AFL Phantom Draft Accuracy

First and foremost, I’m at work so please excuse any incoherent structure or spelling errors. When boredom and mundane office duty strikes inaccuracy becomes my forte. Anywho…

Each year the AFL draft period brings about numerous phantom drafts. Some are independent, some mass media, and some more accurate than others.

The major roadblock when attempting to obtain information on an AFL draft class is the sheer lack of contributors and sources at ones disposal. A quick search of “Phantom AFL Draft” or “AFL Draft” on Google will turn over a limited number of results and given the heavyweights in the business (mass media) don’t post their finished products prior to the morning of the draft, getting a grasp on which prospects will land where can be quite troublesome.

The AFL doesn’t make the task any easier; there’s no television coverage of underage competition, no rolling analysis throughout the season and there’s zero statistical databases available. Unless you’re prepared to invest your weekends and wallet following the best junior talent in the country week to week its borderline impossible for the average Joe to form a highly accurate opinion on the latest crop of draftee hopefuls.

These hurdles may stand in the way but that hasn’t stopped a few pundits putting their foot forward and offering their thoughts on what to expect come draft day. Footy Trafic’s Kristian Pisano and Paige Cardona at Bound For Glory news are two of those individuals and both should be applauded for their efforts, especially considering their phantom drafts were much more detailed (specifically Kristian who provided in-depth statistics) and published a week prior to the headline acts at The Age and Herald Sun.

So how did the most popular Phantom Draft’s perform in regards to pick accuracy? I decided to compare predictions against what actually happened via a weighting system that subtracted a point for each spot that a pick was incorrectly listed. For example if you predicted a player to be picked 5th overall and they were chosen 8th, you lose 3 points.

Each individual also received a bump based on the date of publication. Kristian posted his phantom draft on Footy Tragic six days ago so he received extra credit, as did the Bound for Glory phantom draft. Emma Quayle and the Herald Sun posted their phantom draft the day of the draft, thus were not awarded any weighting.

The goal of a phantom draft is accuracy of information and just like the value of an “exclusive”, first in best dressed should be rewarded.

Only the top 20 picks were analysed and each party started at 100 points. If a player was not listed inside the top 30 picks (as was the case with Jackson Thurlow in 4-of-5 phantom drafts) the phantom draft received an automatic deduction of 5 points.

It’s no surprise that Emma Quayle again led the charge and continued to ride one of the finest off-season waves in the history of AFL journalism. When measuring the top 20 pick predictions of each phantom draft Quayle was twice as accurate as the Herald Sun despite both phantom drafts being published on the same day.

Feel free to raise the victory flag over at The Age yet again.

Ok, enough chit chat. The results based on this idiot’s points system are as follows;

The Age The Herald Sun AFL.com.au Footy Tragic

Bound for Glory

80 53 54 51 37

There’s a clear disparity with The Age far away the most supreme in terms of accuracy, the Herald Sun, AFL.com.au and Footy Tragic battling it out for second spot and Bound For Glory news bringing up the rear. Does this mean we should only focus on The Age and completely disregard the product from Bound for Glory? Definitely not. Footy Tragic and Bound for Glory brought you the information first and provided the most detailed analysis.

Pick accuracy is merely one aspect of the Phantom Draft and it becomes infinitely harder without any late mail. Who knows how different these results would be if the other three major media outlets posted their predictions a week earlier or released rolling volumes of their phantom draft as we made our way up to the big day?

All parties should be applauded for leading the charge and providing such information in a landscape that is so starved of analysis and regular attention.

If not for the fine folk mentioned in this article the average AFL fan would struggle to name five prospects in this year’s draft. The AFL Draft requires more exposure from top to bottom and all year round. The current structure limits a fan’s ability to obtain information, to learn, and in the process provides draft hopefuls a disservice.

When the 2012 Australian sporting fan can access more content, and view more live and archived footage of NBA and NFL draft prospects competing in the Colonial Athletic Association conference your product has problems.

This isn’t 1995. Any restrictions on exposure are a product of falling behind.

In a World spoiled for choice and an era saturated in information the AFL draft is one of the few remaining sporting events stuck in the past.

Without Phantom drafts and crappy three minute YouTube clips we’d all be in the dark.

It’s a damn shame.

You can follow Scott on Twitter: @ScottyBarby

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Posted on November 22, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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