What is MAFL?
The acronym MAFL stands for Model AFL, a prosaic name if ever there was one, and the first of many to grace the pages of MAFL newsletters and blogs across MAFL history.
Since the name MAFL was coined there's been The Model, which was a statistical model and the Line Fund, which wagered on the line market. When the Line Fund was adapted to use my ELO-style team ratings it changed its name to the ELO-Line Fund. Catchy names - who needs them?
It wasn't until I tried to move MAFL online that I discovered the acronym was used by a number of other websites, not all of them even vaguely football related.
How Did It All Start?
As a species, human beings have terrible memories. We forget stuff that did happen, remember stuff that didn't and, worst of all, misremember much of what we witnessed and experienced first hand.
I'm sure this helps keep us sane, but it also makes most of us generally poor historians.
With that caveat duly made, what follows is my recollection of the history of MAFL.
MAFL Online started out as a weekly newsletter - if it's reasonable to call a one or two page Word document a newsletter- sent to a handful of friends during the 2006 season, in which, much as I do in the blogs today, I commented on the progression of the current AFL season, occasionally analysed footy data, made tips, and placed wagers.
(Actually, in 2005 I'd been sending out newsletters too, but these contained only tips. Also, at that point, the term MAFL hadn't been coined, so I think it's more logical to date MAFL history from 2006.
Regardless, copies of the newsletters for 2005, of which only those from Round 11 onwards survive, and of those from all subsequent years, are available from the MAFL Newsletters 2005-2008 page on this site.)
In the first year, things were much simpler than they are today. There was only one Fund algorithm, known as The Model, and it served double-duty, both tipping winners and determining wagers. Rarely did it make more than one or two wagers in a round. In fact, it made only 62 bets during the entire 2006 season. Despite such relative inactivity - the New Heritage Fund of 2010, for example, would've made 62 bets in a week if that were possible - The Model returned a profit of just over 25% (including the famous Special Stupidity Dividend) in 2006 which, in hindsight, was probably a bad thing. It only served to encourage me.
Come 2007, MAFL changed. The simple one or two page Word documents became multi-page PDF extravaganzas and the original algorithm for The Model became the Heritage Fund and was joined by three more Funds: the Left and Right Funds - later renamed to the Alpha and Beta Funds - which also wagered head-to-head, and the Line Fund, which wagered on the line market.
Chi became the Official MAFL Mascot and adorned every newsletter that year.
Investors were also given the option to construct their own portfolios in that year, which many did, or they could invest in the Recommended Portfolio. That Portfolio made 141 bets during the year and finished up by just over 9% with nary a Stupidity Dividend in sight.
Chi and Quila became tipsters in 2007 and were joined by ten other tipsters including BKB, who simply tipped the TAB Sportsbet favourite for each game.
In 2008, five Funds operated including modified versions of all four Funds that had operated in 2007. The new Fund was the Chi Fund, based on the algorithm used by Chi in his tipping.
Tipsters proliferated in that year, with a phalanx of Momentum Matters tipsters springing up, including the grandiosely named Super MM and Uber MM tipsters. In total, MAFL followed 64 tipsters that year, though none of them could outperform BKB.
It was also the year in which MARS Ratings commenced (the Round 2 Newsletter for that year has the details) and Geelong finished more than 22 Ratings points clear of every other team in the competition, but still managed to lose the Grand Final to the $2.65 underdog Hawks.
Investors were again free to choose their own portfolios in 2008 or to invest in the Recommended Portfolio. Those who opted for the latter endured a painful and decidedly unprofitable year's wagering, the first for Investors following the recommended strategy since MAFL had begun, eventually finishing down almost 28% on the year.
In 2009, MAFL the newsletter became MAFL Online. All the blogs from that time on are on this website.
Where Are the Files to Which Some Old Newsletter or Blog Refers?
From time to time I've sent supplementary files to Investors or made files downloadable from the website for a week or so or for an entire season. Many of these (read, those I could find) I've posted on this website as supplementary files.
Some examples of what you'll find there are:
- Descriptions of the Fund algorithms
- Descriptions of the tipsters
- Information about the composition and performance of the MAFL Portfolios, which are two portfolios of small cap stocks that I created as a benchmark for MAFL
- The final downloadable versions of performance files for 2009