What History Says: Rounds 3-4

The first two rounds of the AFL season have been eye-opening and startling, but was it really anything unforeseen? We’ve had blow-outs, comebacks, contentious umpiring decisions and nail-biting finishes – everything a footy fan wants to witness…but in some ways doesn’t.

There is, interestingly, one piece of history that is guaranteed to be made this weekend; and its this. in 213 matches between Geelong and Melbourne, Saturday will be the first time they will have matched up against each other at the Docklands.

Fittingly, some of the unanticipated results so far proves that anything can happen in today’s modern game, and with further research into the results of the past, lets take a look at what history says is in store for rounds 3 and 4 of the 2017 AFL Season.

The 2017 Swans could be the 2016 Dockers

In 14 of the last 18 years, the Swans have lost at least a Round 3 or 4 match. They did, however, make the finals in nine of those 14 seasons. They’re currently 0-2, and the fact is, just five of the 60 teams (8.3 per cent) who have begun the season at 0-3 have made the finals that same year since the ending of the McIntyre final eight system in 1999. History is against them at this stage, despite pure human logic thinking they’ll somehow be up there at the pointy end based on natural talent. They play the underwhelming Pies on Friday night which they should win, albeit their record against Collingwood hasn’t been great in the past. They then travel to Domain stadium to take on a red hot West Coast Eagles outfit. That doesn’t look good given no team has ever made the finals starting the season 0-4. Sydney V Collingwood is literally season defining…for both clubs.

Underestimate the Crows at your own peril

For the moment, history says that certain teams are looking forward to promising seasons, and Adelaide are one of them. Since 2002, every time the Crows haven’t been in the top 8 after Round 3, they’ve missed the finals. This is a good omen for them given people thought they’d miss the finals this season. They are currently sitting at 2-0 and look comfortable from here, especially with the famous ‘showdown’ next week against cross town rivals Port Adelaide. The Crows have won this fixture on four of the last five occasions, including the last three.

Carlton’s blues will continue

There was no doubting that at the beginning of the year Carlton were going to be playing to avoid the wooden spoon. The current favourites to take that mantle, any slight hope they had of making finals this season will cease to exist beyond Round 3 after they lose to the Bombers for the seventh time in eight outings since 2012. Just to add to the disappointment for Carlton fans, they have only actually won a Round 3 game once since 2007. That’s a single Round 3 win in 10 years.

Dogs will find themselves back in the pack

The Western Bulldogs’ last win against Fremantle at Subiaco was in 2009. They have also only won two of the last seven games against North Melbourne. Who are their Round 3 and 4 opponents? Fremantle at Subiaco and North Melbourne, of course. Remember, these are two sides the Dogs lost to last season. The reigning premier has also failed to win a Round 3 match in four of the last five seasons.

Robbie Gray the Brownlow bolter

Coming off a performance which consisted of 30 disposals and six straight goals against the Dockers in Round 2, it’s safe to say Robbie Gray should feature prominently early on at the AFL’s most prestigious night. Despite his side not coming away with the win regularly against their Round 3 opponent (Adelaide), Gray has consistently been one of the better performers on these nights. In the last four showdowns, the 29-year-old has averaged 29.8 disposals, 1.9 goals from 2.8 scoring shots and four tackles.

The lids are back on at Tigerland

Consecutive wins against two arch rivals to start the season? There’s not much else you could have asked for from Richmond in the opening fortnight of the season. Tipped once again to be one of the teams sitting in the middle of the pack come season’s end, the Tigers need to make the most of every opportunity, but it’s going to be problematic. Richmond have only beaten the West Coast Eagles at the MCG once since 2002, and their last five losses to the Eagles have been by an average of 47 points, including a 68-point drubbing last season. But they’ll just bounce back against Brisbane, right? Well if only the timing was a little more lenient. The Tigers have only won one Round 4 game in 10 seasons.

Melbourne continue to crush their inner demons

We saw it in Round 1 that 2017 really means something to the Demons. They have ended a long-lasting hoodoo against the Saints; then they defeated Carlton – a side they had only previously beaten once in the last 10 encounters – and now they face the Cats and Dockers in rounds three and four respectively. Melbourne have only beaten Fremantle once in six years, and Geelong once in 11 years. Now usually history will suggest the Dees will struggle with these meetings, but cast your mind back to the first ‘What History Says’ piece where I outlined that Melbourne should overcome its hoodoo. With proof, this revitalised club – based on its first two results in 2017 – is an exception. 4-0 here they come.

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