Luke’s Fixture Rating – Power, Tigers, Saints, Swans, Eagles and Bulldogs

Lukes Fixture Rating2011 Fixture Analysis and Rating

Welcome back to AFL Space and the final installment of 2011 Fixture Ratings. This time, we’ll look at the final teams in the series, Port Adelaide through to the Bulldogs.

To recap, here are all of the fixture ratings so far, for Adelaide to Melbourne (you can access the articles here and here – they also contain a full breakdown of how the fixture rating is determined):

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)

Remember, the “Fixture Rating” takes into account 3 main factors – days rest, ground difficulty and opponent difficulty.

Let’s get into it, starting with the Port Adelaide Power:

Port Adelaide – The Power, with a fixture rating of 136.68, have an ordinary draw, but at least have the chance to start the season well – after their first up encounter with Collingwood, that is. Their most favourable period falls between rounds 2 to 6, with matches against the Eagles, Cats (away), Crows, Suns and Kangaroos. Sure, it’s still not the greatest 5-round block but they’ll have to make the most of it (3 of the matches are at AAMI). They’ll need to buckle up later in the season, as from round 16 they have the Saints, Demons (away), Crows, Pies, Hawks and Bulldogs. Could this stretch kill off their slim finals chances? I’m thinking so.

Richmond – The Tigers possess a top-4 rating in terms of fixture, coming in at 144.18. It’s a favourable draw on the surface, with 12 MCG games, 4 games at Etihad plus two “home” matches in Queensland. The Tigers open 2011 with four tough games against the Blues, Saints, Hawks and Pies (all at the MCG however). Otherwise, it’s not a fixture to write home about – with no long “easy patches” to speak of. I guess that’ll happen when you’re a bottom-4 team though.

St Kilda – The Saints have a “middle of the road” draw, with a fixture rating of 138.47. After their opening round match against the Cats, they then get the Tigers, Dons, Lions (away), Crows (away) and Blues – pretty reasonable! The worst of it kicks off in round 10, with games lined up against the Dockers (away), Pies, Dogs and Cats (once again). After that stretch, it’s a reasonable run home for the Saints actually, and I fully expect a top 4 finish for them (barring a major injury or two). And don’t the Saints need this good news right about now?

Sydney – The Swans have a very comfortable fixture in the opening half of 2011. Their first round match against the Dees in Melbourne will be a test, but it’s followed by games against the Dons and Eagles (away). Then, from round 8, they face the Power, Hawks, Roos (away), Lions (away) and the Tigers. By the way, their toughest games in the first half of 2011 (vs. the Cats, Blues & Dogs) are either in Sydney (Cats & Blues) or Canberra (Dogs). Sydney could well rack up 8 wins from their first 12 games, if they’re switched on. Their draw (with a rating is 136.52) is harder in the second half of the season, as you’d expect.

West Coast – The wooden spoon team of 2010 has the second hardest fixture statistically, with a rating of 134.94. As with the Suns, when basically every team is better than you, this will happen. Clearly, the best part of the Eagles fixture comes at the end – with their last 5 games of the season being their “easiest” (statistically speaking). They play the Tigers, Demons (away), Dons, Lions (away) and Crows to end the season. If they’re somehow in the finals hunt when August rolls around (as unlikely as that is), they’re every chance to make it. On second thought, they’ll be most likely positioning for draft picks by that stage.

Western Bulldogs – The Bulldogs have the third best fixture of 2011, with a rating of 147.26. The Dogs could steamroll their first 3 opponents – the Dons, Lions and Suns (all at Etihad) – before they are truly tested from round 5 onwards. In fact, after rolling through their first 3 games, they may be rolled themselves in the next 3 – up against the Dockers (away), Pies and Swans (Manuka Oval). The remainder of the Doggies fixture is quite well balanced, so I’d have no reason to think the Dogs couldn’t get back into the top 4 once again this season.

The final fixture ratings for 2011:

Melbourne – 149.84 (easiest fixture)

Collingwood – 148.48

Western Bulldogs – 147.26

Richmond – 144.18

Carlton – 143.76

Hawthorn – 142.26

Kangaroos – 140.39

Essendon – 138.60

St Kilda – 138.47

Brisbane – 138.28

Adelaide – 137.50

Port Adelaide – 136.68

Sydney – 136.52

Geelong – 136.52

Fremantle – 136.24

West Coast – 134.94

Gold Coast – 131.98 (most difficult fixture)

Interesting, I’ve recently added a twist to the fixture rating calculation, taking into account “Last Game Effect”. It incorporates whether the team traveled in the previous round and the difficulty of the opponent and the ground.

For instance, the Crows play the Magpies in round 9 at Etihad Stadium; which is about as tough as an away assignment as there gets (and their chances of victory in the following round – round 10 – is negatively affected by this difficult away encounter).

In round 12, conversely, the Crows face the Eagles at AAMI Stadium. So, there is very little effect on the following rounds fixture (round 13) due to this home encounter against an easy opponent.

So, did any clubs come out better, or worse, taking into account the travel factor? Collingwood jumps Melbourne to have the most favourable fixture, whilst most of the interstate clubs are still at the bottom of the table.

Adelaide and Port Adelaide received a boost, however, indicating their away match-ups may be more favourable than others.

Thanks for reading my Fixture Rating series of articles! Stay tuned to AFL Space as I’ll be posting a new Power Rankings article in the coming weeks, based on the latest news and notes from the AFL pre-season.

Please feel free to leave your thoughts, opinions and suggestions in the comments below. As always, you can also find me on Twitter – @luke2177.

Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    Slight correction to my last few points about the “Last Game Effect” statistic. Have fixed a couple of numbers and turns out there’s not a huge impact on the final rankings as per this article – a few minor changes to placings, but nothing drastic!

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