FACT: Since 1998, the team who were in 9th place after the completion of either Round 5 or 6 has made the finals on 16 occasions, which is 84.2 per cent of the time.
The completion of Round 4 gives us a more reasonable gauge on where teams are at for the season. Still, the unpredictability of 2017 will remain, so irrational statements are something we must all be weary of.
With the exception of a few results this season, many games have been played against what history would’ve suggested, so let that be the reasoning behind, potentially, some of my future ‘out there’ predictions.
The Sydney struggle, the Bulldogs defeat and the early rise of Melbourne were results that could’ve been – and were – predicted from afar, but it’s safe to say no one is killing it in their respective footy tipping competitions.
We now find ourselves in a very interesting position where the next two rounds could potentially define each sides’ fate for the rest of the season, and this is what history says will happen:
Hawks could be back on track
It’s two weeks in a row now that Hawthorn, a team we once all envied, have been on the receiving end of an 86-point smashing, which is the third biggest loss in consecutive weeks by the same margin in VFL/AFL history. It’s always hard to even imagine a team at the bottom of the ladder with a percentage of 55 beating a top-eight side, but Alastair Clarkson knows how to pull a significant string from his bow. Hawthorn play West Coast at the MCG on Sunday, and every man and his dog knows it’s a ground the Eagles do not fancy. The Eagles have played 22 matches at the MCG since 2008 and their win-loss record is 5-17. This includes a loss to the Tigers in Round 3 this season. It’s big ask for the Hawks and they won’t go in as favourites, but history is on their side.
Freo will continue winning streak
Teams who are seen to be playing with all the momentum like they have nothing to lose (at any given time) are the ones usually in the best position to win a game of footy. This ruthlessness can sometimes resonate with the stronger teams at the top or sometimes – as we’ve seen in 2017 – with teams who are winless and have their backs against the wall. But in saying that, and forgive me if I’m wrong, the Dockers are in too good a vein of form to lose at Domain Stadium against a side who have only won at Subiaco 25 per cent of the time (six out of 24) since 2002. It’s a long way back for the Roos if they go 0-5.
The Lions will prove anyone can beat anyone
It’s becoming repetitive now that people are saying anyone can beat anyone, but how true is this? Port Adelaide have won just five of their past 16 matches played at the Gabba. If you exclude their victory in 2016, the last time they won at the ground was in 2007. That’s possibly two wins in five matches for the so called ‘wooden spooners’. They may have a 1-3 record but the Lions have played some good footy and going into a game thinking it will be a blowout is the worst possible scenario for the Power. I can’t stress this enough about the era of footy we are currently in, and with five wins over the Dogs from their last eight match-ups, the Lions are going to give themselves every chance this week.
Deceitful Pies continue to tease
There have been 11 ANZAC Day clashes since 2006 and Collingwood have won nine of them. You could look at this particular fixture in a couple of ways, from the eyes of a Collingwood fan or through the eyes of a loyal Bomber. For the latter, this is their grand final; this is the one game of the season, like Round 1, where they’ll want to prove something. While that can be accepted, remember we are in an ambiguous 2017. The Pies have shown that they will bounce back after extremely lackluster performances this season, so expect nothing less. Collingwood haven’t been able to produce back-to-back quality performances very often in Buckley’s tenure, but a clash against the Cats (whom they have a pleasing record against) in Round 6 means this fortnight is their best opportunity.
We were too quick to write off the Suns
History is made to be broken, which was exactly the case for the Gold Coast Suns in Round 3 when they upset (well at least we thought it was an upset at the time) the Hawks at Metricon Stadium. It was the first time in the club’s short history that they defeated the Hawks, and there’s only three other teams they have not yet conquered, one of them being their Round 5 opponent – Adelaide. They have an average losing margin of 55.4 against the Crows but that similar average is something they overcame in Round 3.