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Not a patch on 2012 for consistency

Playing in patches: Round 1-9.

Playing in patches: Round 1-9.

Each AFL season throws up its new bits of jargon. ''Patchy football'' is rapidly becoming the phrase of the moment. But unlike some popular terminology you hear, this one actually has plenty of substance to it.

Look at the AFL ladder and you would expect the top teams to be those which had spent the vast bulk of game time in front. And vice versa.

That was certainly the case in 2012 when, at this stage of the season, five of the top six teams were those which had led their games the longest.

But this season is throwing the measurement askew, underlining the coaches' view that it's getting a lot harder to stay on top for four quarters, let alone from week to week.

The two most obvious examples are North Melbourne and Geelong. The Kangaroos have so far spent 68 per cent of game time in front, second only to Hawthorn, which stands well clear on top with 82 per cent.

But the difference couldn't be more stark, the Hawks riding high on top of the ladder at 8-1, while North is 13th (3-6). As we saw so dramatically last Sunday against Adelaide, when North loses control of the play, it also loses complete control of the scoreboard. Not surprisingly, the Roos rank a lowly 13th for points conceded thus far.

Geelong, meanwhile, would be the source of some envy at Arden Street. The Cats are ranked just ninth for minutes in front, at 57 per cent. They also rank only ninth for quarters won, 18 from a possible 36.

Yet Geelong's bottom line is a win-loss record of 8-1 and second on the ladder, behind Hawthorn on percentage only.

Like North Melbourne, Richmond is also paying a high price for its lapses in games. The Tigers have won one more quarter of football than Geelong this season, and having led for 64 per cent of game time, are behind only the Hawks and Roos for percentage of time spent in front.

Yet they remain 10th on the ladder. Against Collingwood, Richmond won two quarters and narrowly lost another. But in the other, game-killing, 30 minutes, it conceded eight goals while scoring just two.

Against Geelong, it trailed by five points at half-time before being outscored by 11 goals to five in the second half.

Even the model of consistency that is Sydney has been prone to patchiness this season, managing to blow a 27-point lead against Fremantle a fortnight ago to barely escape with a draw, a point not lost on Sydney assistant coach John Blakey, speaking on SEN before the Swans played Collingwood last Friday night.

''We've been playing good football, but just haven't put four quarters together,'' Blakey said.

''It's been similar for Collingwood, and you've even heard Chris Scott talking about it with Geelong. Although they've won their games, even they haven't been consistent within quarters.

''I think the game has changed a little bit again in the way the ball is moved. I guess the new rules, the ‘in the backs’ and the ‘[too] highs’ in a way keep the ball flowing. It seems that teams have opportunities and windows to score now, and you can see when they do that, they can score really quickly, so we’re adapting all the time, and hopefully we’ll get back to our best soon.”

Sydney is actually better placed now (6-2 plus a draw) than at this stage last season (6-3), yet had won more quarters last season despite leading for less time in games.

The top team after nine rounds last year, West Coast, had won 27 quarters to 2013 leader Hawthorn's 24, despite only having led for 72 per cent of game time, compared with the Hawks' 82.

And at this stage in 2012, three sides had led games for more than 70 per cent of game time. Now, there's just one.

Nothing says patchy footy more effectively than these sorts of numbers. And that in this AFL season, if you don't take your more limited opportunities, you're likely to end up regretting it a lot more too.

 

3 comments so far

  • "Patchy" will have its season, and then be replaced by another catchword. It's human nature.

    Of far greater importance is how so many journalists, professionals who see themselves as wordsmiths (well, I hope they do), brainlessly accept these examples of ugly language:

    ~ "impact", when "influence" and "effect" is far better;

    ~ the almost moronic overuse of "issue" (particularly in that ultra-moronic "addressing the issue") - leave that braindead stuff to politicians and their parasitic spinmeisters;

    ~ inability to distinguish "reticent" and "reluctant", or "flout" and "flaunt", "alternate" and "alternative" (see below), and complicity in the destruction of any distinction between "uninterested" and "disinterested";

    ~ unthinking acceptance of how politicians deceitfully & dishonestly use "reform", when at best it's just "change".

    (Don't mind the occasional use of "regular season" to save too much repetition of "home and away / H&A season". But "table" for "ladder" should be anathema. As for the odious "alternate^ strip" - yuk!!)

