Spooky curse turns AFL on its head
If you've been struggling to tip a winner in 2019, it's time to feel a bit better about your woeful form.
Tipsters and punters have been all over the place this season in a year of dramatic upsets and a top eight that seems to be getting turned on its head every round of footy.
Some eagle-eyed footy fanatics may have just discovered why 2019 has been more turbulent for top eight teams than any season in recent memory.
They've almost certainly discovered the ladder anomaly to end all ladder anomalies - and if their freakish hypothesis is correct, it spells very bad news for the high flying Brisbane Lions this weekend.
With teams like West Coast and Collingwood falling around them, the Lions have quietly cut through the spluttering contenders to sit just one spot below ladder leaders Geelong in second spot, ahead of the Eagles on percentage.
Unfortunately, this is the part of the season where the Lions' bubble finally bursts, according to some truly freakish numbers discovered by the Reddit AFL fan community.
The supporters page has identified the ladder curse to end all ladder curses with teams sitting in second spot on the ladder winning just four times this year.
Yep, the second best team at the time, according to the ladder, has won just four of its 15 matches this year.
St Kilda, Fremantle, GWS and West Coast have all had a taste of the curse this year, but nobody's suffered from its icy touch like Nathan Buckley's Magpies.
Despite holding onto fourth spot on the ladder, Collingwood is on a scary four-match losing streak when starting a round of football second on the table.
They've lost to Fremantle, North Melbourne, Hawthorn and GWS recently when holding onto the prized spot behind the Cats.
A ladder compiled of how teams have performed when playing at a particular ranking position on the ladder shows the No. 2 spot in the 2019 AFL premiership is the last place your side wants to be sitting.
The 4-11 record of teams sitting second has the worst winning rate of any position on the ladder, behind even the winning rate of teams sitting 18th (6-10).
Sitting 9th on the table statistically means that team has the highest chance of winning after producing a 12-4 record so far this season.
Even the top teams on the table have only enjoyed an 11-5 record.
None of the quirky anomalies stand out like the dreadful performances of teams sitting second, however.
Ever since Collingwood's win over Sydney on May 24, the second rung on the ladder has become the poisoned chalice of the competition. No team sitting second on the ladder has won since - more than eight weeks ago.
It certainly explains Collingwood's up-and-down form and Buckley's growing frustrations at the team's failure to put it together every week.
Buckley described his club's form as like a patchwork quilt, after they were given a 47-point pummelling by a GWS side missing their entire five-man leadership group on Saturday.
An eight-goal first quarter blitzkrieg from GWS at Giants Stadium set up their 19.8 (122) to 11.9 (75) win, which snapped a three-match losing streak and handed the Pies a third defeat from their last four.
"It seems to be a bit of a patchwork quilt at the moment and then that will flip the next week. We're just lacking consistency," Buckley said.
"Regardless of who we play or what stage of the year or where we sit on the ladder if we don't find that consistency in our own performance in our own brand, it makes it pretty difficult to find your best."
It doesn't help the Pies that some of the teams sitting below them on the ladder are beginning to show real danger signs approaching September action.
Hawthorn blew the race for the AFL minor premiership open and gave their own playoff hopes a massive boost with a shock 24-point win over arch-rivals Geelong at the MCG on Sunday.
Tenth-placed Hawthorn improved their win-loss record to 8-9 as they moved within a game of the top eight.
Despite the defeat, the Cats still sit a game and a solid slab of percentage clear of Brisbane and West Coast (both 48 points) a top the ladder with five rounds of home and away season remaining.
