Impact of the Bye Week: AFL 2013


Last weekend saw the completion of Round 18 of the AFL.
I have been thinking about the impact of the bye week on teams and am interested in whether the rhythm of a season changes as a result of the bye week.
After this Round 18, the Ladder was:
Ladder 18

Bye Weeks

This year the bye weeks for the competition were in Weeks 11, 12 and 13. Yoon Tae Sung and Scott Tainsky (2012) have discussed the impact of a bye week in NFL. They noted the success of away favourites in the week following the bye.
Going into the bye weeks, the AFL ladder after Round 10 was:
Round 10 Ladder

Week 11

Hawthorn, Fremantle, Richmond, Brisbane, Port Adelaide and Western Bulldogs had byes in this round.
The following week: Hawthorn and Port Adelaide won away from home; Fremantle and Richmond won at home; Brisbane and Western Bulldogs lost away from home.

Week 12

Sydney, West Coast, Geelong, North Melbourne, St Kilda and Melbourne had byes in this round.
The following week: only St Kilda won and did so at home. Sydney and Geelong lost away from home to lower ranked teams; West Coast, North Melbourne and Melbourne lost away from home.

Week 13

Adelaide, Collingwood, Carlton, Essendon, the Gold Coast and GWS were the last teams to have a bye week.
The following week: Adelaide and Essendon won away from home; Collingwood, Carlton and GWS lost away from home; the Gold Coast lost at home.

Results since the Bye

Week 11 Group:
Week 11s
Week 12 Group
Week 12s
Week 13 Group
Week 13s


3301836116_c7bce192fe_oFour of the top eight teams in Round 10 had byes in week 11. Their early byes did not appear to disturb their rhythm. Hawthorn are 6-1 after the bye with their only loss to Geelong. Fremantle, Richmond and Port Adelaide are 5-2. The bye seemed particularly beneficial for Port Adelaide. Port had lost five consecutive games going into the bye.
In the week 12 bye group, Sydney and Geelong lost immediately after the bye. Sydney recovered to have a 5-1 post bye run and Geelong 4-2. West Cast seemed most adversely affected by the bye. Their record going into the bye was 5-1. After the bye this has reversed to 1-5.
Essendon has been the most successful week 13 bye team. Notwithstanding the events surrounding the club, the team is 4-1 after the bye (3-2 in the five weeks preceding the bye). Carlton appeared to have delayed benefits from the bye with three consecutive wins after two defeats immediately following the bye.
In the period immediately preceding the bye weeks (Round 10) and the current ladder (end of Round 18), two teams have left the top 8: Carlton and West Coast. Both were improving on the Ladder as the bye arrived. Richmond and Port Adelaide have moved into the top eight. Both were week 11 bye teams.
It would be very interesting to cross reference these data with the recent work undertaken by Shannon Hunkin, Brendan Fahrner and Paul Gastin (2013) in relation to C-K Levels; to Paul Gastin and others’ (2013) discussion of the influence of physical fitness, age, experience, and weekly training load on match performance; and Courtney Sullivan and colleagues’ (2013) consideration of match score effects on performance.

Photo Credits

Frame Grab from Foxsports AFL (Round 18)
Frame Grab from AFL (Round 10)
Footie Match (Liz, CC BY_NC-ND 2.0)


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