Simulating the Finalists and Finals for 2016 After Round 19

I'm fairly sure it'll not be entirely surprising to you when I say that this week's results put a significant dent in the Top 4 aspirations of Adelaide and the Western Bulldogs, bolstered the Finals hope of the Roos at the Saints' expense, and made the Dons more likely Wooden Spooners and the Lions less likely to collect that item of cutlery.

Those are the latest opinions of the MoS Simulations, which this week comprise 100,000 replicates of the remaining home-and-away season and the Finals series ahead.

In Dinosaur Chart form, the latest projections of the home-and-away season show an increasing narrowing of each team's range of final ladder finishes, no team now showing a seriously feasible range extending beyond six places.

The fates of Adelaide, Geelong, GWS and Sydney remain the most uncertain, while those of the Brisbane Lions, Essendon and Fremantle seem surest.

Viewed in heatmap form, the teams' range of final home-and-away ladder finishes show that the Hawks now have a firm hold on the Minor Premiership; Geelong, GWS, Adelaide and Sydney are locked in a battle for 2nd through 5th; while the Western Bulldogs are most likely to finish 6th, West Coast 7th, and the Kangaroos 8th.

Given current TAB prices, these results make Adelaide seem value for the Minor Premiership at $15 and for the Top 4 at $1.40, and make the Western Bulldogs look attractive for the Top 4 at $26.

Outside the Top 8 we have Port Adelaide and St Kilda most likely to tussle for 9th and 10th, Collingwood most likely to finish 11th, Melbourne 12th, Carlton 13th, Richmond 14th, Gold Coast 15th, Fremantle 16th, the Brisbane Lions 17th, and Essendon most likely to snag the Spoon.

TOP 2s, 4s, AND SO ON ...

After this week's results, the simulations now have the most likely 1-2 pairing at the end of the home-and-away season as Hawthorn and GWS, that ordering appearing in more than one-fifth of the replicates.

Next most common was a Hawthorn- Geelong pairing, which cropped up 18% of the time, the reverse ordering showing its face about another 4% of the time.

In total, Hawthorn appears in six of the 10 most-likely Top 2 pairings, Geelong and Adelaide in 5, GWS in 3, and Sydney in 1.

Turning next to the commonest Top 4s, we find that Hawthorn appears 1st in all 10, GWS 2nd in four, 3rd in two, and 4th in two more, Adelaide finishes 2nd in one, 3rd in three, and 4th in three more, while Sydney finished 2nd in one, 3rd in another, and 4th in three more.

None of the ten most-common quartets, however, crops up in more than one replicate in 20.

Focussing next on ladder positions 5th to 8th, we find that the Western Bulldogs dominate, finishing 5th in one ordering, 7th in another, and 6th in the other eight.

The Roos are also well-represented here, finishing 7th in four of the orderings and 8th in the other six.

West Coast also appears in all 10 orderings, once in 6th, five times in 7th, and four times in 8th.

The only other teams to appear in the list are Sydney, who finish 5th twice and 6th once, Adelaide, who finish 5th three times, GWS, who finish 5th twice, and Geelong, who also finish 5th twice.

None of the quartets shown here appears in more than about 9% of the replicates.

Finally, in terms of the home-and-away season, let's look at the possible orderings for all eight of the Finalists.

To start with, it's important to note that none of the orderings here occurred in more than about 1.5% of replicates but, that said,  the six most common all had a Hawks-GWS 1-2 finish.

As well, the Western Bulldogs finish 6th in all of the orderings, while West Coast and the Kangaroos share 7th and 8th between them.


Adelaide remain favourites for the Flag according to these latest simulations, though their probability fell from about 31% to 29% this week. The Hawks' probability also fell (from 22% to 18%) as did the Cats' (from 24% to 20%), whilst Sydney's rose from 7% to 12% and GWS' rose from 11% to 16%.

The Roos and Eagles remain the teams most likely to bow out in the Elimination Finals, the Dogs in a Semi-Final, and GWS, Geelong and Hawthorn in a Preliminary Final. Adelaide, meantime, are about as likely to lose in a Preliminary Final as they are to lose the Grand Final.

Three teams, should they make it, are assessed as being more likely to start the Grand Final as favourites (averaged across all of the opponents they might meet there): Adelaide, Geelong and Hawthorn.

The following chart depicts how likely it is that the potential Finalists might bow out at a particular stage and how those exits relate to their final home-and-away ladder finishes from the relevant replicates.

Adelaide's information is particularly interesting as we see them bowing out in a Semi-Final or a Preliminary Final far more often when they finish outside the Top 4 than when they finish inside it. This is true also of Geelong, GWS and Sydney, though less so of Hawthorn.

Finally, when we look at potential GF pairings we now find that:

  • An Adelaide v GWS pairing is most likely (13%)
  • Adelaide v Hawthorn or Adelaide v Geelong pairings are next most likely (12% each)
  • An Adelaide v Sydney pairing is about a 9% chance
  • A GWS v Geelong or a GWS v Hawthorn pairing is about an 8% chance

Altogether, about 40 different GF pairings appeared in at least one of the simulation replicates.