The umpires have been the centre of attention more than ever so far in 2017. Whether it be deliberate out of bounds, the rushed behind rule or holding the ball, the pressure is on the AFL’s whistleblowers after a controversial few weeks.
There is no logical reason that free kick counts should be even at the end of the game, yet these are often used by fans (and media) as an excuse why their team failed to perform.
What free kick counts do tell us is how good a team is at staying within the rules of the game. A good example is that Richmond fans might feel they get dudded in the free kicks and the reality is they are conceding nearly 25 free kicks a game. But such a high number surely has more to do with the way they play the game than any supposed bias.
What we’ve done thanks to AFL Tables, is broken the free kick counts down to the winners and losers from each game and come up with a ladder of who the best teams are when it comes to getting free kicks.
After seven rounds, it is Collingwood who is doing best on the ‘free kick’ ladder. The Pies may only have won the fourth least amount of frees for the season, but they have won a remarkable five of seven free kick counts. They have also had a draw free kick which by a traditional AFL ladder gives them 22 points and top spot ahead of Carlton (20 pts) and Western Bulldogs (18pts). The percentage is worked out by the ratio of frees won to frees conceded.
Brisbane have won the most free kicks of any team in 2017 so far, (152) but have only won four of their seven free kick counts.
As for Richmond, well they have won just one free kick count for the year, the win over Melbourne in Round 5 and they languish at the bottom of the table.
2017 AFL Free Kick Ladder
|Greater Western Sydney||7||2||5||0||8||124||157||78.98%|