While our fight for the top 8 is basically over, there remains some important games this weekend. Our top 4 is certainly not set, with only 1 win separating 1st from 7th. As such, our match importance rating has thrown up some big games this week - largely because teams chances of various finishing positions fall close to 100% or 0% based on a win or a loss, obviously dependant on other results. I’ll summarise some key match-ups below.
Adelaide v West Coast, Fri 7:40pm, Adelaide Oval. Match Importance Rating: 108.6
The Crows have been teetering near the top of our ratings for a while. This week they have an opportunity to basically lock up a home final. A win sees them finish in the top 2 in 93% of simulations, a loss and that drops to just 12%. The Eagles have climbed to the chase pack in the ELO ratings this week, however will have a tough time getting into the top 4. A win for them gives them a 16% of finishing top 4 - this would essentially require all of Geelong, Hawthorn and GWS losing, and WCE making up significant percentage on those teams[ref]it should be noted that my simulations take into account ‘average margin’ rather than ‘percentage’[/ref]. Our model thinks the Crows are too strong, particularly with the home ground advantage. **Adelaide (62% chance) by 20 points. **
Geelong v Melbourne, Sat 1:45pm, Skilled Stadium. Match Importance Rating: 58
This could have been a fascinating game for the Dee’s but they blew their chance with an upset loss to Cartlon loss week. Nonetheless, it does have pretty big implications for Geelong. A win obviously guarantees top 4 and gives them a 57% chance of hosting a home final. A loss and their top 4 chances drop to 55%, with GWS the most likely to overtake them given their superior percentage. Melbourne, despite being rated above average for the first time in forever, should struggle here. **Geelong (67% chance) by 28 points. **
Sydney v Richmond, Sat 4:35pm, SCG. Match Importance Rating: 94.8 While the Tigers can’t make finals this year, Sydney again needs to win to lock up top 4 and a home final. Win, and they are essentially guaranteed of both. Lose, and they still make top 4 in 75% of simulations but their home final chances plummets to below 5%. They should be able to get this done comfortable but there is a lot riding on it. **Sydney (80% chance) by 55 points. **
North Melbourne v GWS, Sat 7:25pm, Etihad Stadium. Match Importance Rating: 82 North essentially can’t move out of 8th spot, barring some sort of record breaking weekend. Ironically they may be tempted to rest players in the final round again, after forcing the AFL to bring in a rule to prevent that! For GWS - they need to win to have any chance of jumping into the top 4 and rely on other teams losing. We do see this happen in 81% of simulations. First though, they need to win a game in which our model is having a tough time separating the two. **GWS (62% chance) by 6 points. **
Hawthorn v Collingwood, Sun 3:20pm, MCG. Match Importance Rating: 93 After seemingly cruising to top spot on the AFL ladder 4 weeks ago, a drop in form has seen the Hawks clinging to the top 4. The equation for them is simple - knock of a relatively poor Collingwood side and they get the double chance. Lose, and they only have a 6% chance of staying up. If they do manage to win, we also give them a not insignificant (27%) chance of clinching a home final. While their form is worrying, they should be too strong. **Hawthorn (67% chance) by 28 points. **