The old saying goes that the good teams win the close ones. We don’t know if that is statistically correct but winning the close ones can be the difference between a good year and poor one. The 2020 AFL season is a case in point, with the 21 games decided by six points or less making a massive difference on the competition ladder.
To prove the point we have reproduced the ladder after 14 rounds with the results of these 21 games reversed and what a difference a kick here or there can make on the face of a season.
|St Kilda (+6)||14||11||3||0||44||1W 4L|
|Port Adelaide (-2)||14||10||4||0||40||1W 0L|
|Collingwood (+1)||14||9||4||1||38||0W 1L|
|West Coast (-1)||13||9||4||0||36||0W 0L|
|Gold Coast (+6)||14||7||6||1||30||0W 2L|
|Brisbane (-5)||13||7||6||0||28||3W 0L|
|Melbourne (-1)||13||7||6||0||28||2W 2L|
|Fremantle (+3)||13||6||7||0||24||1W 2L|
|Essendon (-1)||13||5||7||1||22||3W 2L|
|GWS (-4)||13||5||8||0||20||2W 0L|
|Carlton (-2)||13||5||8||0||20||3W 2L|
|Sydney (+1)||13||4||9||0||16||1W 1L|
|North Melbourne (+1)||14||4||10||0||16||1W 2L|
|Hawthorn (-2)||13||3||10||0||12||1W 0L|
As you can see the Brisbane Lions ability to find a way when necessary has them in line for a top four berth rather than a dog fight for spot in the eight. For the Giants it is the difference between being right in the heat of the fight or on its outskirts.
On the other hand, the Saints inability to win the tight ones has them in danger of missing the finals rather than fighting for the minor premiership. For the Gold Coast Suns, they will be playing the last four rounds with an eye on 2021 rather than to defend a place in the eight.