2019 : Simulating the Finals Series After Round 18

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.)

There’s a little less red in the bars for Geelong this week, as the Brisbane Lions’ prospects for the Minor Premiership rose to better than 1 in 5.

Along with that increase came an increase in the Lions’ Flag prospects, which are now estimated to be about 19%, just 1% point below Geelong’s. Geelong, however, continues to win most of its Flags after finishing Minor Premiers, while the Lions win more often from 2nd spot on the home-and-away ladder.

Behind that pair, West Coast, Richmond, Collingwood, and GWS are all assessed as about 10 to 14% chances for the Flag.

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 41% of the time, and finishes runners up 40% of the time

  • 3rd or 4th wins 38% of the time, and finishes runners up 38% of the time

  • 5th or 6th wins 12% 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.


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, Brisbane Lions, West Coast, and Richmond (note though that Geelong, Brisbane Lions, Richmond 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: Collingwood, GWS, Essendon, and Adelaide

  • Miss the Finals: all other teams

In terms of the Flag, we have fair prices of about $5.00 for Geelong, $5.20 for Brisbane Lions, $7.00 for Richmond $7.40 for West Coast, $8.10 for GWS, and $9.80 for Collingwood.


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 still has Geelong beating Brisbane Lions, and the second-most common has the opposite occurring. These two outcomes, combined, occurred in just over 9% of replicates.

The next-most likely pairing is now Brisbane Lions and West Coast, which occurred in about 7.4% of replicates, followed by Geelong and West Coast (7%), and then Brisbane Lions and Richmond, and Geelong and Richmond (both 6.3%).

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