StatChat: Decisive stanzas


StatChat: Decisive stanzas

February 3, 2021

STATCHAT is brought to you by the East Malvern Community Bank.

We all know there are no prizes for second. If you are ahead on the scoreboard at the end of the day, you get all the premiership points.

If a team is ahead on the scoreboard at every pause, it’s still only four points on offer.

But though there are no points for winning the quarter, all coaches are looking for four quarters of solid football from their team to get them the win.


Looking at all 810 games played in VAFA Premier from 2011-2019, we found:

That’s 52.46% of all games. More than half! Of course, this does not mean the winning team won all quarters, just that it held a lead at each of the breaks.

How many teams have won the game while trailing at all the quarter breaks?

Here’s the answer and it’s a bit of a surprise: more than six percent of all games!

What these two tables don’t tell us is the margin at the breaks. A big first quarter lead might mean the other team never gets its nose in front. Conversely, a team can trail narrowly through the afternoon but steal the game in the last few minutes.

So let’s look at some stats, beginning with home and away performances.

The home and away designations are not entirely accurate, as some of these fixtures were played at the once-neutral Elsternwick, with the designated home team having no advantage.

Now let’s take a closer look at the quarter-by-quarter margins.


The breakdown of margins over all 810 games is this.

And how did those games finish?

The team leading at quarter time has won nearly 64 per cent of games.

But not always. Here’s a table showing the biggest shifts in scores where one team led by four goals or more at the first break.

Bernies certainly had a day out against the reigning premier, didn’t they? Just one of nineteen teams to come back from 24 or more.


Quarter time is not the most reliable checkpoint, as wind and other contributing factors can still severely affect the game beyond.




Here are the margins:

This translated into:

So a lead at the long break meant victory in over 75 per cent of games.

Again, we look at the outriders. Which teams came back from a four-goal or more deficit to snatch the points?

Strangely, 19 teams also pulled back the half-time deficit of four goals or more.



Again, the range and occurrence of margins.

And what became of them in the last stanza?

Over 80 percent of teams ahead at the lemons went on to win. Again, there were some teams that bucked the odds to recover from that 24 points or more deficit. This time, just 11 teams managed the feat.

Hmm.Those SKOB lads seem to enjoy their last two-furlong gallop from the rear of the field, don’t they?



Finally, many football luminaries will tell you that first to 100 points wins the game.

Booting 40 in the first term qualifies for a ‘fast-start-pat-on-the-back” and gets you set for that ton.

But wait. These nine games flipped against those first quarter speedsters.

Yes, there’s always time to catch up.

But unless it’s a strange game, 80 points on the board by three quarter time should have most coaches and players feeling comfortable. Or maybe too comfortable!

Here are the 16 teams that had the 80 at the lemons and still went home disappointed.

Did you get all that? We hope so.