Sunday, 7 August 2011

A Statistical Insight (2008)

With the finals of the 2008 Premiership drawing nearer, I have taken some time to analyse results from the games history in an attempt to determine who will claim Premiership glory this year.

Of the 88 times that finals matches have been played to declare a winner, the Premier had been defeated by the runner-up prior to the final in that season on 67 occasions. More amazing is the fact that this has happened 39 times in the last 44 years alone.

The last Premiers to achieve the feat of not being beaten by their runner-up was Brisbane in 1998, when they beat Canterbury 20-12 and 40-12 in regular season matches, then 38-12 in the Grand Final.

Eighth place has won a finals match ever, rendering eighth spot a death knell and completely useless.

Seventh placed teams have rarely seen the Preliminary Finals. Two appearances, in 2000 and 2004 are all they have, meaning that it too is a pointless finals addition.

The last time the sixth placed team made it to the Grand Final was in 1999. Since then, sixth has been in the Preliminary finals twice, in 2003 and 2006, thus it too is unlikely of premiership glory.

The fifth placed team has had one grand final appearance, in 2005. Aside from that, fifth has seen 3 Preliminary Finals series. Their appearance in 2007 was the first since 2002.

Now we move onto the top four sides. No team lower than fourth on the premiership ladder has won a Grand Final since the Bulldogs in 1995, when they won from sixth.

Fourth has claimed two premierships, in 2005 and 2002. Fourth also has not lost a grand final since 1998. However fourth hasn’t been in preliminary finals football since that victory in 2005.

Third and second have both participated in 7 of the last 10 preliminary finals series’. Third has claimed three Premierships while second only have one premiership and three runners-up tags.

Second has been in the last five preliminary finals series’, claiming a premiership and two runners-up prizes in that time.

First have had four premierships, four runners-up and two preliminary round losses. They have made it to the final four every time over the last 10 years. First has beaten second three times in premiership deciders, and lost just once in the last 10 years, making them very likely opponents in this years Grand Final.

Let’s see if we can predict the outcome for this years decider.

At present, the top four teams are Manly, Melbourne, Cronulla and the Roosters.

Cronulla have beaten Manly and Melbourne already this year and are yet to play the Roosters, meaning that they will more than likely expect a loss on Grand Final day against these two. However, fourth has won four grand finals and lost none since 1991.

Manly have lost to both Melbourne and Cronulla; however they have beaten the Roosters, leaving them in good stead for Premiership glory. The runner-up has claimed premiership glory the following season just 8 times since 1938. However, Melbourne did it just last year after losing the decider in 2006 to Brisbane.

If Manly remain at first though, they will have a strong chance of overcoming the Storm statistically speaking, but will struggle against a third placed side, as first has lost two deciders against third. First has played in 78 of the 88 deciders in the games history, winning 55.

The Roosters have beaten Melbourne, lost to Manly and are yet to play the Sharks. Fourth haven’t been beaten in a decider by first since 1991, so the Roosters stand a chance if they play Manly in the Grand Final. If they play someone else, they will most likely lose.

Melbourne have lost to Cronulla and Roosters but beaten Manly. If they were to advance to the Grand Final they will have statistics and history on their side to beat the Sharks and the Roosters, but not Manly. Second has won just 17 of 47 appearances in premiership deciders.

So to make it simpler – here is how the Grand Finals will end up for the top 4 teams, based on statistics and history.

Manly v Melbourne – Manly wins
Manly v Cronulla – Cronulla wins
Manly v Roosters – Roosters win
Melbourne v Cronulla – Melbourne wins
Melbourne v Roosters – Melbourne win
Cronulla v Roosters – Cronulla win

Or it may go the other way…

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