    Journos, ever heard of quotation marks? Ever had even the briefest of thoughts about enclosing reform in them, or using [sic], as ways of letting readers know that you are not sucked in by their BS?

    Commenter
    Leonard Colquhoun
    Date and time
    May 30, 2013, 1:55PM
    • Wow! An English lesson with my footy (sic) football

      Commenter
      the elder
      Location
      melb.
      Date and time
      May 30, 2013, 8:59PM
      • The conclusions reached in this article might be considered valid if the used they are based on were useful. The data set is not useful because each team has not played all of the other teams. Thus, with an incomplete data set, the article takes a wild leap and assumes that each team's performance ability is equal. The number of quarters won or the time spent in the lead during a game by any team is dependent not only on that team's ability but also on the strength of the opposition. Unless each team's inherent 'strength' is calculated into the equation or each team has played all the other teams, no data set can get close to providing enough information to reach the conclusions arrived at in this article.
        Measuring that a Hawthorn, say, spent four quarters ahead of a GWS, say, but won only two of those quarters and then comparing that result to a game between North and Port, say, in which North wins three quarters and is ahead until the final second when Port kicks a winning goal on siren after a sizzling comeback quarter does not make a losing North a better side than a winning Hawthorn because it has won more quarters or a losing GWS a better side than a winning Port for the same reason.
        That kind of interpretation of data only leads to more confusion but ends up highlighting why the preseason, and week-to-week, predictions of so many media 'experts' turn out to be so very wrong.

        Commenter
        echojuliet
        Location
        Melbourne
        Date and time
        May 31, 2013, 12:03PM

