For fans of dramatic finishes both Saturday and Sunday provided a match to savour. Richmond beat the Swans after the siren and Carlton kicked ahead of Port with 2 minutes left on the clock and managed to hold them off for a fourth win in a row.
Both the Tigers and the Blues were underdogs in their respective games so we would expect them to gain FFSS ratings points by causing upsets. While they do both climb the rankings, FFSS rewards comprehensive wins much greater than close, "pipped-at-the-post" type wins. The stars had to align for Richmond to transition the ball out of defence into a tough 50m shot and then goal in the last thirty seconds. On the balance of probability, if they were in that position again we wouldn't expect them to win.1
The big climbers this week were Collingwood and Geelong. Which means the big sliders of the week were Brisbane and Adelaide.2
In Brisbane's case an awful showing at home against a poorly ranked interstate side saw them shed 54 FFSS pts. The final margin of 78 pts was if anything flattering. Collingwood's poor converting saw them fail to blow past the 100pt margin barrier despite creating enough quality chances to win the game 61-167.3
The final margin in Adelaide was not quiet as dramatic, in fact the Crows got within 1 pt and missed a shot from dead in front late in the 4th quarter. The reason Adelaide have given up 39 FFSS pts to the Cats this week is due primarily to being so comprehensively outplayed at home by an interstate team. The Cats created chances that on another night would have seen the final score read more like 65-121. Adelaide were lucky to be in it at all and hence FFSS reduces their rating which sees the Crows slip away a bit from the top-8 teams.
Before I go, one more interesting thought to note. Both Adelaide and Brisbane have started the season with some of the hardest games around. Brisbane have played the highest quality teams so far whereas Adelaide have gone into at least 7 out of their 8 games this year thinking that they were in for a genuine top-8 battle.4
Could we be seeing signs of exhaustion already?
- A small update to the rating system is planned for sometime this week that will value closer wins slightly more. Ratings will then be recalculated from the start of the season. But don't expect too much to change.
- This is because FFSS is a "closed" system. For a team to gain ratings points. Another team must lose an equivalent amount.
- This scoreline is calculated by looking at the chances each team created throughout the match and assuming they both convert each of them at the competition average. It takes into account the position on the ground and the type of shot (set-shot or from open play).
- Richmond and Port didn't really show up early on in the year, but the Crows would not have known that in their preparations.