2019 : Simulating the Finals Series After Round 21

Last weekend’s results have served to make the race for the Flag a fairly even contest between three or four teams according to the latest simulations of the Final series using the methodology described here and the 50,000 final home-and-away ladders produced by our original simulations.

The results are summarised in the chart 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.)

The four teams most likely to win the Flag are Geelong, Brisbane Lions, West Coast, and Richmond, with Geelong and Richmond both better than 50% chances should they make the Grand Final, and Brisbane Lions and West Coast both slightly worse than 50% chances should they make it. As far as MoSHBODS is concerned, Venue Performance Values are just as relevant in Finals as they are in the home-and-away season, so the location of the Grand Final is obviously playing a part here.

Across the 50k replicates, thirteen teams still make the Finals at least once, and twelve of them go as far as securing 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 43% of the time, and finishes runners up 41% of the time

  • 3rd or 4th wins 40% 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 6% of the time, and finishes runners up 8% of the time

Those percentages are broadly unchanged from last week, though with another slight increase in the chances of ultimate success for the teams finishing in the top half of the Final 8.


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 a Preliminary Final: Geelong, Brisbane Lions, West Coast, and Richmond (note though that all four of these teams are now more likely to play in a Grand Final as to go out in a Preliminary Final)

  • Lose an Elimination Final: Collingwood, GWS, Port Adelaide, and Essendon

  • Miss the Finals: remaining teams

In terms of the Flag, we have fair prices of about $4.70 to $4.80 for Brisbane Lions, Richmond, and Geelong, $5.90 for West Coast, $13 for Collingwood, $20 for GWS, and $34 for Port Adelaide.


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 there are now three, roughly equally-likely tiers in terms of likelihood being the Grand Finalists:

  • Brisbane Lions v Richmond or Geelong: estimated 10.9% to 11.3% chances

  • Brisbane Lions v West Coast, or Geelong v West Coast or Richmond: all estimated 9.9% to 10.4% chances

  • Richmond v West Coast: estimated 8.8% chances

No other pairing has an estimated probability above 4.5%.

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