HPNXmas – Self-congratulations: our favourite graphics of the year

The 12 days of HPNXmas is our way of giving back over the holiday period, and providing a place for some of our thoughts that didn’t get run for whatever reason during the year.

We made a lot of graphics this year. Some of them we were quite pleased with. Here’s some of them:

Defensive pressure visualised 

We guest posted at Figuring Footy to preview the Geelong v Sydney preliminary final and Rob produced for the post this graphic, showing Sydney’s inside-50 defensive prowess, something that ended up predicting the game’s outcome quite well.


Trade period resource balances

These two were from our summary of the Winners and Losers of the trade period, showing how the resources of each team had changed hands, illustrating quite clearly the loss-making trades GWS were making with their massive glut of highly coveted but fringe players:


A little bit of perfection

Among every trade that happened was a sneaky little (as rated by us) perfectly balanced pick swap:


AFL club revenue

Our most popular post this year was a look at AFL club revenue by source, seemingly circulated a lot with reference to the pokies usage of different clubs (note that this is revenue, not profit. The post contained other data on profit and asset bases).


Draftee survival functions

Cribbing an idea from Soccermetrics, at their suggestion, an MLS blogger, we charted the “survival rate” of draftees to different numbers of games.


And that’s it for the year. Stay tuned tomorrow for when, through the bleary eyes of New Year, we look back at our worst calls of 2016.


HPNXmas – Tasmania has the most umpires

The 12 days of HPNXmas is our way of giving back over the holiday period, and providing a place for some of our thoughts that didn’t get run for whatever reason during the year.

The ABS surveys of sport participation, children’s participation, and spectators  yields lots of interesting little nuggets of insight, such as motor sports being the most attended Northern Territory sport, and South Australia being the nation’s hotspot for netball participation.

It’s also let us find out where the most umpires are found:


And in graphical format:

This may reflect overall sport involvement in different states, but it also looks like there is a Barassi Line divide – the two states with the lowest percentage of the population involved in non-playing sporting roles are the states where Australian rules is not a predominant sport.

Perhaps the greater number of umpires etc south of the Barassi Line reflects the number of people doing boundary and goal umpiring at their kids’ Aussie rules games, compared to the lack of extra officials needed in other games such as soccer, basketball, netball, and the rugby codes

HPNXmas – The Hurling Year in Review

The 12 days of HPNXmas is our way of giving back over the holiday period, and providing a place for some of our thoughts that didn’t get run for whatever reason during the year.

In order to maintain our name, we are contractually obliged to post at least once every year on hurling. Consider this that post.

All Ireland Senior Hurling Championship

The main show in hurling is the Championship, a multi-staged knockout and repechage process that starts with provincial competition, inserts teams at different points, and culminates in a final match in early September in Dublin. Draws are replayed. The event naturally evokes poetry like this:

After a somewhat convoluted qualification stage, Tipperary and Kilkenny both showed their strength in the Munster and Leinster competitions respectively, with Tipp particularly strong in their destruction of Waterford in their final. Those two teams thus qualified to the penultimate stage of the Championship, the semi finals. That doesn’t confer home ground advantage – the semifinals all happen at Croke Park in Dublin. Other teams made up the earlier stages of the All-Ireland.

Waterford bounced back in the All-Ireland Quarters, beating qualifier Wexford by 10. Galway eased to a similar win over Clare, setting up a reverse match of the two finals above. Unlike the provincial finals, both matches were very tight, and decided by less than a goal. However, it was both provincial champions who prevailed, setting up a rematch of the epic 2014 finals (which were won by Kilkenny after the replay).

The final was a high scoring match – the highest of the 2016 championship. But the Premier County (Tipperary) ended up getting the majority of them, led by a goal from HPN favourite John “Bubbles” O’Dwyer. Full-forward Séamus Callanan was named the Man of the Match with a massive 13 points, as Tipp took the cup home for the 27th time.

Austin Gleeson, from losing semi-finalist Waterford, was named as both the Hurler of the Year and the Young Hurler of the Year, and certainly shapes as a top prospect for The Déise in the years to come.

National Hurling League

The League competition in Hurling is often considered the secondary inter-county competition, in contrast so soccer which usually values its league more highly than its knockout cups.

