Monthly Archives: March 2012

Richmond v Carlton – The Aftermath

As you’re all no doubt aware, Richmond came up short against Carlton in a season opener once again. The continuing rinse and repeat result is becoming quite tiresome. Nobody likes predictability in sports, and with 8 straight wins to Carlton the majority are now firmly entrenched within that domain.

So what exactly went wrong for the Tigers last night? For those who read the preview entry on this blog, the direction of this post should be somewhat obvious. As a refresher though, let’s take a brief look inside the numbers from last night and see how they compare with each teams 2011 output.

In regards to contested football, which the numbers dictate to be one of the primary keys to defeating Carlton, Richmond’s output last night was virtually identical to 2011. Why? Who knows… Maybe Carlton just have their number, maybe assuming a marginal improvement was expecting too much, maybe Damien Hardwick believes his continual mirroring of Hawthorn’s possession football and skill dependent game-plan best suits his squad. Whatever it is, Richmond fans have earned the right to ask questions, because it isn’t working. At least not against Carlton…

Sure, Richmond came up against a potential top 4 side last night, albeit a depleted one. Regardless, showing zero improvement when it comes to winning contested football raises a concern that needs to be addressed.

With just two finals appearances in 20 years, how much patience is left?

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Welcome

Welcome

Welcome all, you’ve obviously here because like us, you are in desperate need of a sporting fix and don’t care how it comes, just as long as you can get it. Well you’re in luck, because this is a place for all like minded people whose personal lives and relationships often take a back seat and suffer because of their love for sport.

Do you find yourself lost without any sports to analyse and gamble on? Do you choose your holidays and base them around the sporting calender? Do you wake up at obscene hours of the morning to follow your US Sports teams fortunes? Do you neglect your partner or children in favour of beer fuelled debates with your mates?  Then this is the place for you. A place where all articles are either statistically backed, or they aren’t allowed. If you’re sick of reading blogs that are simple regurgitations of what you read in the paper, then pour yourself a glass of Scotch and have a read, because we almost always disagree with everything the papers put out, and will be unafraid of calling them out on a frequent basis.

There will be swearing, simply because Scotty is at his best when he does swear, so if that offends you, it’s probably best to leave now. Finally, another bit of house cleaning; if you are an ESPN lemming and simply spew out whatever rot the mainstream media throw at you, well, you know where the door is.

 

Peace and love.

Olly.

Richmond v Carlton Preview

Richmond v Carlton – Round 1: 2012

 

MCG, Thursday March 29th, 7.45pm

LAST TIME: Carlton 28.16 (184) d Richmond 12.9 (81),  MCG, Rnd 15, 2011
PAST FIVE: Carlton 5 Richmond 0

PREVIOUS MEETING POINT SPREAD: 24.5

PREVIOUS MEETING HEAD TO HEAD: Carlton: $1.25. Richmond: $4

CURRENT POINT SPREAD: 13.5
CURRENT HEAD TO HEAD:
 Carlton $1.55Richmond $2.55

2011 Carlton ATS: 14-3. Under 24.5: 7-7. Over 24.5: 7-2

2011 Richmond ATS: 11-11. Under 24.5: 9-4, Over 24.5: 1-6

TV: Channel Seven/Fox Footy (Live)
RADIO: SEN, ABC774, 3AW, Triple M

Teams:

Richmond

B: Steven Morris, Alex Rance, Dylan Grimes
HB: Bachar Houli, Jayden Post, Chris Newman
C: Brandon Ellis, Dustin Martin, Brett Deledio
HF: Trent Cotchin, Tyrone Vickery, Robin Nahas
F: Brad Miller, Jack Riewoldt, Addam Maric
Foll: Ivan Maric, Daniel Jackson, Nathan Foley
I/C: Shane Tuck, Shane Edwards, Shaun Grigg, Reece Conca
Emg: Jeromey Webberley, Jake Batchelor, Bradley Helbig

New: Ivan Maric (Adelaide), Steven Morris (Western Jets), Brandon Ellis (Calder Cannons), Addam Maric (Melbourne)

Carlton

B: Christopher Yarran, Lachlan Henderson, Bret Thornton
HB: Dennis Armfield, Paul Bower, Zach Tuohy
C: Heath Scotland, Kade Simpson, Jordan Russell
HF: Jeffrey Garlett, Jarrad Waite, Bryce Gibbs
F: Eddie Betts, Shaun Hampson, Mitch Robinson
Foll: Matthew Kreuzer, Marc Murphy, Chris Judd
I/C: Andrew Carrazzo, Kane Lucas, Jeremy Laidler, Edward Curnow
Emg: Brock McLean, Marcus Davies, Andrew Collins

 

Introduction

I have a horrible addiction. This addiction stems from an uncanny ability to only complete tasks that I myself deem worthy of doing. Apparently it runs in the family, apparently the majority of the population suffer from a similar shortfall, apparently it’s because I’m a Virgo, whatever that means. I recently set myself a goal, one which I have yet to tackle, primarily due to the above shortcomings. The goal in question was to write an AFL preview for a game of my choosing each week for the 2012 season.

