Which Team Has the Worst of the Remaining Draw?

With just 8 rounds to go in the home-and-away season, it's time to start thinking about each team's run to the finals. To help with this, I've taken the latest Colley, Massey and MARS Ratings and calculated for each team the average Ratings of the teams they've still to face.

Before I reveal those calculations, here in summary fornat is each team's remaining schedule.

(So, for example, Adelaide's remaining home schedule appears as the first row, and its remaining away schedule as the first column. The number in a cell is the Round number of the relevant contest.)

Cranking through the Ratings numbers yields this table, which is, as usual, clickable to access a larger version:

The columns on the left provide the average ratings of the teams still to be faced, split into whether the team in question meets these opponents at (designated) home or away venues. So, for example, the average Colley rating of the teams that Adelaide are still to meet at home is 0.49, that of the teams they've still to meet away is 0.39 and combined, ignoring home or away status, is 0.44.

On the righthand side the same data is presented in rank form, where a rank of 1 means that the relevant team has the most difficult remaining schedule in that it faces teams with the highest average rating.

So, based on the teams yet to be faced at home, Fremantle has the toughest draw, regardless of the Rating methodology you choose. Given that they face Carlton, Collingwood, Hawthorn and West Coast, that seems a reasonable assessment.

Carlton faces the 2nd-toughest set of Home games (Collingwood, Hawthorn, Melbourne and St Kilda), and Port Adelaide is looking at the 3rd-toughest (Collingwood, Melbourne and the Dogs).

The team with the easiest run of home games leading into the finals is Hawthorn (facing the Roos, Port and the Dogs) if you use Colley Ratings, Richmond (facing the Suns, Roos and Swans) if you use Massey Ratings, and Geelong (facing Gold Coast, Melbourne, Richmond and Sydney) if you use MARS Ratings.

Looking instead at games played Away, Brisbane have the most formidable draw (Collingwood, the Roos and Sydney) and Essendon next worst (Adelaide, Collingwood, West Coast and Bulldogs), again regardless of the Rating method chosen. The team with the best run of away games is Adelaide, who meet the Lions, Gold Coast, St Kilda and West Coast.

Overall, the most difficult remaining draws seem to be those awaiting Fremantle, Carlton, Port Adelaide, the Lions, Essendon and Gold Coast, and the easiest are those faced by Adelaide, Hawthorn, West Coast, Collingwood and Geelong.