DRIVING THEM BATTY
R2: Seniors rumble over Red Coats
STATCHAT is brought to you by the East Malvern Community Bank.
VAFA football runs in cycles, success and failure assisted by the two up/two down system that guarantees there will be different opponents each year.
Premier Section, of course, has no promotion, so there are just two teams in and two out.
Since 2011, just sixteen teams have played in Premier Section.
Therefore, there is a great familiarity with opposition teams. This familiarity should apply even more to opposition venues – team personnel changes from week to week and season to season, but the grounds remain the same. But does it apply?
The strengths and performance of the home team surely plays the greatest role in road trip failure (or triumph),but yet there are some patterns to be seen.
In looking at the last nine seasons, I’ve included only the home and away matchups between teams who will play in Premier Section in 2021.
Caulfield Grammarians only season in the top tier was a year without a win. So let’s leave them out of the equation for now. For the record, the Fields averaged 75.2 PF vs 118.6 PA against next season’s opponents. That’s a deficit of 43.4 points per game.
More meaningful are the records of the other nine clubs. Looking at the stats from the main home grounds of these clubs, we get the following:
(Bear in mind that the games played are far from equal, with seasons in Premier, home games against current Premier clubs and occasional games at school or other grounds all affecting the numbers.)
We can see that the toughest trips overall are St Kevin’s atTH King, Old Xavs at Toorak Park and St Bernard’s at the Snakepit. The most favourable Saturdays away from home would appear to be OMs at Elsternwick, Old Brighton at Beach Road and Old Trinity at Daley.
But hang on a minute. This is by no means as simple as that,because some teams are more powerful road warriors than others, though there are plenty of Achilles heels.
Only two little words keep every Hammer in England up all night... "United away" - Pete Dunham, Green Street Hooligans
Again, we are looking at the nine Premier clubs and their records against each other. Sorry Caulfield, we’ll include you in our next review.
This table reveals a few surprises. Old Brighton tops the table on road win percentage, which is better than their performance at home. Collegians and Old Xaverians also have saluted more than half the time, with the latter having a slight PPG advantage. St Bernard’s, third best winning percentage at home, drops to ninth in that same category when on the road.
This table reveals the road ‘paradises’ and ‘graveyards’ for the 9 teams over the period.
From this we see that 3 teams have had some decent success at the Daley and three more at Uni Oval. Yet Old Xavs, one of the stronger road teams, are 3-5 between the trees and 3-4 under the spires.
St Kevin’s don’t seem to have lit up Uni Oval either, but they have been pretty solid at the Daley.
Collegians seem to relish the Parkville picket fence but don’t travel too smoothly on Orrong Road.
The Purples have dominated the Daley but haven’t been too happy at home against the X Men.
The VAFA’s Premier Section might be the nation’s most competitive. The average margin of ALL games played in the seasons 2011-2019 was about 30 points, which is about a goal less than the average margin in the AFL over the same period.
In an amateur comp where study,overseas travel (for those who have forgotten, that means getting on a boat ora plane with your passport in your pocket and a suitcase in hand), work and injury can change the power levels at a club each week, there’s no guarantee that past performance means much, if anything.
I wouldn’t be backing a team because ‘the boys always win here against that mob’, but in looking back after the season, it might surprise you to see how often the boys did exactly that.
As we’ve mentioned, Caulfield Grammarians has been excluded from this nine-year analysis. The war drums are telling that the Fields will be a competitive outfit in 2021, so we’d be expecting to feature their stats in next year’s tables.