Simulating the Finalists and Finals for 2016 After Round 17

From a "who plays the Finals" point of view, last week's results were most encouraging for Port Adelaide (+14%) and St Kilda (+6%), and least encouraging for the Kangaroos (-21%).

That's the view from the latest simulations based on MoSSBODS' Ratings using the methodology explained in this post from last week (and the post it links to.) 

From a "who wins the Minor Premiership" or "who finishes Top 4" point of view, however, the news was all bad for the Swans and all good for the Hawks. In the Top 4 contest there was also better news for GWS and Geelong.

What's slightly depressing - though also a little encouraging - about all this is that the current estimates of teams' chances are broadly consistent with the TAB bookmaker's, the only exception being that the Dogs look like a little bit of value at $2 for a Top 4 finish. 

Elsewhere, in races where the TAB is no longer fielding markets, a little more clarity was achieved in the Spoon race, where the Lions gain was mostly the Dons' welcome loss. The simulations now rate the Lions as about 2/1 on chances.

This week you'll see I've also added a new column in the table above, which shows the change in the number of Expected Wins for each of the teams after the most-recent results. The big winners there were the Hawks, Power and Saints, who all gained about 0.8 wins, while the big losers were the Swans, Roos and Dees, who all lost about the same amount.

Time then, surely for a Dinosaur Chart.

And, as we might hope, it's showing a pleasing concentration of scales for most teams as the season progresses (and yes, I know, we now understand that many dinosaurs had feathers rather than scales ...). Only a handful of teams now have genuine claims for more than two or three ladder finishes, Geelong, Sydney and the Western Bulldogs the most notable exceptions.

If you prefer your data numeric, here's the same chart as a heat-map, which shows even more clearly how most teams are now homing in on a single ladder finish.

TOP 2s, 4s AND SO ON

A Hawthorn-Adelaide 1-2 finish at the end of the Home-and-Away season now seems most likely, that combination cropping up in about one-third of the simulation replicates.

Perhaps a little surprisingly, a Hawthorn-Geelong finish appears as the third-most likely option, though a Geelong-Hawthorn finish is not amongst the Top 10.

Similarly, a Hawthorn-Sydney finish rears its head in about one replicate in 12 while a Sydney-Hawthorn finish is not on the list at all.

Combined, the 10 most-likely 1-2 finishes now account for about 75% of all replicates, with Hawthorn appearing in 7 of them, Adelaide in 5, the Western Bulldogs in 3, Geelong and Sydney in 2, and GWS in 1.

Moving next to Top 4s, we find that Hawthorn appears in 1st place in all but two of them, Adelaide filling that role in the remainder and finishing in 2nd in five more of the Top 10 quartets.

Hawthorn also comes 2nd in one combination and 3rd in another, whilst Adelaide bags 3rd on three occasions.

The Western Bulldogs sneak into 2nd once, and finish 3rd and 4th on two occasions. Geelong snatches 2nd twice, 3rd twice and 4th four times, while Sydney finishes 2nd once, 3rd twice, and 4th four times.

No combination, however, appears in more than about one replicate in 40.

Positions 5th through 8th are not a great deal clearer, though GWS finishes 4th in three of the 10 most-common quartets, as does Sydney. Geelong and the Western Bulldogs also finish 5th twice each.

Sixth place is also shared amongst the same three teams, GWS and the Western Bulldogs grabbing it in three, and Geelong and Sydney on two each.

West Coast finishes 7th in all of the 10 most-common quartets, as do the Kangaroos in 8th.

No combination, however, appears in more than about one replicate in 30.

Finally, in terms of the Home-and-Away season simulations, the most common Top 8s are those as shown in the table at left, though it would be unwise to place much faith in any of them as even the most frequent of them appears in less than 1 replicate in 200.

One thing that is notable about this list is that the Eagles and Roos finish 7th and 8th in every entry..


Lastly, let's take a look at what last week's results have done to the Flag prospects of the teams in contention for that honour.

Broadly, the results have not made a great deal of difference, except that:

  • The Roos are less likely to make the Finals at all and so are less likely to exit at any stage of the Finals
  • GWS are slightly more likely to progress further in the Finals (though are still most likely to exit in a Semi-Final)
  • Hawthorn are more likely to progress further in the Finals (though are still most likely to exit in a Preliminary Final)
  • Sydney are more likely to exit sooner in the Finals and are now about equally likely to exit in a Semi-Final or a Preliminary Final

In numerical, heat-map form, the data is as it appears at left.

Looking more closely at the simulation replicates, we find that the most likely Grand Final sees Hawthorn meet Adelaide (16%).

After that, the next-most common pairings are Adelaide v Geelong (15%), Adelaide v Sydney (11%), Adelaide v Western Bulldogs (9%), and Adelaide v GWS (7%).