In the 2016 NHL Clare broke their long drought in the Spring competition, winning their first title since 1978. Perhaps even more impressively, Clare won the title from Division 1B, the “second” tier of Division 1 the NHL. It was the second year in a row a side from 1B had pulled off the upset win, with Waterford winning in 2015. Some Irish punters are starting to suggest that the easier path to success is through 1B, but only time will tell.

In Division 2A, Westmeath pulled a mild upset over Carlow, who beat them during the round robin. Armagh pulled a similar upset over Down in 2B, whilst Roscommon dominated Division 3A. And in Division 3B, Fermanagh won promotion for 2017, whilst Sligo finished at the absolute bottom of the pyramid for the year despite a win over the 3B champions.

Interprovincial Championships

The Interprovincial Championships, or Railway Cups, see an amalgamation of the county teams representing their respective provinces.As expected, Munster and Leinster won through to the final, which Munster won on the strength of a strong bench performance.

All-Ireland Senior Club Championships

If counties make up the provinces, then clubs make up the counties. The SCC sometimes sees relatively unheralded clubs and counties break through for victories, and 2016 saw Na Piarsaigh break through for their first SCC title, and the first for any club from Limerick.Ruairí Óg, from Antrim, were also vying for their first title, but fell short on the day.

All-Ireland Senior Camogie Championships

Camogie, the female variation of hurling, saw Kilkenny break through for their first title since 1994, beating Cork in the final. Kilkenny was able to complete the double, and walked away with the National Camogie League title as well in a strong performance.


HPNXmas – The Worst AFL Games of 2016

The 12 days of HPNXmas is our way of giving back over the holiday period, and providing a place for some of our thoughts that didn’t get run for whatever reason during the year.

HPN’s Worst AFL Games of 2016

GWS v Richmond

GWS scored as many goals as Richmond did all day in the first 13 minutes, and outscored them completely by the 17 min mark. The game was almost conclusively over by quarter-time, and definitely so by half-time. Richmond were only four games out of the eight before the game; after it, they were about 3 years from finals football.

Carlton v Essendon

Essendon vs Carlton in round 6 was never expected to reach any great heights. Carton didn’t score a goal for virtually a half of football, with a drought between the 25th minute of the 1st and the 23rd minute of the 3rd quarter and they still won. That’s mostly because Essendon also went goalless for a half, between the 14th minutes of the 1st and 3rd quarter.

This wasn’t a desperate, titanic defensive struggle of the kind Ross Lyon, Paul Roos or Neil Craig might have appreciated. Tackles were 67 apiece, below the average of thirteen teams this year. It was more a matter of incompetent attacks sputtering out to nothing, back and forth, for about an hour of game-time. Carlton eventually made more of their greater number of inside-50s and carried the day.

Gold Coast v Carlton

Remember when Gold Coast were sitting in second place on the ladder? This game had everything, and by everything we mean inaccurate goalkicking, more clangers than clearances and one team not being able to score.

West Coast v St Kilda

St Kilda nearly made the eight this year, but they seemingly didn’t make the trip over to Perth for this game. At half-time they were 1.9, and 62 points behind. The Saints couldn’t buy a mark inside 50, and it probably (unknowningly) doomed their season.

Gold Coast v Sydney

This game almost resembled Australian Rules Football. While it was a close game for much of its length, it was utterly terrible to watch as monsoonal rain hit the Gold Coast. Four thousand brave souls turned up to watch this slopfest at a ground that resembled a swimming pool more than a footy oval and saw the reserves curtain-raiser abandoned. This game had the third most tackles of all time, as well as the 7th most clangers.

Adelaide v Brisbane Lions

It’s hard to pick which Brisbane Lions smackdown to pick, but this one was particularly impressive. This is probably the game that contributed to Daniel Merrett’s decision to retire ten days later, with Adelaide piling on the goals all day against a weary Brisbane side. Adelaide had 14 different goalkickers on the day; the Lions just 6 goals total.

