy Graph…

If you happen to notice a pig fly past you tomorrow, it might indicate I will get every single one of my remaining 45 footy tips correct, and if so, the resulting ladder at the end of round 23 will look like this:


My Prediction


Of course the likelihood of this happening is very slim (in fact it probably won’t resemble this at all if my track record is anything to go by), but I think it does give an indication of how (seemingly) the current top 8 sides are all likely to make a finals appearance later this year.

Please don’t whinge about my ‘expected results’ below, I know already some of them will not prove me right, but it does hopefully give a rough idea of what each club will be facing up to in the coming weeks.


See how your September might be shaping up. Give it a go at the AFL’s Ladder Predictor.








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About Jake "Cobba" Stevens

Cobba Stevens works in sports social media and content. A keen middle-distance runner in both the ammos and the pros, he's also one of the youngest 'old bloods' supporters in Melbourne.

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