The minor premiers (Hawthorn and the Bulldogs) were defeated in both finals.
I monitored scores at the end of each quarter in all AFL games in the 2012 season. I looked at a team’s abilities to overcome deficits too.
In Saturday’s final, Sydney overcame a deficit of 19 points at the end of the first quarter. Sydney scored 36 points in the second quarter of the final to Hawthorn’s 1 point. This was Sydney’s fourth best second quarter performance in 2012. Sydney scored 45 points against the Western Bulldogs in Round 21; 41 points against Brisbane in Round 15; and 40 points against Adelaide in Round 6.
Sydney were able to restrict Hawthorn to a single figure score in all three games they played against each other this season:
* 0 in the third quarter in Round 5
* 1 in the first quarter in Round 22
* 1 in the second quarter in the Grand Final
During the whole season, in addition to the three games against Sydney, Hawthorn were held to single figure quarter scores by:
* Geelong, fourth quarter, 5 points (Round 2)
* West Coast, first quarter, 4 points (Round 4)
* Richmond, first quarter, 9 points (Round 9)
* Port Adelaide, first quarter, 9 points (Round 20)
During the AFL Finals’ Rounds, four teams were able to overcome a deficit to win a game. Sydney’s 19 point recovery against Hawthorn was the best of the Finals’ Rounds. The others were:
* Adelaide v Freemantle (first quarter, 15 points)
* Collingwood v West Coast (second quarter, 11 points)
* Hawthorn v Adelaide (first quarter, 7 points)
It was the third time in the 2012 season that Sydney had overcame a deficit of 19 or more points. The other two were pulling back a 20 point lead from Hawthorn in the second quarter (Round 5) and a 19 point deficit to St Kilda in the first quarter (Round 17). Hawthorn had managed to overturn a 26 point deficit against Sydney in the first quarter of Round 22.
During the 2012 season I was interested in the performance of each team against their 2011 ranking. I monitored teams overcoming a deficit too.
The Storm’s first hiccup in the season was a defeat to the Sharks in Week 10. The Bulldogs won the first three games of their season with two wins (Week 2, Week 3) against higher ranked opposition. Both teams had a strong end to their season, the Storm won the last five games and the Bulldogs won eight of their last nine games.
During the regular season there were twenty-five games where a team overcame a deficit of ten or more points. The Bulldogs were involved in three games in which they overturned a deficit of ten or more points:
* v Broncos (Round 23), 14 points
* v Panthers (Round 1), 12 points
* v Titans (Round 5), 10 points
In the Finals’ Rounds, the Bulldogs overcame four point deficits against the Sea Eagles and the Rabbitohs.
The Storm let one lead slip all season, 6 points against the Sharks in Round 10.
Both finals were remarkable athletic encounters that made for compelling viewing.
Given the standard of both games the teams’ performances allow a close look at patterns and probabilities. Hawthorn and the Bulldogs had experience of overturning deficits greater than those they encountered in the final. Sydney and the Storm both had experience of controlling games when ahead.
It would be great to host a discussion with all four head coaches to talk about their experiences of the day and the season.