I have another horrible addiction. This addiction stems from an uncanny ability to make fun of and ridicule every human being who has taken on said aforementioned task, the task of writing AFL previews. I whinge at the vanilla substance, laugh at the collective identical opinion, shake my head at the lack of depth, and then leave it at that. So this is me finally refusing to just “leave it at that”, and throwing myself to the Wolves of criticism. If you’re still reading, you’ll notice that I’m about 200 words deep and yet there is no semblance of an AFL preview of any form. Feel free to criticize this, I would, and I am.

There are four main areas which I have chosen to focus on for this particular game. Contested footy, disposal effectiveness, clearance work and games played. My primary desire was to find a reasoning as to why Richmond were 0-7 in their last seven meetings against Carlton, why those seven losses were by 20 points or more, and why three of those losses were by 80 points or more. The obvious answer is that it’s because they’re shit; but rather than accept the obvious I decided to dig a little deeper.

As we know, the AFL landscape is changing more rapidly than ever. What was relevant historically is dead-weight now. Everything from structure, to game style, to player lists is in a constant state of evolution as teams search for any advantage they can get. In fact, everything in this blog may be outdated by the time it is posted. With that in mind, I have decided to give any statistical analysis a used by date of 12 months. We need to start somewhere, and if we don’t know a team’s previous deficiencies, then how can we find areas for them to improve? By guessing? Unfortunately I do not work for the Herald Sun.

Contested Football

Firstly, let’s take a look at the relevant contested football stats per game for each side from last season:

Contested Football 2011

Richmond

Carlton

Average   Contested possessions:

136.63

150.20

Average   Disposal effectiveness:

74.3%

72.4%

Average   Clangers:

46.04

43.03

Average   Contested Marks:

10.68

12.20

Average   Clearances:

36.81

40.25

Average   Tackles:

64.72

71.33

Average   1%:

52.27

52.15

As expected, Carlton dominates in virtually every category outside of the one Percenters, which is practically equal.

With that in mind, let’s back track to Round 1, 2011 when the two sides actually met, and then Round 15 when they met again to see if we can identify any category outliers or significant changes.

Contested Football Round 1

Richmond

Carlton

Total   Contested possessions:

127

148

Disposal   effectiveness:

71.4%

70.8%

Clangers:

49

46

Contested   Marks:

12

9

Clearances:

26

49

Tackles:

57

80

1%:

54

40

 

Contested Football Round 15

Richmond

Carlton

Total   Contested possessions:

113

148

Disposal   effectiveness:

73.7%

78%

Clangers:

47

33

Contested   Marks:

9

20

Clearances:

31

53

Tackles:

49

66

1%:

39

47

The numbers clearly point out that Carlton continued their domination in these specific contested football categories, and possess a clear advantage over Richmond in clearances, tackles and winning the contested ball. The primary difference is that in both contests, Richmondwere significantly worse than their season averages. They only exceeded their average season output in one category, which again was one Percenters. So the effort is there, the execution is not. In Round 15, the results are extremely lopsided, which was indicated by the scoreboard in a 103 point massacre.

The key to Richmond, with their younger playing list, is growth – so let’s see if they improved at all at winning contested ball as the season progressed. Following is their numbers from the final four weeks of the 2011 season.

Contested Possessions last 4 Rounds

Richmond

Round 21

149

Round 22

143

Round 23

142

Round 24

152

2011 Season Average: 136.63

Average during final four Rounds: 146.5

This is much closer to the Carlton season average of 150.20, although the improvement came against the likes of Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and North Melbourne. These results are healthy, but it’s fair game to take them with a grain of salt given the competition.

The two key indicators in this analysis that are likely to impact tonight’s game are the one sided number of contested possessions in Carlton’s favour, and their domination in clearances. Both of these statistics are Carlton’s bread and butter. They finished third overall for average clearances per game in 2011, compared to Richmond’s middle of the pack tenth, and again Carlton’s fourth in contested possessions was far superior toRichmond’s pathetic fourteenth. Although we hear so much about how much stronger the Richmond midfield will be this year; I’d argue that “promising” would be a more accurate label. The Tiger midfield looks borderline elite on paper, but it has yet to reach such heights within the numbers. Thus, the development of Richmond in terms of contested football and clearances against elite competition is the key to keep an eye on Thursday evening; it should be a good indicator for their chances of success this season.

