Every so often over the course of a season, it gets to the point where I have a bunch of stats and trends which don’t fit into a piece.
They’re of varying importance and influence, but I still don’t want them to be lost in a spreadsheet forever.
Solution: A bonus edition of the Notebook where I can share them with everyone.
Enjoy the following stats and trends, covering expected score, quarter by quarter performance, contested and uncontested possession, scores for and against per inside 50, and individual player minutes.
The Shinboner Patreon continues to run until October 31 this year. The top $10 tier earns you early access to pieces like this: extra AFL pieces which aren’t the Notebook.
Overall there are four different tiers. It starts at $2.50 per month and goes up to the aforementioned $10 per month for all the benefits. A huge thank you to everyone who’s signed up.
The biggest differential games
Expected score has been in the mainstream news recently, with some misinterpretation over how to use it.
Although the stat shouldn’t be seen as a catch-all stat for every situation, it is a useful tool to understand the quality of scoring shots a team generates, and how effective they are at converting.
When there’s a game with one team kicking well and the other struggling, you see some wild swings between expected score and actual score.
Here are the 10 biggest single-game discrepancies so far in 2022:
|Expected/Actual Score Differential||Game||Expected Score||Actual Score|
|48 points||R4: Pies v Eagles||Pies 95-60 Eagles||Pies 74-87 Eagles|
|45 points||R2: Power v Hawks||Power 75-94 Hawks||Power 56-120 Hawks|
|39 points||R19: North v Hawks||North 83-90 Hawks||North 75-121 Hawks|
|38 points||R6: Suns v Lions||Suns 83-97 Lions||Suns 80-132 Lions|
|36 points||R1: Eagles v Suns||Eagles 59-122 Suns||Eagles 80-107 Suns|
|36 points||R2: Swans v Cats||Swans 80-86 Cats||Swans 107-77 Cats|
|36 points||R4: Tigers v Bulldogs||Tigers 80-78 Bulldogs||Tigers 99-61 Bulldogs|
|35 points||R16: Blues v Saints||Blues 99-78 Saints||Blues 79-93 Saints|
|35 points||R15: North v Crows||North 80-102 Crows||North 58-115 Crows|
|35 points||R18: North v Tigers||North 74-105 Tigers||North 92-88 Tigers|
Brisbane kicking the lights out
At 165 points more than their expected score, Brisbane are more than double the next best (West Coast, +80).
The Lions have had six games where they’ve over performed their expected score by three goals or more.
No other team has more than four.
Over the last three weeks, Richmond have been a whopping -55 points compared to their expected score. It’s nearly four goals worse than 17th (Essendon, -32).
It doesn’t feel like a coincidence that’s happened while Tom Lynch has only played a handful of minutes. There’s an intangible somewhere in there which smarter people can connect the dots with.
Essendon’s opposition levelling out
Although Essendon are ranked 16th for expected score against, conceding 106 points more than the norm, most of that came in a rush to start the year.
From Round 8 onwards, opponents have converted at nearly a normal rate. Essendon’s expected score against in that time is only -10.
Gold Coast v the Brisbane juggernaut
The Suns must be sick of Brisbane kicking the lights out.
On expected score, their two meetings this year had a combined margin of 15 points.
Thanks to Brisbane going supernova, the actual combined margin: 72 points.
Quarter By Quarter
Carlton’s third quarters
Early in the season, large parts of the focus on Carlton centred on their third quarters. And with good reason too, as they coughed up lead after lead.
Since then, things have drastically turned:
|Carlton’s third quarters||Win-Loss||Differential|
Sydney’s second half dominance
Not enough is being made of how dominant Sydney are after the main break.
They’ve won 28 of 36 quarters after half time. Of the eight losses, only four have been by more than two goals (admittedly, two of those four directly led to defeat v Port Adelaide and Essendon).
It speaks to a team whose system and setups eventually overwhelm teams more often than not. And a harbinger of what’s to come in 2023 with another year of maturity into a young squad.
