Welcome back to AFL Space and the next installment of 2011 Fixture Ratings. This time around, we’ll look at Fremantle through to Melbourne – with the final installment (Port Adelaide through to the Bulldogs) coming soon also.
To recap, here are the fixture ratings so far, for Adelaide to Essendon (you can access the article here – the article also contains a breakdown of how the fixture rating is determined):
Collingwood – 148.48 (easiest fixture so far)
Carlton – 143.76
Essendon – 138.60
Brisbane – 138.28
Adelaide – 137.50 (most difficult fixture so far)
Remember, the “Fixture Rating” takes into account 3 main factors – days rest, ground difficulty and opponent difficulty.
This week it’s Fremantle, Geelong, Gold Coast, Hawthorn, Kangaroos and Melbourne.
Fremantle – The Dockers have the third toughest fixture statistically, with a rating of 136.24. As I have mentioned previously, interstate teams have tough schedules by default, given they would expect that every other game will be played out of their home state – such is the nature of our great national game. The Dockers have a reasonable fixture until late July – then it’s just plain nasty. From round 17, it’s the Swans (away), the West Coast derby, Hawks, Saints (away), Blues, Roos (away), Pies and Bulldogs (away). That’s as tough as it gets for a side hoping to sneak into the Top 4.
Geelong – The Cats fixture rating of 136.52 is the toughest of any Victorian team. Their 2011 fixture is one of two halves, as it starts out tough but progressively becomes easier as the season continues. The Ablett-less Cats face the Saints at the MCG in a blockbuster opening round encounter, followed by a 7-week stretch featuring the Dockers (away), Swans (away), Hawks, Pies and Blues. But other than a round 24 tester against the Pies, their second half of the season schedule is a beauty – and I’d expect them to charge into the finals for this very reason.
Gold Coast – It’s no surprise that the Gold Coast fixture is a tough one, as it’s not like they could play themselves a couple of times this season to soften it up. So, given each of its games is against a higher ranked opponent – their fixture rating came in at a league low figure of 131.98. The “good” news comes in the form of their last four rounds – Lions, Crows, Demons (away) and Hawks. The worst of it is rounds 12-16, which includes the Kangaroos, Hawks (in Tassie), Bulldogs, Dockers (away) and Swans – and don’t look now – but they then get the Pies, Saints and Cats in succession from rounds 18-20. Ouch!
Hawthorn – As a Melbourne based club, you’d be correct in guessing the Hawks have a good draw. Their fixture rating of 142.26 is the 6th most favourable fixture in the league. The round 5-12 stretch in the draw is where Hawthorn will be tested – with 2 games against the Cats and clashes with the Power (away), Saints, Swans (away), Dogs and Dockers. We could see a Buddy Franklin explosion to open 2011, however, with the Hawks playing the Crows, Demons, Tigers and Eagles in the first 4 rounds (perhaps those DreamTeam coaches out there can take note).
North Melbourne – The Kangaroos will rack up the frequent flyer points early in 2011, with two trips to Perth in the first 3 rounds of the season (rounds 1 & 3) – with a match against the Pies thrown into the mix for good measure (round 2). Their fixture rating number came in at 140.39 – good enough for 7th best in the competition. The relief for the Roos comes between rounds 9 to 14, with matches against the Lions (away), Swans, Crows, Suns (away), Dons and Power (away). Not too shabby. Overall, with 16 games in Melbourne – there isn’t too much room for complaint. Their bigger concern, it seems, is convincing their supporters to go and watch them play.
Melbourne – The Dees have statistically the best fixture in the competition, with a rating of 149.84. They travel interstate just 4 times and none of their interstate fixtures are against top 8 teams from 2010 (Suns, Eagles and the Power twice – with one being a “home game” at the Gold Cast). Their last 4 rounds leading into a potential return to finals action is near perfect – against the Eagles, Tigers, Suns and Power (away) – whilst the Geelong/Hawthorn double in rounds 18 & 19 is arguably their biggest test of the season. With this fixture, I’m tempted to move the Demons right up into finals contention in my next set of Power Rankings (stay tuned to AFLSpace).
Here are the rankings after looking at 11 teams so far:
Melbourne – 149.84 (easiest fixture)
Collingwood – 148.48
Carlton – 143.76
Hawthorn – 142.26
Kangaroos – 140.39
Essendon – 138.60
Brisbane – 138.28
Adelaide – 137.50
Geelong – 136.52
Fremantle – 136.24
Gold Coast – 131.98 (most difficult fixture)
The final installment will feature the other 6 teams – Port Adelaide, Richmond, St Kilda, Sydney, West Coast and the Western Bulldogs – so stay tuned to AFL Space.
Please feel free to leave your thoughts, opinions and suggestions in the comments below. As always, you can also find me on Twitter – @luke2177.
Thanks once again for reading!