On the basis of Round 22 results, MARS changed its ranking of five teams this week - for three teams that will be progressing to the Finals, and for two that won't.
The most dramatic change was that of the Roos, who dropped over 5 Ratings Points (RPs) and fell three ladder positions to 8th based on their unexpected and sizeable loss to Fremantle. The only other team to move more than a single spot on the MARS Ladder was West Coast, who rose two spots from 7th to 5th and now sit less than 1 RP below the 4th-placed Pies.
The good news for the upcoming Finals series is that the gap between the Rating of the teams ranked 4th and 8th now stands at only 10 RPs, which is the smallest it's been since Round 16 and the second-smallest it's been since Round 11.
Turning now to look at team momentum as we move towards the Finals, it's Fremantle, the Hawks, the Eagles, the Swans, the Roos and the Cats that have, amongst the Finalists, accumulated the most RPs across the five most recent rounds.
Three of those teams have translated those RP gains into rises on the MARS Rating Ladder across the same period: Fremantle from 12th to 10th, the Roos from 10th to 8th, and the Eagles from 7th to 5th.
The Tigers have been another team squirrelling RPs away since Round 17, but their 10 RP gain has failed to budge them from 11th on the MARS Ladder and, more significantly, hasn't been enough to squeeze them into calculations for September. Carton, GWS and St Kilda are the other teams that have net acquired RPs since Round 17 that will also not be running around (except perhaps in bars somewhere in Bali) in September.
Adelaide's been the other net acquirer over this period, during which period they've actually dropped a spot on the MARS Ladder - from 6th to 7th - but at least they have the comfort of knowing their supporters will still have something to cheer about after this weekend has ended.
Moving from a view of acquisition to one of disbursement, only one of the competition finalists, the Pies, has shed RPs across the last five rounds, but their loss of about 6 RPs is minor compared with Essendon's loss of 17, the Dogs' of about 16, Port's loss of about 13, and the Lions' donation of about 8 RPs.
Other teams to lose RPs over this period were Melbourne, who liberated about 3 RPs, and the Suns, who donated just over 2 RPs.
These gains and losses have left MARS Rankings differing from competition ladder position by more than two places for only four teams: Geelong, ranked 3rd by MARS and 6th on the ladder; St Kilda (6th vs 9th); Adelaide (7th vs 3rd); and Fremantle (10th vs 7th).
MARS' re-ranking of five teams this week was the fewest of all the MAFL Ratings Systems. The Massey System made second-fewest - just six - three of them by two places or more. It had Carlton sliding from 8th to 11th, Freo climbing from 10th to 8th, and the Tigers rising from 11th to 9th.
ODM re-ranked eight teams, though only two by two places or more (the Pies from 4th to 6th and the Saints from 7th to 5th), while Colley also re-ranked eight teams, but three by two places or more (Adelaide from 4th to 2nd, Hawthorn from 3rd to 1st, and Collingwood from 1st to 4th).
Making selections purely on the basis of the higher-rated team, ODM and Massey fared best with Round 22 predictions, each correctly predicting seven outcomes. MARS was next best with five, while Colley managed only four. This leaves MARS with a 114 from 153 (75%) record since Round 5, ahead of ODM on 110, and then Massey and Colley, both on 108.
Finally, if we look at those teams where the Rating System rankings have greatest variability, we have:
- Adelaide, ranked 2nd by Colley, 3rd by ODM, 4th by Massey, and 7th by MARS
- Fremantle, ranked 7th by Colley, 8th by Massey and ODM, and 10th by MARS
- Geelong, ranked 3rd by MARS, 6th by Colley, and 7th by Massey and ODM
- The Kangaroos, ranked 8th by Colley and MARS, 10th by Massey, and 11th by ODM
- Richmond, ranked 9th by Massey, 10th by ODM, 11th by MARS, and 12th by Colley
- St Kilda, ranked 5th by ODM, 6th by Massey and MARS, and 11th by Colley