For those who have missed any posts or podcast appearances over the last week, here’s where to catch up:
Monday 25th: Round 19’s Notebook: Dissecting *that* Collingwood kick-in
Sunday 24th: North’s Round 19 Review
Friday 22nd: What To Watch For: Round 19
Tuesday 19th: The Hashtag Kangaroos Podcast
Monday 18th: Round 18’s Notebook: Possession games, stoppage defence, and quick hits
Since returning from their bye, Essendon have turned their contested game around.
The difference is drastic:
|Essendon’s contested ball||Differential||AFL rank|
It’s come with Darcy Parish missing four of the last seven games, and exiting early in another. The two issues feel linked.
To stress, this isn’t a Parish issue per se. In the big picture, it looks as if one less pure ball winner, replaced by more of a two-way/balanced output has allowed for more clarity in roles and Dons playing to their strengths.
Which prompts the question of how Essendon structure their midfield rotations in 2023 and beyond.
Gold Coast’s style anomaly
Gold Coast are 17th for uncontested possession differential. Well worse than West Coast, and almost below North Melbourne.
|2022||Uncontested Differential||AFL rank|
The fun part is it’s largely by design as well, eschewing outside ball in favour of a direct as direct can be style.
As an example of how committed the Suns are to playing this way, even when they beat Adelaide by 43 points in Round 14 it was with 89 fewer uncontested possessions.
It’ll be fascinating to see how it’s tweaked in 2023 with the return of Ben King.
Port Adelaide holding onto possession
The Power have really ramped up their willingness to hold onto possession since their bye.
In their seven games, the uncontested possession differential has read as such:
Sometimes it’s still possession for possession sake rather than impacting, but overall it’s a much better balance than earlier in the year. Unfortunately it’s come too late to salvage their season.
If you’ve missed it, new features continue to be added to the Patreon-exclusive pages. A reminder:
– For those on the $7.50 Patreon tier (or above), there’s exclusive access to the Stat Suite page, with rolling monthly stat rankings updated weekly
– For those on the $10 Patreon tier, they have access to everything on the website, including the List Management suite. The club comparisons for minutes played have recently made their way there
Scores Per Inside 50
Geelong in Geelong
File this under ‘thing which I’m unsure means much yet, but still interests me anyway’.
Geelong’s scoring efficiency from inside 50s skyrockets away from GMHBA Stadium:
|Geelong, 2022||Scores Per Inside 50 %|
|At GMHBA Stadium||43.01%|
|Not at GMHBA Stadium||48.86%|
GWS’s inability to score
The new coach bounce was temporary for the Giants. Their ability to score has fallen off a cliff since the four-match increase:
|GWS under McVeigh||Scores Per Inside 50%|
Scores Conceded Per Inside 50
Carlton & Collingwood’s improvement
It takes time for a team to bed down the playing style asked by a first-year coaching group.
Carlton and Collingwood’s defensive improvement over the last couple of months is a direct indicator of progress made:
|Scores Conceded Per Inside 50 %||Round 1-12||AFL rank||Round 13-19||AFL rank|
Gold Coast fading away
When there’s a young side and players tasked with major responsibilities for the first time, a trend is to see a defensive drop off in the back end of a campaign.
That’s what has happened with Gold Coast in recent weeks, a combination of heavy workloads and key injuries contributing:
|Gold Coast, 2022||Scores Conceded Per Inside 50 %||AFL rank|
It shouldn’t take away from the significant strides the Suns have made this season.
A largely inconsequential stat I enjoy tracking is how many consecutive games players spend on field without a breather.
Given the need to maintain structure, it tends to be the domain of key position players. But if you look at the top five streaks this year, one man stands out:
|Player||Consecutive matches with 100% game time|
Each team’s leading minute man
Naturally this stat favours players who have played all 18 games.
Nevertheless, here’s every team’s leading minute man for 2022 to date:
|Team||Player||On field for % of team’s total minutes|
|Gold Coast||Sam Collins||98%|
|North Melbourne||Luke McDonald||88.1%|
|Port Adelaide||Tom Jonas||88.6%|
|St Kilda||Callum Wilkie||98.6%|
|West Coast||Jack Darling||90%|
|Western Bulldogs||Ryan Gardner||97.4%|
Fun fact: If you take out the game Langdon missed, and the one he was substituted out early, he’s been on field for 99.6 percent of Melbourne’s minutes this year.