The key to a Richmond win is plenty more of this.

The backline Myth.

All I’ve been hearing this week is how screwed Carlton are without Jamison in the lineup against Richmond. The one question I have is: why? Michael Jamison hasn’t played against Richmond since 2010. He was absent for both encounters in 2011. Further to this, Richmond rank third last in marks inside 50 despite having one of the most damaging key forwards in the game. In Round 1 against Carlton last year, Richmond had nine marks inside 50, and in Round 15, twelve. Their average last season was ten, which ranked third last behind both Brisbane and the Gold Coast.

The Carlton defence gave up an average of 77 points a game in 2011, fifth best league wide. In Round 1 against Richmond they gave up 84 points, in Round 15, 81. Again, (I want to emphasise this point) both encounters without Jamison. There is a marginal drop off, but it’s not significant enough for me to recommend Carlton hitting the panic button, especially when Richmond were held below their season average of 94 points per game on both occasions.

However, I am aware it would be stupid to argue Jamison’s absence is a complete non-issue: would Carlton prefer him to be on the field? Of course. What I’m saying is that the focus shouldn’t be on Carlton’s depleted defence, but Richmond’s inability to take advantage of Jamison’s absence. That theory has already been debunked twice.

Will Carlton's depleted backline finally prove too be to fickle against the Tigers?

Tigers Ready to Pounce?

Richmond are already an elite team when it comes to ball use. Their disposal effectiveness was tied for third in 2011, only behind Hawthorn, and level with St.Kilda and Geelong. That’s as elite as company can get. We know they use the ball well, the problem is getting first use of it during a 50/50 contest.

To explain this, the one key outlier I refuse to ignore is the number of games played for each team’s 22 on the field. Specifically those teams with a high count of 50-200 game players. The issue of players being in their prime has been an accurate indicator of a team’s ability to succeed, and it is no different for these two teams.

 

2011 Games Played

Richmond

Carlton

Average   games played Round 1:

51

76.4

Average   games played Round 15:

47

85.7

As you can see, there is a significant disparity, let’s take a closer look:

2011 Games Played Breakdown Round 1:

Richmond

Carlton

Less   than 50 Games:

10

7

50-99   Games:

8

4

100-149   Games:

2

7

150   or More:

2

4

2011 Games Played Breakdown Round 15:

Richmond

Carlton

Less   than 50 Games:

11

4

50-99   Games:

7

5

100-149   Games:

2

7

150   or More:

2

5

Carlton clearly has the better balance. In Round 1 for the core chunk of 50-200 game players, Carlton win the count 15-12. In Round 15, it moves to 17-11, highlighting its correlation to winning the contested ball.

Let’s turn out attention to Round 1 this year:

 

2012 Games Played

Richmond

Carlton

Average   games played Round 1:

69.54

92.72

The difference in experience level in Round 1, 2011 was +25 games in Carlton’s favour. In Round 15 it was +38 games in Carlton’s favour. In Round 1 this year it is +23 games in Carlton’s favour. It’s still a sizable difference, but the lowest of the three totals.

2012 Games Played Breakdown Round 1:

Richmond

Carlton

Less   than 50 Games:

10

8

50-99   Games:

6

4

100-149   Games:

4

6

150   or More:

2

4

The games played breakdown shows that the Tigers have marginally beefed up their experience, doubling their number of 100-149 game players from 2011. Carlton’s breakdown remains virtually identical to their 2011 output, with a more even balance.

The Maric Mullet will need to be at it’s finest to help Richmond improve on their 33 hitouts per game, third last league wide.

Tonight when the 2012 AFL season gets underway for us legitimate diehards (I’m not counting last weekend), feel free to focus on the above key areas of note. I hope from a neutral standpoint that over the preseason Richmond have improved, but if you look at the numbers, the improvement is more likely to be marginal. In their final preseason hit out, Richmond were below average against Geelong in all of their contested stats in comparison to 2011, despite a 59 point win. They dominated the uncontested ball – against a Geelong team taking part in a training drill. This will not help against Carlton.

Regardless of the outcome, I’ll be bathing in my own saliva throughout as I watch the contested stats and clearance numbers come to fruition before my eyes. Can Richmond win the game? Definitely. Should Carlton win the game? Yes.

In summary, be patient Tiger fans. For the 20th year in a row, you’ll just have to wait one more year.

Tip: Carlton by 15 points.