As we move within a month of wrapping up the Home and Away season, the HPN ratings continue to shuffle around slightly. Six teams make moves this week, all up one or down place. At the top end of the ladder, GWS sneak above Adelaide into third, with very little separating the top four at all.
Port make the move above North into eighth position, but margin is quite narrow indeed. Further down the ladder, Carlton and Fremantle trade places, with the distance between 13th and 16th very small.
Over the last seven weeks, no team has gained more than 1.7%, and no team has dipped further than 3.3%. The stability that has swept over the ratings is largely the result of the weight of the data collected to date, with relatively little new information to add in the weeks to come. That’s not to say that there won’t be movement; rather that the movements should be smaller in nature. HPN’s ratings account for strength of schedule faced to date, and as the season has progressed projected strength has largely been replaced by actual strength.
HPN have also been looking at how stable the ratings have been across the course of the season to date, and who have had the biggest gains across the period the ratings have been published. As evidenced above, the biggest “miss” of the ratings was rating the early output of the Lions as “average” instead of the eventual “terrible” they’very settled into. Brisbane had a brutal early draw and actually acquitted themselves okay (being competitive against West Coast and North Melbourne and nearly beating Sydney) but have suffered a number of injuries across the course of the season. Focus and morale also seem to be massive issues for the young squad.
Another injury-hit squad, Gold Coast, also slid significantly in strength rating, going from a little below league average to bottom four since the start of the season. It’s worth noting that even when the Suns were off to an undefeated start, the HPN ratings didn’t really give them a whole lot of credit for their results.
As for underrated sides, Port Adelaide have risen significantly as the season has progressed, going from 13th in round 4 to their current position of eighth. This probably reflects their actual form line more than an early misreading. Collingwood were second last after the first month, significantly underselling their eventual position for the season.
If you like a worm chart of the above data, have a look at this one:
Here’s a component-by-omponent breakdown. Up first, the midfield, where Collingwood eventually found their feet and the Bulldogs tempered a little after a fast early start. Sydney also slid significantly after a dominant early run.
Up forward, North got off to an insanely fast (Waite-led) start, whilst Adelaide have pretty much continued to be great throughout. West Coast’s multi-faceted attack took a while to find their feet, but certainly are dangerous now. Brisbane’s early start also faded fast, and is largely behind their overall slump. Finally, Fremantle lost their way up forward, with inaccuracy and conversion often hurting their occasional shots at victory.
Down back, Sydney have continued to be excellent all year. For most of the year Essendon put up a valiant effort, with the Lions tailing out the pack. Gold Coast started to struggle defensively when their injury crisis began, and they’ve struggled to find their feet since. On the other hand, Hawthorn have slowly but surely found a combination that is at least average, which might be enough for them to win another flag (although the HPN ratings are more pessimistic than the betting markets). Port Adelaide have also shot up the defensive ratings, in line with popular opinion on many of their defensive players.
Finally, the Bulldogs started out extremely strongly defensively, but that has also been significantly hampered by injuries and occasional form slumps.