The Good, The Bad And The Ugly Of The AFL’s Remaining Strength Of Schedule

We all know how this works. Six rounds is either sufficient evidence to have developed a reasonable concept of who’s good (cough cough Melbourne) and who’s living la vida awful. 

For others, six rounds still won’t satisfy, with skeptics refusing to shed their ‘yeah but who have they actually played’ hoodie blankets. 

Thankfully this is where the number crunchers at Stats Insider enter from stage left. They’ve simulated the season 10,000 times, projections which have indeed made particular use of their remaining strength of schedule model.

And speaking of the fixture, let’s have a look at the remaining 16 rounds of footy to gain a little more clarity upon what we’ve seen, but more importantly, what’s still in store. 

Punters- At TopSport, the Demons are paying $2.80 to win a second-straight flag. 

The Good

Another year, another season where Geelong are on course to finish towards the top of the ladder. Their 4-2 start to 2022 has them pegged as a 53.4% chance of a fourth-straight top-4 finish, a figure helped along by having the league's 4th easiest remaining fixture. From here, 12 of Geelong’s last 16 games will be staged in Victoria with 8 of those 12 contests within the friendly confines of Kardinia Park. St Kilda is the only current top-8 team on their docket who they’ll have multiple future assignments against. 

Richmond are in constant ‘don’t forget about us’ mode, and that’s a claim that’ll be re-enforced by the possible return of Dustin Martin as well as possessing the league's most gentle remaining schedule. The Tigers have multiple games against both Essendon and West Coast while 12 of their remaining 16 games will be in Victoria, 11 of which are at the MCG. 

Adelaide have been one of the early-season surprise packets, knocking over the Dogs in Ballarat on Saturday to jump out to a 3-3 start. Our numbers have assessed them as having a 32.8% chance of playing finals for the first time in 5 years, a projection strengthened by boasting the AFL’s second easiest remaining schedule and that’ll see them have multiple games against both North Melbourne and West Coast.

Punters- At TopSport, Geelong are paying $4.6 to play in their 10th Grand Final in 33 years. 

The Bad

Fremantle have stormed out of the gates in 2022 and sit 2nd on the ladder courtesy of their 5-1 start. That said, only one of Fremantle’s victims (Carlton) is a team currently located in the top-8 while they’ve still got multiple games against Melbourne on their horizon as well as remaining clashes against Brisbane, Sydney and St Kilda. In addition, they've also got Victorian clashes against both Richmond and the Doggies. 

If you thought West Coast’s season was gruesome enough, it gets worse owing to how arduous their remaining fixture is. For starters their next five games are against Richmond, Brisbane, Melbourne, GWS and the Dogs while just 1 of their last 7 games is scheduled against a team who currently has a losing a record. Avoiding a second wooden spoon in club history is going to be a mighty hard task in 2022. 

The Western Bulldogs have been one of the major disappointments of 2022 so far, backing up their grand final beat-down with a meek 2-4 start, with 3 of those losses against teams who didn’t even make finals in 2021. And the news gets even worse owing to a brutal remaining strength of schedule. Incredibly, 8 of the club’s remaining 16 games will take place outside of Melbourne while they still have multiple games against Geelong in their horoscope. They’ve also got a round 19 clash against their tormentors when they’ll once again face the all-conquering Melbourne at the Docklands. 

Punters- At TopSport, you can get $2.14 about the Dogs missing finals in 2022.

The Ugly

St Kilda’s 5-game winning streak is understandably the talk of the town, as too is the fact they've so far packed both a top-4 attack and top-4 defence. Having said that, Fremantle is the only team they’ve beaten who currently occupy a top-8 spot. 

While their scorching start has afforded them a 74.5% chance of playing finals in 2022, it’s worth remembering that from here the club has to endure what's easily the league's most torturous remaining fixture. The Saints have still got multiple games against both Brisbane and Sydney while two of their next three are against Geelong and Melbourne. The also close out the season with a harsh three-game stretch against Geelong, Brisbane and Sydney.

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James Rosewarne

James is a writer and Managing Editor at Stats Insider. He likes fiction and music. He is a stingray attack survivor. He lives in Wollongong.

Email- james@thehypometer.com for story ideas or opportunities.

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