2019 : Simulating the Finals Series After Round 16

Let’s, again, simulate the Final series by applying the methodology described here to the 50,000 final ladders produced by our original simulations.

If we do that, we get the chart shown below, which shows each team’s Finals fate in terms of where they finished on the ladder at the end of the home-and-away season.

(Again, note that the bottom half of the chart is a mirror of the top half, but with each team enjoying its own y-axis in the bottom half to improve the ability to discern their underlying percentages.)

We still see a lot of red for Geelong, which reflects the large proportion of the time that the simulations have them finishing as Minor Premiers. In these latest estimates they go on to win the Grand Final about 23% of the time. It’s West Coast now for whom orange is the predominant colour, reflecting their relatively high likelihood of a second-place finish in the home-and-away season. They take the Flag in about 17% of the replicates.

Summing across the teams, we have now the following analysis of Grand Final success based on final home-and-away ladder position:

  • 1st or 2nd wins 42% of the time, and finishes runners up 40% of the time

  • 3rd or 4th wins 37% of the time, and finishes runners up 39% of the time

  • 5th or 6th wins 11% of the time, and finishes runners up 12% of the time

  • 7th or 8th wins 9% of the time, and finishes runners up 10% of the time

Those percentages are broadly unchanged from last week.

(I have to point out in passing the fact that the chart above shows Carlton finishing 8th and making the Finals in one of the 50,000 simulations. From there they go on to make it as far as the Preliminary Final. That is really making the most of the one chance you’re offered.)


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.

We see here that, if we define the season in terms of the six events listed above plus "Miss the Finals", the most-likely finishes for each team are estimated to be:

  • Lose in a Preliminary Final: Geelong, West Coast, Brisbane Lions, Collingwood and GWS, (note though that Geelong, West Coast and GWS are all more likely to play in a Grand Final than to go out in a Preliminary Final)

  • Lose in an Elimination Final: Richmond, Adelaide, and Port Adelaide

  • Miss the Finals: all other teams

In terms of the Flag, we have Geelong as about 7/2 chances, West Coast as about 5/1 chances, and Brisbane Lions, Collingwood, and GWS all as about 7/1 chances.


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 the most common Grand Final now has Geelong beating West Coast, and the second-most common has the opposite occurring. These two outcomes, combined, occurred in 9% of replicates.

The next-most likely pairing is Geelong and GWS, which occurred in about 7.4% of replicates, followed by Geelong and Brisbane Lions in just under 7%.

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