2018 : Simulating the Finals Series After Round 16

Time to update our views on how, according to MoSHBODS, this year's finals might play out.

Firstly, let's look at the relationship between teams' ladder finishes and ultimate finals performance, applying the methodology described here to the 50,000 final ladders produced by our original simulations for this week.

Even moreso this week, it's Richmond and red almost everywhere you look since they're now estimated as almost 75% chances to take out the Minor Premiership, and as being more likely than not to win in any given week of the Finals. If you compare the heights of the last two bars for every team, you'll see that the Tigers are, in fact, the only team more likely to win than to lose the Grand Final, should they make it.

It's interesting to note that Melbourne, despite having the 3rd-highest rating on MoSHBODS at the moment, are estimated as being most likely to go out in an Elimination Final, should they even make the Finals at all. They're simulated to finish 5th to 8th about twice as often as 1st to 4th, and so skip an Elimination Final and benefit from the double-chance only one-third of the time they make the Finals.


In this next chart we look at teams' chances for various Finals finishes, ignoring their home and away ladder positions (ie we focus solely on the heights of the bars in the previous chart). The numbers shown inside a cell are the percentage of simulation replicates (multiplied by 100) in which the specified team went out in the specified week of the Finals (or achieved the specified result).

Richmond are still assessed as about 36% chances for the Flag and about 56% chances of playing in the Grand Final. Four other teams all have an 8 to 13% chance of winning the Flag: in order, Collingwood, Port Adelaide, West Coast and Geelong. Sydney's chances have now slipped below 5%.

If we define the season in terms of the five events listed above plus "Miss the Finals", the most-likely finishes for each team are estimated to be:

  • Win the Grand Final: Richmond
  • Lose in a Preliminary Final: Collingwood, Port Adelaide, and West Coast
  • Lose in an Elimination Final:  Geelong, Sydney, and Melbourne
  • Miss the Finals: all other teams


In this final chart we look at all of the Grand Final pairings that occurred in at least one of the simulation replicates. The numbers shown inside a cell are the percentage of simulation replicates (multiplied by 100) in which the team named in the row defeated the team named in the column in the Grand Final.

We see that three Grand Final pairings are roughly equally likely: Richmond playing any of Collingwood, Port Adelaide, or West Coast. Each of these occurred in about 9 to 11% of replicates and saw Richmond winning about 63 to 68% of the time. Richmond v Geelong or Richmond v Melbourne Grand Finals are next most likely, occurring in about 6 to 6.5% of replicates and also with Richmond winning about 60 to 64% of them.

(Note that zeroes in the chart represent pairings that did occur at least once but in less than 0.05% of replicates.)