0-16 and on track for the finals

When Andrew Demetriou wakes up in the middle of the night – and seriously, that’s gotta be happening pretty regularly – he’s probably worrying about racism, bizarre behaviour by officials, or some combination of the two. From time to time he might even worry about competition equalisation. It’s even been suggested that the AFL might be on the way to becoming a de facto two-tier league, so much so that the AFL is off on a jaunt to the home of the fair go, America, to take a sneak peek at how they do it.

But why worry when, as I promised at the end of the last post, even a team that gets to 0-16 has a chance of making the finals? (Microscopic font: in ridiculously unlikely circumstances.) First, to set the scene: the league currently has 18 teams, who each play 22 games (cumulative research time: 30 seconds). This means the home and away season features 22×9 = 198 matches, needing 198 winners (cumulative research time: 1 minute). For the purposes of this experiment, I’m ignoring draws, docked points, Waverley Park lights-off scenarios, alien invasion, etc. Continue reading

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