With one week of the 2019 Finals Series now completed, let’s have a look at how teams from different home-and-away ladder positions have fared in Finals since 2000.
(Note that the images can be clicked on to access larger versions.)
Qualifying and Elimination Finals
The first week of the Finals has traditionally been a slightly better one for the home teams, though this year saw both Qualifying Finals won by the away teams.
Nonetheless, teams finishing in either of the Top 2 spots on the ladder still have 70% records in Qualifying Finals across the period we’re analysing.
Teams finishing 5th have a slightly better than 50% record in the 1st Elimination Final where they take on 8th, while teams finishing 6th have won almost two-thirds of their 2nd Elimination Finals against teams finishing 7th.
Teams from the top half of the final 8 have dominated in Semi-Finals, winning 31 from 38 games, or about 82% of them.
Top 2 teams have fared especially well In Week 2, having won all 10 of the Semi-Finals they’ve contested.
The worst records belong to teams from 7th and 8th on the ladder, whose collective record is just 2 wins from 16 games, with both of those wins coming against teams that finished either 3rd or 4th, and none against teams finishing 1st or 2nd.
Preliminary Finals have mostly been triumphs for teams finishing either 1st or 2nd in the home-and-away season, those teams having amassed a 26 from 38 (68%) record in Week 3 of the Finals. Defeats have only ever come at the hands of other teams from the top 3 on the ladder.
The only other ladder position that’s played in more than a single Preliminary Final and emerged with a better than 50% win record is 3rd, which has racked up a 9 and 6 record thanks mostly to a 7 and 2 record against teams finishing 4th.
Those teams from 4th have a startlingly poor 2 and 14 record in Preliminary Finals.
The last week of the season has been about equally enjoyable for teams finishing in the top 3, but slightly more so for teams finishing 2nd. They have reached the Grand Final on 12 occasions, winning 7 of them, which is a 58% record.
Minor Premiers have made the Grand Final slightly more often, but have won in only 6 of their 14 attempts, which is a 43% record. Teams that finished 3rd in the regular season have made 9 Grand Finals and won 5 of them, which is a 56% record.
Only one team from outside the top 3 has made the Grand Final, and that was the victorious Western Bulldogs team of 2016.
If we combine the records across the four weeks of the Finals we can see that success is highly correlated with ladder position, although teams from 4th overall fare a little worse than we might otherwise expect, dragged down in particular by that 2 and 14 record in Preliminary Finals.
Teams from 6th have also done perhaps a little better than we might expect, buoyed by their 65% win rate in Elimination Finals.