Melbourne v Gold Coast

This was without doubt the worst thriller of the year, the classic example of a mid-table team keeping a lower-ranked team in the hunt with poor skills and worse decision making. The game was exemplified by the last moments. HPN spirit animal Jack Watts kicked a goal to put the Dees in front, then marked in the goalsquare to protect the lead. A few seconds later Bernie Vince (with his seventh clanger) stuffed up a kick out of defence, finding Tom Lynch on the boundary, who missed a difficult shot after the siren to let Melbourne escape with a win.

Fremantle v Western Bulldogs

The last game of the AFL home and away season was probably the most meaningless to the end standing, with Fremantle (locked in 16th) playing against the Bulldogs (locked in 7th) with little more than pride on the line. In Matthew Pavlich’s last match, Fremantle didn’t trail after the halfway mark of the first quarter, and kept the Dogs to just two Tory Dickson goals in the second half. As such, the Dockers were the last team to beat the eventual premiers in 2016.

HPNXmas – Japanese Professional Sporting Team Names and Logos, Ranked

The 12 days of HPNXmas is our way of giving back over the holiday period, and providing a place for some of our thoughts that didn’t get run for whatever reason during the year.

Japanese Professional Sporting Team Names and Logos, Ranked

Teams have been selected from Japanese professional and semi-professional sporting leagues, including Basketball, Volleyball, Soccer, American Football and Rugby. Not all teams have been ranked – the Kintetsu Liners are considered to have a “replacement level” name. All names below that are considered “ordinary” or worse.

Some substantially weirder names exist at the amateur level, for which we invite you to peruse this post.

No correspondence will be entered into on these rankings.

  1. Tokyo Gas Creators
  2. Toshiba Brave Lupus
  3. Toyota Auto Body Queenseis
  4. Aomori Wat’s
  5. Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters
  6. Bambitious Nara
  7. Tokyo Yakult Swallows
  8. Mitsubishi Dynaboars
  9. Earth Friends Tokyo Z
  10. Toyota Verblitz
  11. Kyuden Voltex
  12. Hiroshima Toyo Carp
  13. JT Marvelous
  14. Sagan Tosu
  15. Yokohama B-Corsairs
  16. Pass Labs Yamagata Wyverns
  17. NEC Red Rockets
  18. Toyama Grouses
  19. Tohoku Free Blades
  20. Gunma Crane Thunders
  21. Tokyo Excellence
  22. Meiji Yasuda PentaOcean Pirates
  23. NTT Shining Arcs
  24. Kagawa Five Arrows
  25. Panasonic Wild Knights
  26. Kyoto Hannaryz
  27. Akita Northern Happinets
  28. Fukushima Firebonds
  29. Ehime Orange Vikings
  30. JT Thunders
  31. Toyoda Gosei Trefuerza
  32. Shimizu S-Pulse
  33. Kintetsu Liners

HPNXmas – The Worst AFL Hot Take of the Year

The 12 days of HPNXmas is our way of giving back over the holiday period, and providing a place for some of our thoughts that didn’t get run for whatever reason during the year.

With the ever expansion of the footy media, blogosphere and footy twitter, the temperature of AFL takes is ever rising. Scientists have called this “Global Take Warming”. With that in mind, we’ve decided to weigh the take magnitude by public profile, though it hardly mattered considering the final result.

Honorable Mention:

But they all can’t be winners, and this year’s winner came late in the piece.


Says the guy who is currently the Deputy Chairman of a club that has just posted a $1.78 million operating loss this year. And posted similar results in previous years. Maybe, just as a hint Leigh between m8s, you SHOULDN’T SPEND WHAT YOU DON’T EARN.

But wait, there’s more:

Oh, that’s OK then. Your hypocritical stance doesn’t really apply to you, but what’s that? You are also the Deputy Chairman of a AFLW club too? Oh, OK then.

Beyond the hypocrisy and obvious conflicts of interest of the takes above, they are fundamentally wrong with respect to the Lions’ situation. A majority of the income for the Lions comes from AFL distributions and pokies revenue – not directly related to the performance of their men’s team. And that’s before you get to the underlying sexism of this garbage fire of a “tweet question”.

Leigh Matthews was a great player, fantastic coach and someone worth looking up to for millions of Australians. Just not here. These are bad fucking areas.

