We open this week’s rating post with perhaps the most significant change to the HPN ratings in the last month, and one we have slowly been tracking. North Melbourne, after opening the season on a 9-match undefeated streak, have sunk down to 9th in the ratings and face a not-significant chance of missing the real-life finals as well. As we outlined last week, Port stood a real chance of leapfrogging North in the rating with a victory, as they have done.
Elsewhere, ladder-leaders Hawthorn have snuck above West Coast in the battle for 6th spot, and are well within sight of the Dogs in 5th. The top 4 remains quite congested with the gap between Geelong in first and GWS in fourth shrinking a tiny bit more.
St Kilda managed the biggest gain (1.3%) this week with their execution of a dismal Melbourne side, who slid an equal -1.3% in the ratings. Richmond fell behind the Saints (down to 13th), with the Saints coming into mathematical contention for the real-life top eight. Finally, Carlton moved above Gold Coast for the critical battle for 15th in our ratings.
With the season winding down, we thought it would be useful to have a look at how the three plot charts look, and how the 2016 teams compare with previous Grand Finalists.
Adelaide’s offensive rating is historic, as we’ve pointed out before. No other team has been that strong in that area before, so it’s hard to look for historical precedents for their strength. GWS, Geelong, West Coast and Hawthorn firmly sit within the zone of former premiers, with North and Port on the fringes of the runner-up area. Sydney and Melbourne sit slightly below these teams, one good performance away from re-entering the fray. The Dogs are notably absent, with their poor offensive strength (and phenomenal midfield strength) leaving them on an island alone. Bringing up the rear is Essendon and Carlton, sides that have been approaching average defensively but relatively weak in the other two areas.
On this chart Sydney appear to be in a league of their own in relative defensive strength, with no other team matching them over our sample period. Geelong and the Dogs remain firmly in the GF zone, while GWS, Adelaide and West Coast are around where previous grand finalists have finished up. North and Port sit around the outlier grand final teams, whilst the Hawks sit just below the defensive strength you’d normally expect from a premier (expect that to rise slightly in the final few weeks). On their own at the bottom of the chart is Brisbane, who are in contention for the worst defensive team of our sample to date.
Again, we see the absolute outlier that is the defensive strength of Sydney, but one that is lacking in the other area (offensive strength). A team with offensive strength this low has not made a grand final before. The cluster of “defense focused” grand finalists (mostly every past Swans team plus a few coached by Lyon, Malthouse and Worsfold) all had a more efficient forward line than Sydney do in 2016. And most of that cluster lost their grand finals.
Teams sitting firmly among premiers for offensive and defensive strength are GWS, Geelong, West Coast and Adelaide. Port and Hawthorn are not very far behind. The Dogs sit behind the outlier “defensive” grand finalists, and North look well off the pace. Additionally, we see a stray Lions team at the bottom of the chart, with Essendon and Carlton also trailing the pack.