It's rare for a team to win but shed MARS Rating Points (RPs), but Hawthorn managed it this week after defeating the Cats by just 5 points on Friday night. They're still comfortably in 1st though.
Fremantle's 25 point win over Sydney on Saturday was sufficiently decisive, however, to see RPs flowing in the direction of the victor, the 2.2 RPs claimed by the Dockers enough to see them trade places with the Swans on the MARS Ladder and move into 3rd place. Fremantle should finish the season in 3rd place unless Hawthorn hand them a substantial thrashing in the GF.
Getting back to the phenomenon of winning but shedding RPs, the table below shows just how rare this has been across the last 14 seasons.
During that time, winning but shedding has occurred in just over 1 game in 25, though the rate has risen this season to be a little less frequent than 1 game in 10. This increase can be attributed to the rise in the number of teams of above-average Rating this season, which are the only teams that can, realistically, win by an amount insufficient to maintain their (high) Rating.
Support for this line of argument comes from the table above when you consider the peak Ratings of the teams that have racked up multiple win-but-shed games in different seasons: Port Adelaide in 2002 (maximum Rating 1,041) and 2003 (1,036), the Lions in 2004 (1,048), Adelaide in 2005 (1,037), and so on. The Dons of 2001 and the Cats of 2009 are perhaps the best examples of all, having each recorded six win-but-shed results in years in which their Ratings peaked at over 1,050.
Another way of demonstrating that winning but shedding is a trick available only to above-average teams is to compare the average pre-game Rating of teams that have achieved this feat (1,017), with the average pre-game Rating of winning teams in general (1,007).