2019 : Simulating the Final Ladder After Round 12

The results of the latest 50,000 simulations appear below.

(If you’re curious about the methodology used to create them, you can start here.)


While there were some losses for teams towards the top of the table this week, there remain only 10 teams with at least at 1 in 3 shot at the Finals, and only four teams with a 1 in 3 or better shot at a Top 4 finish.

The week’s biggest losers in terms of Expected Wins, according to the simulations, were the Brisbane Lions who dropped 0.9 Expected Wins, and Richmond, who dropped another 0.8 Expected Wins, while the biggest gainers were Adelaide and Carlton, who each gained 0.8 Expected Wins.

Looking at the simulations through the lens of making the Finals, we have:


  • Brisbane Lions (down 16% points)

  • Richmond (down 14% points, making it a 27% point loss in two weeks)


  • Adelaide (up 20% points)

Geelong are now estimated to be almost 80% chances for the minor premiership, Collingwood about 1 in 8 chances, and GWS about 1 in 16 chances.


The detailed view of each team’s estimated probability of finishing in each of the 18 possible ladder positions appears below. Blank cells represent ladder finishes that did not occur even once in the 50,000 simulations, while cells showing a value of 0 represent estimated probabilities below 0.05%.

The heatmap still shows relatively high levels of uncertainty for positions 7th through 12th in particular, which we’ll come back to a little later.


This week we’ll look again at what the simulations reveal about the likelihood of each team playing Finals or finishing Top 4 depending on the number of wins it records.

Here, firstly, is the analysis for a Finals berth.

This week sees more teams with a 25% or better chance of playing Finals with just 11 wins, and all but two with 75% or better chances with 12 wins. St Kilda, West Coast, and Geelong still have the lowest chances of making the Top 8 with only a 12 and 10 record, and GWS still has the highest chances.

Next, let’s look at the analysis for Top 4.

Here we see also that many more teams now have a better than 25% chance of finishing Top 4 with a 13 and 9 record, and all but four have about a 75% or higher chance with a 14 and 8 record. Brisbane Lions, West Coast, St Kilda and Richmond still have the lowest chances of a Top 4 finish should they win only 14 home-and-away games.


Next we’ll analyse how likely it is that key positions on the final home-and-away ladder will be determined by percentage because the teams in those positions finish tied on competition points.

This week, 4th and 5th are separated by percentage in about 46% of the simulations (up 2% points), and 8th and 9th are separated by percentage in about 54% of the simulations (up 3% points). The weekend’s result then made it slightly more likely that key spots on the ladder will be determined based on the percentages of the teams in contention.


One way of measuring how much uncertainty there is in the competition is to use the Gini measure of concentration commonly used in economics for measuring income inequality to quantify the spread of each team's estimated final ladder positions across the 50,000 simulation replicates, and to quantify the concentration in the probabilities across all the teams vying for any given ladder position.

This week saw the uncertainty about the final ordering of the teams increase very slightly, with the Gini coefficients dropping slightly below 0.560.

At the team level, we saw reductions in uncertainty for only six teams, with the largest relative reductions for Adelaide and Collingwood.

Essendon, Fremantle, Hawthorn, and Port Adelaide have the most uncertainty, while Geelong, Gold Coast, Carlton, and Collingwood have the most certainty about their eventual ladder finishes.

Next, if we adopt a ladder position viewpoint, we see that 1st and 18th remain the positions with the narrowest range of likely occupants, with about 70% to 90% chances that either of two teams will occupy them at season’s end, whilst positions 7th through 12th have the widest range of possible tenants.


Here are the updated assessments of the 30 most-important games between now and the end of the home-and-away season. (See this blog for details about how these are calculated.)

This week, 18 of the Top 30 are common to last week’s list, as well as 11 of the Top 15.

In terms of the temporal distribution of these games, we now have:

  • Rounds 13 to 16: 7 games from 30 (23%)

  • Rounds 17 to 19: 9 games from 27 (33%)

  • Rounds 20 to 23: 14 games from 36 (39%)

By team we see big increases for the Brisbane Lions and Richmond in their level of involvement in games assessed as being important for determining the Final 8, and a big decrease for Adelaide:

  • 8 games involving Brisbane Lions (up 6), Fremantle (down 2), or Port Adelaide (down 1)

  • 7 games involving Richmond (up 5)

  • 5 games involving Essendon (down 3)

  • 4 games involving West Coast (up 1)

  • 3 games involving Hawthorn (no change), North Melbourne (up 1), or St Kilda (up 1)

  • 2 games involving Adelaide (down 6), Geelong (up 1), Melbourne (up 1), or Western Bulldogs (down 1)

  • 1 game involving Carlton (no change), GWS (no change), or Sydney (down 1)

  • 0 games involving Collingwood (down 2), or Gold Coast (no change)

We can again see the commonsense of this list when we compare it with the simulated probabilities for teams finishing in 8th or 9th, which are:

  • 21%: Port Adelaide

  • 20%: Brisbane Lions and Fremantle

  • 19%: Adelaide and Essendon

  • 17%: Hawthorn

  • 16%: Richmond

  • 15%: West Coast

  • 14%: St Kilda

  • 13%: North Melbourne

No other team has a higher than 7% estimated probability of finishing in 8th or 9th combined.