THE 2019 LADDER CURSE
Round 2: 7.19 61 Gold Coast vs Fremantle (2nd) 8.10 58 - Loss
Round 3: 16.11 107 Brisbane (2nd) vs Port Adelaide 13.12 090 - Win
Round 4: 17.10 112 Essendon vs Brisbane (2nd) 9.11 65 - Loss
Round 5: 11.16 82 GWS Giants (2nd) vs Fremantle 16.10 106 - Loss
Round 6: 10.8 68 St Kilda (2nd) vs Adelaide 15.7 97 - Loss
Round 7: 7.9 51 Adelaide vs Fremantle (2nd) 5.4 34 - Loss
Round 8: 13.9 87 Carlton vs Collingwood (2nd) 16.10 106 - Win
Round 9: 17.10 112 Collingwood (2nd) vs St Kilda 10.11 71 - Win
Round 10: 11.7 73 Sydney vs Collingwood (2nd) 11.14 80 - Win
Round 11: 11.9 75 Collingwood (2nd) vs Fremantle 11.13 79 - Loss
Round 12: 12.10 82 Adelaide vs GWS Giants (2nd) 9.7 61 - Loss
Round 15: 5.7 37 Collingwood (2nd) vs North Melbourne 11.15 81 - Loss
Round 16: 9.13 67 Hawthorn vs Collingwood (2nd) 9.9 63 - Loss
Round 17: 12.5 77 West Coast (2nd) vs Collingwood 11.12 78 - Loss
Round 18: 19.8 122 GWS Giants vs Collingwood (2nd) 11.9 75 - Loss
Round 19: Hawthorn vs Brisbane (2nd)
THE RUN TO THE AFL FINALS
1. GEELONG: 52 points, 135.8 per cent.
Sydney (SCG), Fremantle (OS), North Melbourne (GMHBA), Brisbane Lions (Gabba), Carlton (GMHBA).
2. BRISBANE LIONS: 48 points, 114.9 per cent.
Hawthorn. (UTas), Western Bulldogs (Gabba), Gold Coast (Gabba), Geelong (Gabba), Richmond (MCG).
3. WEST COAST: 48 points, 113.5 per cent.
North Melbourne (OS), Carlton (Marvel), Adelaide (OS), Richmond (MCG), Hawthorn (OS).
4. COLLINGWOOD: 44 points, 111.9 per cent.
Richmond (MCG), Gold Coast (MCG), Melbourne (MCG), Adelaide (AO), Essendon (MCG) 5. RICHMOND: 44 points, 107.5 per cent.
Collingwood (MCG), Melbourne (MCG), Carlton (MCG), West Coast (MCG), Brisbane Lions (MCG).
6. GWS: 40 points, 123.6 per cent.
Port Adelaide (AO), Sydney (GS), Hawthorn (UNSW Canberra), Western Bulldogs (GS), Gold Coast (Metricon).
7. ESSENDON: 40 points, 103.9 per cent.
Gold Coast (Metricon), Port Adelaide (Marvel), Western Bulldogs (Marvel), Fremantle (OS), Collingwood (MCG).
8. ADELAIDE: 36 points, 110.2 per cent.
Carlton (MCG), St Kilda (AO), West Coast (OS), Collingwood (AO), Western Bulldogs (Mars).
9. PORT ADELAIDE: 32 points, 102.3 per cent.
GWS (AO), Essendon (Marvel), Sydney (AO), North Melbourne (Marvel), Fremantle (AO).
10. HAWTHORN: 32 points, 101.9 per cent.
Brisbane Lions (UTas), North Melbourne (Marvel), GWS (UNSW Canberra), Gold Coast (Marvel), West Coast (OS).
11. FREMANTLE, 32 points, 96.2 per cent.
Western Bulldogs (Marvel), Geelong (OS), St Kilda (Marvel), Essendon (OS), Port Adelaide (AO).
12. WESTERN BULLDOGS: 32 points, 93.4.
Fremantle (Marvel), Brisbane Lions (Gabba), Essendon (Marvel), GWS (GS), Adelaide (Mars).
13. NORTH MELBOURNE: 28 points, 98.7 per cent.
West Coast (OS), Hawthorn (Marvel), Geelong (GMHBA), Port Adelaide (Marvel), Melbourne (Blundstone).
14. ST KILDA: 28 points 82.9. Melbourne (Marvel), Adelaide (AO), Fremantle (Marvel), Carlton (MCG), Sydney (SCG).
- with AAP