It's cheap and easy - though, don't get me wrong, disturbingly satisfying nonetheless - to be wise after the event, but one of the more pleasing aspects of the season so far has been the vindication of MARS' and ChiPS' 2013 insistence that the Roos' final ladder position was a poor reflection of their underlying abilities. ChiPS had the Roos ranked 3rd at the end of season 2013 and MARS had them just two spots lower at 5th, both rankings far loftier than their 10th-placed, Finals-missing ladder finish. The narrowness of many of the Roos' 2013 losses really did seem to mask their true abilities.
As you can see from the table below, based on the Roos' 3 and 1 start to season 2014 ChiPS now has them ranked 4th having snatched over 5 Rating Points (RPs) from the Swans on the strength of last weekend's 43-point victory, while MARS has them ranked similarly at the end of Round 4 after banishing them to 6th at the end of Round 3 during which they defeated the Dogs by a barely acceptable (to MARS) 29 points. On the competition ladder the Roos now sit 6th - equal 3rd if you ignore percentage.
ChiPS and MARS now concur, in fact, about the rankings of not just the Roos, but also about the rankings of the top six teams.
Below that, the largest discrepancies in team rankings are for:
- Adelaide, ranked 9th by ChiPS and 11th by MARS
- Sydney, ranked 10th by ChiPS and 7th by MARS
- Western Bulldogs, ranked 12th by ChiPS and 15th by MARS
- St Kilda, ranked 16th by ChiPS and 14th by MARS
These are the only four teams for which the ChiPS Rankings differs from the MARS Rankings by more than a single place.
Both Rating Systems also agree that 10 teams are of above-average ability and 8 of below-average, though they bicker at the margin about the membership of those two team lists.
This broad level of agreement between ChiPS and MARS has emerged despite a most-recent round in which Ratings Points were passed around like puppies at a pre-school (with apologies to Tim Minchin). In ChiPS, for example, the average game in Round 4 saw a season-high 5.7 RPs traded between the combatants.
Looking across the expanse of the season so far, from the end of Round 1 to the end of Round 4. we see that, for ChiPS, the biggest climbers have been Port Adelaide and the Western Bulldogs while the biggest tumblers have been Richmond and Sydney.
For MARS, Port Adelaide is the only team to have risen by more than two places - the Dogs not having been as rewarded by MARS as it has been by ChiPS - while Sydney and Richmond are also the only teams to have fallen by more than two spots.
Next week, I'll add Colley, Massey and ODM Rankings to the mix.