With the 2019 semi-finals now completed, let’s have another 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. Also, if you’re interested in the statistics for Qualifying and Elimination Finals, see this earlier post.)
Brisbane Lions spoiled the perfect record of Top 2 teams in Semi-Finals this week, but it remains the case that teams finishing 2nd on the ladder have the 2nd-best record in Week 2 of the Finals.
Richmond won to extend the record of Minor Premiers to 6 and 0, ensuring that teams finishing top of the ladder at the end of the home-and-away season still have the best record in Semi-Finals.
The Eagles’ loss took 5th-placed teams record to 2 and 9, while GWS’ win took that for 6th-placed teams to 4 and 9.
Though unaltered this week, the worst records still belong to teams from 7th and 8th on the ladder.
We now know that the Preliminary Finals will pit 1st again 3rd, and 4th against 6th.
That first pairing has occurred six times, with the Minor Premier winning four of them, but that second pairing is appearing for the first time.
If GWS were to defeat Collingwood, they would be the first team to make a Grand Final having finished 6th during the period we’re analysing. Were Collingwood to win instead, they’d be only the third team to do so from 4th.
Four possible Grand Final matchups remain, two of which (1st v 6th, or 3rd v 6th) would be new combinations.
In general, teams from outside the Top 3 have fared poorly in Grand Finals, with the Western Bulldogs the only team to have won the Flag - and one of only three teams to have even made the Grand Final - from this position.
If we combine the records across the four weeks of the Finals we can see that success remain 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.
GWS is continuing to bolster the record of teams from 6th, who collectively now have a 47% win rate in Finals.