2017 : Simulating the Final Ladder After Round 13

The latest set of 50,000 simulations of the remainder of the 2017 AFL season suggest that Round 13 provided relatively little fresh evidence for most teams to help answer the question "will they play finals?".

(For details on the methodology I've used in the simulations, please see last week's blog.)


The charts below summarise the distribution of ladder finishes for the 18 teams from the simulations run after Rounds 12 and 13. Note that the ordering of the teams is slightly different in the two charts, reflecting the overall improvement or deterioration in each team's expected ladder finish.



In the race for the finals, the big winners this week were:

  • Melbourne: +23% points
  • West Coast: +14% points
  • St Kilda: +9% points
  • Sydney: +9% points

The big losers were:

  • Western Bulldogs: -25% points
  • Richmond: -9% points
  • Gold Coast: -9% points
  • Kangaroos: -6% points

Taking a macro view of the latest chart, however, the main conclusion is that there is still a lot of variability in the likely finishes for most teams, especially for Melbourne, Richmond, West Coast, Western Bulldogs, Essendon, St Kilda, Sydney and Collingwood.

That variability is also evident when we look at the same data in the form of a heat map.



If we, arbitrarily, said that a roughly 10% or greater chance of finishing in a particular ladder spot was a "reasonable" chance, we now have:

  • 3 teams with reasonable chances for the minor premiership
  • 4 or 5 teams with reasonable chances for every position from 2nd through 17th
  • 2 teams with reasonable chances for the wooden spoon

It's quite a season.


Next, let's update the game importance table. It shows, you'll recall, how each team's chances of making the finals varies depending on the result of each of the remaining games. The overall Weighted Ave Importance figure tells us the average amount by which the teams' finals chances are expected to change on the basis of the outcome of a particular game. A larger figure means that the game is expected to change teams' finals chances, on average, by a larger amount and hence is a more important game.

(For more details about the methodology and the rationale for it, again please see last week's blog.)

Round 14 shapes as an especially important round, with three of the games from the top quintile in terms of importance, and three more from the second quintile.

Only the Adelaide v Hawthorn, and Brisbane Lions v GWS clashes are expected to have very little influence on who plays finals. That said, GWS would take an estimated 3% point hit and Adelaide a 1% point hit to their finals chances should they lose those matches.