Simulating the Finalists for 2015 After Round 21

The Eagles' victory over the Dockers considerably enhanced their chances of taking out the Minor Premiership, though the Eagles' gain came at the expense not of their immediate opponents but instead of Hawthorn, whose loss to Port Adelaide all but ended their hopes of this minor honour.

In the latest round of simulations, West Coast finished top 40% of the time, which makes their $2.90 price on the TAB look attractive, though to believe that you need to share, to some extent at least, ChiPS' views about the Dockers' and Eagles' prospects in the two remaining games, which are included in the simulation Input Matrix shown at right.

As you'll note, ChiPS continues to rate Port Adelaide a genuine chance of toppling the current competition leaders in their Round 23 matchup, though it does also rate the Dockers as near-certainties in their Round 22 clash with the Dees. The Eagles, by comparison, are assessed by ChiPS as slight favourites for their Round 22 game against the Crows, but as overwhelming favourites for their Saints matchup the following week.

Only five teams now have significant chances of finishing somewhere in the Top 4, Fremantle, West Coast and Hawthorn all now certainties or nearly so, leaving Sydney and Richmond to quibble over 4th. The simulations have the Tigers claiming that spot only about 1 time in 5, but that's enough to have their $6 price at the TAB carrying a positive expected return.

The Dogs and Roos (and even the Crows) aren't completely without hope of finishing Top 4, but it's a 40/1 shot for the Dogs, and a 100/1 shot for the Roos.

In the battle for a Finals spot, seven of the eight places are all but spoken for, the Crows and Cats now scrapping for 8th with the Crows 4/1 on favourites.

Carlton's win over Melbourne dramatically tilted the odds in the Spoon market in favour of the Lions, now assessed as almost 85% chances of finishing last.

The week's Dinosaur Chart and heat map reveal an accelerated reduction in the number of possible ladder finishes for each team, with only Adelaide, the Kangaroos, Port Adelaide and the Western Bulldogs retaining four viable options.


Two possible orderings now account for over 90% of the simulation's 1-2 finishes, about 57% seeing Fremantle as Minor Premier and West Coast as Runner Up, and another 34% seeing the same two teams filling these positions, but in the opposite order.

Hawthorn sneaks into second in most of the remaining replicates, finishing behind West Coast in 6.5% of replicates, and behind Fremantle in about 3%.

Sydney surprises by finishing second in about 3 replicates in 1,000, and tests the limits of impossibility by finishing first in about 1 replicate in 15 to 20,000.

The most common Top 4 from the simulation is Fremantle / West Coast / Hawthorn / Sydney and occurs in over 40% of replicates, while the next-most common, which flips the ordering of the top 2, occurs in about 1 replicate in 4.

Richmond sneaks into fourth in the two next-most common outcomes, these accounting for another 19% of replicates.

After that we see a number of unusual quartets, including one with the Dockers finishing fourth (4% of replicates), and another with the Dogs finishing fourth (1.3% of replicates).

Some meaningfully most-common Top 8s are now emerging from the simulation process, including one which cropped up in 8% of all replicates, and four in total, accounting for almost one-quarter of all replicates, which involve the same eight teams in different orders. 

It's not until we reach the fifth-most common Top 8 that we find one with a different team, this one including the Cats at the expense of the Crows and appearing in just under 4% of all replicates.


This week we'll explore the interdependencies in the Finals fates of the teams by focussing mainly on 8th and 9th positions, looking firstly at which teams occupy 8th when another occupies 9th.

From this table we read, for example in the first row, that in those replicates where Geelong finishes 9th (which represent 44% of all replicates), 60% of the time it does so with Adelaide finishing 8th, 23% of the time it does so the Kangaroos finishing 8th, and 16% of the time it does so with the Western Bulldogs taking the last Finals position.

That 60% figure for Geelong's row and Adelaide's column, along with the 93% figure in Adelaide's row and Geelong's column, highlights that the main remaining battle for the final spot in the 8 is between the Cats and the Crows.

Expanding our viewpoint just a little, we can also review the 50 most-common orderings from the simulation for ladder positions 5th through 9th, where we find that three of the four most-common orderings, accounting for over one-quarter of all replicates, and five of the eight most-common orderings, accounting for over 40% of all replicates, see Geelong finishing in 9th position. In these, mostly it's Adelaide in 8th, though it is also the Roos in just over 4% of replicates.