The Colours of the 2014 AFL Season


This year’s AFL competition started on Thursday with the opening game between Carlton and Richmond.

Richmond won the game 105 v 78. In doing so, Richmond confirmed its higher ranking status over Carlton from the 2014 regular season.

In 2014, this was my record of the AFL season by team and performance against 2013 ranking.

AFL 03

An expected win based on the 2013 regular season finishing positions is recoded as green. An expected loss is recorded as blue. An unexpected win is recorded as gold and an unexpected loss as red.

The graphic visualises, for example, St Kilda’s occasional breakout from a season confirming 2013 ranking. It illustrates too, Collingwood’s difficulties in the second half of the season compared to Richmond’s recovery.

Overall, the colours of 2014 indicate how each football department responded to 2013 performances. One team that made significant progress in the first half of 2014 was Port Adelaide.

Photo Credit

AFL – Richmond v Essendon (Round 9) (Charlievdb, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Fremantle’s Path to the 2013 AFL Grand Final


Fremantle have won their way to their first AFL Grand Final after defeating Sydney.

During the regular season, their scoring performance compared to the weekly winning average was:

Freeo 1

Fremantle lost five games during the regular season (Essendon (week 3); Hawthorn (week 4); Geelong (week 14); Richmond (week 17); St Kilda (week 23)).

Following on from my post about visualising the season’s performances of Hawthorn and Richmond, I present a colour comparison of Fremantle’s actual path to the Grand Final compared to a prediction of the season based on 2012 rankings.


In this comparison I have used two hues. The darker the hue the closer Fremantle’s opponents.

It is interesting to note Fremantle’s blue (winning) progress after the predicted loss to Hawthorn in week 4. There followed a run of seven victories and a draw. In my visualisation, the away draw at Sydney was a winning draw against a higher ranked team. In that game, Fremantle overcame an end of third quarter deficit of eight points to draw the game.

The red hue indicates Fremantle losses. Fremantle lost to three lower ranked teams during the regular season: Essendon (round 3 at home); Richmond (round 17 away); St Kilda (round 23 away).

I think key moments in the transformation of Fremantle’s season were:

  • Week 1 home win against West Coast
  • Week 7 home win against Collingwood
  • Week 8 away draw at Sydney
  • Week 10 away win against Adelaide.

By the time Fremantle were enjoying their Bye Week in week 11, they were on their way to the Finals. Their performances after the Bye were impressive (with the exception of the Week 23 defeat against St Kilda).

This will be Fremantle’s first grand final since the founding of the AFL club in 1995.


Photo Credits

Dockers scored a goal (Kelly Underwood, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Fremantle Dockers Purple Haze Day (Michael Spencer, CC BY 2.0)

Visualising Actual Performance Compared to Predicted Performance


The Sydney Moderns Exhibition in general, and Roy de Maistre in particular, have sent me off thinking about visualisation this week.

I have been wondering if I can combine my interest in the impact of a team’s ranking on performance with a narrative form that has a visual impact.

Thanks to an alert from my son, Sam, my colour search was transformed by the ColourLovers site. I was able to use their palette tool to explore HTML Colour Codes.

I decided to create two single hue palettes, one for winning (blue) and one for losing (red) performance. The ColourLovers palette enables the user to set the hue (H value), its intensity (saturation) (S value) and the darkness of the colour (V value).

I chose a blue hue for winning performance. The information about the hue includes: the Hex Code; the Red (R), Green (G) and Blue (B) values and the HSV values:

Win Code

and a red hue for losing:

Lose Palette

I have used the performance of two AFL teams in the regular 2013 season to explore the impact colour might have on visualising performance.

Hawthorn and Richmond

Hawthorn were the minor premiers in 2012 and repeated this performance in the 2013 season.

With their number 1 ranking for the 2013 season, this was the prediction of their performance (a completely blue profile):


The darker the blue (indicated by higher saturation values) the closer Hawthorn’s opponents are to them in ranking.

Hawthorn’s actual performance was:

H Actual

The darker the red, the closer the team defeating Hawthorn was in ranking terms. The loss to Richmond was a very interesting result. Richmond were a significantly lower ranked team but as the visualisation of their season below indicates, they were very competitive in 2013.

A comparison of Hawthorn’s predicted and actual season underscores how comprehensive their minor premiership win was.

H Compare

Richmond were ranked 12th in the 2012 regular season. The prediction for 2013 based on this ranking was:

R Predict

The darker blue and red hues indicate a close proximity to teams in terms of ranking. This prediction suggested two wins in the first eight games with an opening game against Carlton ranked two positions above Richmond.

Richmond’s actual performance was five wins starting with a first round defeat of Carlton:

R Actual

The comparison of the predicted and actual indicates how much Richmond improved this season:

R Compare

This comparison prompts me to think about Richmond’s progress by defeating teams ranked near to them.  These colours have high saturation figures and appear as darker colours in the graphic. The highlight is the light blue colour of the win against Hawthorn in Round 19.


This is a first attempt to explore my use of colour in visualsation. I am hopeful that a narrative is present in these visualisations. I have made a conscious decision to use a single hue for winning (blue) and for losing (red). I think the Hawthorn images indicate how successful their season was. After a Round 1 defeat, they followed their predicted path (based on ranking) to Round 15.

I hope that the Richmond visualisations indicate a change in their fortunes in 2013. Their season was a much bluer season that predicted. They were able to defeat closely ranked rivals. Their victory against Hawthorn in Round 19 was one of the performances of the season for me.

I look forward to developing this use of colour whilst being mindful of the excellent advice available about what constitutes better practice.

Photo Credit

Sydney Moderns Catalogue Cover (Art Gallery of NSW)