What it takes to make the 8

If you don’t like stats, look away now.

If you do, I was taking a look at what a team needed to achieve to be a Top 8 side in the last 10 years (2005-2014). Not just “be better” and other barely quantifiable things, but actually what kind of numbers you need to achieve to make the finals on average in the last decade.

What’s really interesting is that within the Top 8, the difference between a Top 4 and a Bottom 4 (5th-8th) side is much wider in defence than attack:

  • Top 4 sides average 23.72 points for and 17.08 points against
  • Bottom 4 average 22.02 for (1.71 less) and 19.91 against (2.83 less)

When you look at the difference between making the Top 8 (8th) and not (9th), the gap is extraordinarily small: 0.20 points for per game and 0.27 points against. That small improvement turns a 47.50% win ratio into 50%, which is what 8th position almost always achieves.

So how do Tigers turn into a Top 8 side again? First and obviously, you need to score more points than you concede:

  • only 6 teams have ever made the Top 8 with a negative for/against
  • only 8 sides have ever failed to make the Top 8 with a positive differential.

Tigers 2015 are running at 20.91 points for and 23.67 points against per game. That rate of attack is usually good enough to achieve 11th position. However that defence is typical of a 13th placed side. Unfortunately for us, the wooden spooners average an attack of 17.21 and defence of 28.47, which even in 2015 we are clearly ahead of, though we run last. This is a boom year for crap teams!

To make the 8 next year, our attack would only need to improve slightly (needs to be up 0.38 points per game) but our defence still needs substantial improvement (needs to be up 3.18 points per game). To put that into perspective, a defensive improvement of 3.18 points per game would turn the average 8th-placed side into a 2nd-placed side.

Even more importantly, the minor premiers concede an average 2.78 points less per game in defence than 2nd place, which is almost the same gap as between 2nd and 8th place averages. Weirdly, the minor premiers do not score more points on average than 2nd place.

So JT is right that defence wins competitions. The best sides over the last 10 years are significantly better defenders than attackers when compared with their opponents.

When I ran the numbers last week to compare Tigers sides over the past 16 years, the figures said attack 2015 was worse than average, but defence was better than average.

What this analysis tells us is that whilst the defence is better than last year (so far), it still falls significantly behind what is required of a Top 8 side. The attack however is not far off.

There is also a positive and eerie message amongst all these numbers. We require a 3.18 points per game improvement in defence in 2016 to achieve the average defensive record of an 8th-placed side. That happens to be EXACTLY the figure by which defence has improved per game from 2014 to 2015.

In other words, if our defensive record is steady for the rest of 2015 (i.e. no further blowouts like the end of 2014), and our attack is steady, then a similar defensive improvement next year would tip us to be right on the cusp of the Top 8. If such an improvement was achieved against in 2017, we could be a Top 2 side.

Very interesting stuff. You’d have to think JT and co are crunching these sort of numbers as well, so when they come out “things are improving” etc……this would have to be why they are saying it.

So the bottom 8 sides are doing better than in previous years. The points differentials are a lot better this year than in others certainly…so far at least.

Nice work… If you see Dave Middleton walking towards you, run.

He thinks your after his job!

No I don’t like stats, but they certainly show that the club is moving forward with its plan to change our on field culture. Thanks jirskyr.

Well done again jirskyr,if you look at the figures in a positive way,they do show an improvement in our defense and this is what Taylor has been on about to be a better side…
If we keep going this way,then we certainly can climb that ladder and possibly play finals footy in 2017….

Last year was an absolute train wreck with one of the worst injury tolls, a massive player fall out with the coach and most people believing the team simply gave up in the last 6 weeks.

Are we really that surprised that statistcilly we can find an improvement with defense when comparing it to that.

The stats also show it has come at the expense of our attack, 2015 being our worst ever attacking year.

While it might be reassuring to look at the defensive stats and say hey look at us we are improving. I dont find it reasuring that our attack is disjointed and i dont find it reassuring that in a year where the players actually support the coach and our injuries have been minimal we are coming dead last.

I think the important thing you said was “if our defence holds together for the remainder of the season” This to me is highly unlikely because with nothing to play for,injuries and just the grind taking its toll on a mentally fragile outfit their will be blow outs and by the end of the season I think our stats will reflect we are a long way off the better teams

Would have thought win more games than you loose to be the most important stat in What it takes…I have been known to be wrong in the past though…once…

@Tiger In The Gong:

Last year was an absolute train wreck with one of the worst injury tolls, a massive player fall out with the coach and most people believing the team simply gave up in the last 6 weeks.

Are we really that surprised that statistcilly we can find an improvement with defense when comparing it to that.

The stats also show it has come at the expense of our attack, 2015 being our worst ever attacking year.

While it might be reassuring to look at the defensive stats and say hey look at us we are improving. I dont find it reasuring that our attack is disjointed and i dont find it reassuring that in a year where the players actually support the coach and our injuries have been minimal we are coming dead last.

No at this stage 2015 is not a worse attacking year than 2014, taken as points scored per game. It is slightly better (17.61 vs 17.50). 2013 is our worst attacking year on record. Furthermore, if your attack is steady (even if steady bad) and defence is better, then defence did not come at the expense of anything.

You make the argument that we should not be surprised that 2015 is a bit of an improvement on 2014, because 2014 was a train wreck. So who gets credit for the reduced # injuries and improved player morale? Coach and management in my books.

You then say it is disappointing to be last, even when injuries and morale are improved. That is true, it is disappointing, and the reason is because in 2015 the bottom sides are doing better than they usually do. This is a hard year to fight for the wooden spoon, because our 2015 numbers would usually place a side nearer to 12th.

It also shows that though there is improvement this year, we are far from being a finals side. The same improvement is needed again next year - low injuries, ~3-4 points better in defence, good morale, to get us into the Top 8.

In a competition where half the competition plays finals each yr, to only be in that half 3 out of 15 seasons is a joke.

Since your the stats guru how many wins have a team with the spoon had the last 15 years??

We are currently 5 wins.

If we finish on 5 wins would that be a abnormally high number of wins for a spoon side?

I could be wrong but i would not think so.

'14 = 5 wins
'13 = 5
12 = 6
11 =6
10 = 5
09 = 5
08 =5
07 =8
06 = 3
05 = 8
5.
2
5
7
2000 = 7 wins

@Geo.:

Would have thought win more games than you loose to be the most important stat in What it takes…I have been known to be wrong in the past though…once…

You are being a wiseguy but actually 13 teams have made the Top 8 with a 50% win record.

Only 1 team ever has made the finals with a losing record - Broncos in 2007 made 8th spot with 11W / 13 L. They knocked us out on superior F/A.

13/80….so on average, Geo is right

Recent Topics

Support our community by clicking here and joining our Forum Support Scheme