2016 AFL Draft Wrap – sliders and bolters and which clubs secured bargains

Yesterday HPN continued our series of Consensus Phantom Draft posts by looking at how the experts did in their phantom drafts, rating them on how close they were to predicting the actual draft. Today we are going to use the data we obtained from these phantom drafters to assess which players were taken earlier or later compared to the expert draft-watcher consensus.

The theory here is that the wisdom of the expert crowd tells us where players were expected to go. This provides an implicit judgement on each player’s “value” compared the rest of the draft pool – if a player goes higher or lower they can be considered as “bolters” or “sliders”. Here’s how the first two rounds look, showing where consensus ranked players versus where they were actually taken.


We have also quantified the gap in terms of the AFL’s draft pick points system, to provide another view of the gap between expert expectations and draft pick reality. These help illustrate the size of the movement of players in terms other than just a count of pick positions. For example, if a player slides from the fringes of the top 10 to the edge of the first round (Tim English), it is much more significant than a player sliding a similar distance from the start of the second round to the middle (Shai Bolton).

The comparison of Ben Long and Brandon Parfitt with Tim Taranto can also serve as an illustration. The first really big “reaches” by clubs came in the mid 20s with St Kilda taking Ben Long (consensus rank 51) at 25 and Geelong taking Brandon Parfitt (consensus 50) at 26. Tim Taranto’s consensus position was pick 4 and his actual selection came at draft pick 2. But in draft pick points terms the difference between the Long and Taranto gaps were fairly similar.

Below is a list of the largest bolters and sliders among the draftees, sorted according to the gap in AFL draft pick points:


Brad Scheer, rated around 26, was bid on much later than expected, getting to the Gold Coast at pick 67. For them, the valuation in draft pick points is not merely theoretical. The Suns were expected to have to go into points deficit to obtain Scheer, and his slide has saved them a hit on their 2017 pick positions.

Luke Ryan, Patrick Kerr and Jack Graham were all generally expected to be taken in the second round and instead fell to the 50’s or 60’s, becoming bargains for the clubs which eventually took them.

On the bolter side, Sam McLarty for Collingwood at 30 was the single biggest mover, coming from a consensus ranking at the fringes of the draft at pick 63. A number of players were not considered in most experts’ calculations and are thus also bolters from the very notional 100+ ranking range (about 150 players were mentioned in at least one phantom draft). Two very left-field players not included in a single phantom draft were Melbourne’s Mitch Hannan (pick 46) and Sydney’s Darcy Cameron (pick 48).

In fact, both of Melbourne’s picks (Hannan and Dion Johnstone) were so left field that they were included in no phantom drafts. This is a phenomenal act of drafting from obscurity in the modern information age of drafts.

The flipside of the feelgood story of the draft bolter is a club that can be considered to have “reached” past higher rated players to get them. We can use the gap between expectation and reality to rank which clubs, overall, got the biggest bargains or made the biggest reaches:


(Note that a majority of clubs shape as losing value due to the well-rated players that went undrafted)

Geelong and Collingwood both took multiple players expected to go later in proceedings and emerge as the biggest “reachers” of this year’s draft. Time will tell whether the likes of Sam McLarty, Kayle Kirby, Tom Stewart and Brandon Parfitt will prove to be astute pickups or lost opportunities.

Alongside Gold Coast who secured Bowes and Scheer cheaply, Richmond and Brisbane also look like big winners in terms of having bargains slide through to them. Those were Jack Graham and Shai Bolton for Richmond and Hugh McLuggage and Alex Whitherden for Brisbane.

Hawthorn, by sheer virtue of having such worthless late picks thanks to swapping everything for O’Meara, also notionally obtained a “slider” in Harry Morrison, rated 56th and drafted at 74.

Finally, here’s a look at the value that was “left on the table” – the players who were reasonably well rated, but went undrafted:


Many of these overlooked players subsequently went as rookies, but noteworthy players left outside the AFL system for 2017 include Jonty Scharenberg who was rated 41st by the average expert and Sam Walker who was rated 43rd. Bailey Morrish, Hamish Brayshaw, Brodie Romensky and Liam Ryan were also seen as fringe national draft shots, and yet they fell through the rookie draft as well.

Only four players selected in the Under 18 All Australian Team missed selection entirely; the aforementioned Scharenberg and Walker, as well as the sad case of Alex Villis and underage prospect Sam Hayes.