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        2014 Home and Away

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        CAR 87 vs PTA 120 Report Stats
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        STK 95 vs GWS 88 Stats
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        CAR 58 vs MEL 81 Report Stats
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        BRI 63 vs RIC 106 Report Stats
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        COL 93 vs NTH 58 Report Stats
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        Round 6
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        COL 83 vs ESS 60 Report Stats
        STK 79 vs BRI 82 Report Stats
        FRE 61 vs NTH 74 Report Stats
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        GCF 134 vs GWS 94 Report Stats
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        WBU 83 vs ADE 92 Report Stats
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        Round 7
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        CAR 70 vs COL 104 Report Stats
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        HAW 175 vs STK 30 Report Stats
        GWS 97 vs PTA 132 Report Stats
        ADE 67 vs MEL 70 Report Stats
        BRI 44 vs SYD 123 Stats
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        Round 8
        Fri, 09 MayTimes shown AEST
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        MEL 83 vs WBU 99 Report Stats
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        WCE 188 vs GWS 77 Report Stats
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        Round 9
        Thu, 15 MayTimes shown AEST
        ADE 76 vs COL 55 Report Stats
        Fri, 16 MayTimes shown AEST
        ESS 64 vs SYD 114 Report Stats
        Sat, 17 MayTimes shown AEST
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        NTH 125 vs BRI 38 Report Stats
        FRE 96 vs GEE 64 Report Stats
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        STK 87 vs GCF 125 Report Stats
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        Round 10
        Fri, 23 MayTimes shown AEST
        GEE 111 vs NTH 91 Report Stats
        Sat, 24 MayTimes shown AEST
        GWS 41 vs RIC 154 Report Stats
        COL 109 vs WCE 101 Report Stats
        PTA 100 vs HAW 86 Report Stats
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        GCF 119 vs WBU 74 Report Stats
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        Round 11
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        SYD 148 vs GEE 38 Report Stats
        Fri, 30 MayTimes shown AEST
        STK 54 vs COL 140 Report Stats
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        MEL 75 vs PTA 95 Report Stats
        BRI 98 vs CAR 91 Report Stats
        ESS 104 vs RIC 54 Report Stats
        Sun, 01 JunTimes shown AEST
        ADE 109 vs GCF 77 Report Stats
        WBU 51 vs FRE 89 Report Stats
        HAW 94 vs GWS 87 Report Stats
        WCE 44 vs NTH 82 Report Stats
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        Round 12
        Fri, 06 JunTimes shown AEST
        GEE 107 vs CAR 102 Report Stats
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        HAW 123 vs WCE 79 Report Stats
        PTA 129 vs STK 59 Report Stats
        WBU 87 vs BRI 95 Report Stats
        GWS 66 vs ESS 81 Report Stats
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        GCF 74 vs SYD 109 Report Stats
        FRE 90 vs ADE 50 Report Stats
        NTH 116 vs RIC 88 Report Stats
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        CAR 90 vs HAW 118 Report Stats
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        SYD 98 vs PTA 94 Report Stats
        WCE 103 vs GCF 100 Report Stats
        BRI 80 vs GWS 125 Report Stats
        ADE 109 vs NTH 73 Report Stats
        Sun, 15 JunTimes shown AEST
        GEE 133 vs STK 37 Report Stats
        COL 98 vs WBU 106 Report Stats
        ESS 77 vs MEL 78 Report Stats
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        Round 14
        Fri, 20 JunTimes shown AEST
        RIC 51 vs SYD 62 Report Stats
        Sat, 21 JunTimes shown AEST
        PTA 128 vs WBU 56 Report Stats
        HAW 115 vs COL 86 Report Stats
        GCF 118 vs GEE 78 Report Stats
        FRE 105 vs BRI 22 Report Stats
        ESS 101 vs ADE 92 Report Stats
        Sun, 22 JunTimes shown AEST
        GWS 100 vs CAR 92 Report Stats
        STK 70 vs WCE 103 Report Stats
        MEL 66 vs NTH 107 Report Stats
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        Round 15
        Fri, 27 JunTimes shown AEST
        GEE 89 vs ESS 80 Report Stats
        Sat, 28 JunTimes shown AEST
        HAW 116 vs GCF 63 Report Stats
        STK 73 vs RIC 117 Report Stats
        FRE 88 vs WCE 81 Report Stats
        SYD 106 vs GWS 60 Stats
        BRI 70 vs NTH 66 Report Stats
        Sun, 29 JunTimes shown AEST
        WBU 91 vs MEL 85 Report Stats
        ADE 99 vs PTA 76 Report Stats
        COL 91 vs CAR 76 Report Stats
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        Round 16
        Fri, 04 JulTimes shown AEST
        NTH 108 vs HAW 88 Report Stats
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        RIC 79 vs BRI 54 Stats
        GWS 72 vs ADE 140 Report Stats
        GCF 80 vs COL 75 Report Stats
        MEL 34 vs FRE 97 Report Stats
        PTA 60 vs ESS 62 Report Stats
        Sun, 06 JulTimes shown AEST
        CAR 151 vs STK 66 Report Stats
        WCE 51 vs SYD 79 Report Stats
        GEE 69 vs WBU 56 Report Stats
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        Round 17
        Fri, 11 JulTimes shown AEST
        ADE 92 vs HAW 104 Report Stats
        Sat, 12 JulTimes shown AEST
        MEL 36 vs GEE 102 Report Stats
        NTH 92 vs STK 33 Report Stats
        WBU 94 vs GCF 66 Report Stats
        BRI 64 vs WCE 76 Report Stats
        SYD 122 vs CAR 51 Report Stats
        Sun, 13 JulTimes shown AEST
        RIC 126 vs PTA 106 Report Stats
        ESS 103 vs COL 39 Report Stats
        FRE 136 vs GWS 60 Report Stats
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        Round 18
        Fri, 18 JulTimes shown AEST
        CAR 109 vs NTH 86 Report Stats
        Sat, 19 JulTimes shown AEST
        STK 118 vs FRE 60 Report Stats
        GWS 87 vs GEE 94 Report Stats
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        PTA 72 vs MEL 69 Report Stats
        WBU 94 vs ESS 101 Report Stats
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        WCE 42 vs RIC 59 Report Stats
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        BRI 110 vs GCF 56 Report Stats
        HAW 104 vs SYD 94 Report Stats
        Sun, 27 JulTimes shown AEST
        COL 82 vs ADE 98 Report Stats
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        Round 19
        Thu, 31 JulTimes shown AEST
        FRE 83 vs CAR 78 Report Stats
        Fri, 01 AugTimes shown AEST
        SYD 79 vs ESS 57 Report Stats
        Sat, 02 AugTimes shown AEST
        ADE 105 vs WCE 136 Report Stats
        RIC 89 vs GWS 62 Report Stats
        GCF 117 vs STK 64 Report Stats
        NTH 79 vs GEE 111 Report Stats
        Sun, 03 AugTimes shown AEST
        MEL 51 vs BRI 74 Stats
        HAW 107 vs WBU 45 Report Stats
        COL 76 vs PTA 70 Report Stats
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        Round 20
        Fri, 08 AugTimes shown AEST
        RIC 95 vs ESS 77 Report Stats
        Sat, 09 AugTimes shown AEST
        GWS 51 vs NTH 126 Report Stats
        CAR 97 vs GCF 58 Report Stats
        HAW 115 vs MEL 65 Report Stats
        PTA 58 vs SYD 84 Report Stats
        GEE 81 vs FRE 79 Report Stats
        Sun, 10 AugTimes shown AEST
        BRI 63 vs ADE 168 Report Stats
        STK 99 vs WBU 122 Report Stats
        WCE 126 vs COL 66 Report Stats
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        Round 21
        Fri, 15 AugTimes shown AEST
        CAR 76 vs GEE 82 Report Stats
        Sat, 16 AugTimes shown AEST
        SYD 127 vs STK 56 Stats
        GCF 47 vs PTA 56 Report Stats
        ESS 77 vs WCE 74 Report Stats
        COL 56 vs BRI 123 Report Stats
        ADE 69 vs RIC 79 Report Stats
        Sun, 17 AugTimes shown AEST
        NTH 111 vs WBU 61 Report Stats
        MEL 34 vs GWS 98 Report Stats
        FRE 110 vs HAW 91 Report Stats
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        Round 22
        Fri, 22 AugTimes shown AEST
        PTA 140 vs CAR 37 Report Stats
        Sat, 23 AugTimes shown AEST
        NTH 101 vs ADE 94 Report Stats
        ESS 108 vs GCF 89 Report Stats
        GWS 67 vs COL 75 Report Stats
        WCE 119 vs MEL 53 Report Stats
        HAW 94 vs GEE 71 Report Stats
        Sun, 24 AugTimes shown AEST
        BRI 48 vs FRE 106 Report Stats
        WBU 67 vs SYD 130 Report Stats
        RIC 98 vs STK 72 Report Stats
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        Round 23
        Fri, 29 AugTimes shown AEST
        COL 56 vs HAW 121 Stats
        Sat, 30 AugTimes shown AEST
        CAR 90 vs ESS 90 Stats
        FRE 105 vs PTA 97 Stats
        SYD 65 vs RIC 68 Stats
        NTH 123 vs MEL 93 Stats
        GEE 143 vs BRI 81 Stats
        Sun, 31 AugTimes shown AEST
        GCF 99 vs WCE 151 Stats
        ADE 141 vs STK 62 Stats
        WBU 109 vs GWS 115 Stats
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        AFL Finals Round 1
        Fri, 05 SepTimes shown AEST
        HAW 104 vs GEE 68 Report Stats
        Sat, 06 SepTimes shown AEST
        SYD 93 vs FRE 69 Stats
        NTH 93 vs ESS 81 Report Stats
        Sun, 07 SepTimes shown AEST
        PTA 132 vs RIC 75 Report Stats
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        AFL Finals Round 2
        Fri, 12 SepTimes shown AEST
        GEE 92 vs NTH 98 Stats
        Sat, 13 SepTimes shown AEST
        FRE 83 vs PTA 105 Stats
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        AFL Finals Round 3
        Fri, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
        SYD 136 vs NTH 65 Report Stats
        Sat, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
        HAW 97 vs PTA 94 Report Stats
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        AFL Finals Round 4
        Sat, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
        SYD 74 vs HAW 137 Report Stats
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        AFL Home and Away
        Overall standings
        Team P W L D % Pts
        Sydney Swans 22 17 5 0 142.88 68
        Hawthorn 22 17 5 0 140.78 68
        Geelong Cats 22 17 5 0 113.77 68
        Fremantle 22 16 6 0 130.40 64
        Port Adelaide 22 14 8 0 129.92 56
        North Melbourne 22 14 8 0 117.04 56
        Essendon 22 12 9 1 106.34 50
        Richmond 22 12 10 0 105.77 48
        View all
         
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