AFL News: Rankings for Champion Data 2020 draw the ire of the AFL community

February 11, 2020
The stats guru at Champion Data release rankings for each club before each AFL season, the latest addition hasn’t sat well with fans.
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The 2020 AFL season is just around the corner and compulsory Champion Data rankings come with it.

For each squad in three areas — defence, midfield and forward — each year the number crunchers behind the AFL post club rankings are.

However the rankings cause widespread uproar with fans picking apart how to rate a club so low or so high and no different this year.

Champion Data put Melbourne in the top overall spot in 2019 after their spectacular surge the year before which culminated in a preliminary final appearance up the ladder.

Obviously in 2019, Melbourne finished in second place on the ladder absolutely.

Footy fans combed and picked glaring holes in the odd standings through the 2020 rankings, with several prominent ones standing out above the rest.

Throughout the 2019 season, Geelong was the number one defensive team as they stifled opponents as they sprang to goal.

Over the course of the season the Cats lost the fewest points per game and the fewest points per opposition inside 50. Given all that and minor improvements reaching the defense, Champion Data rated them in the competition as the third worst set of defenders.

Fans have challenged the rankings surrounding the Brisbane Lions. The Lions were ranked 10th best overall since finishing second on the ladder in 2019.

They were ranked in the competition as the number one midfield but it was their forward line rating that left many scratching their heads.

The stats gurus rated them as the second worst ahead of the 2020 season, after leading the field in points per game. Only the Gold Coast Suns above.

As 2019 clearly showed, the rankings are not representative of how the season will unfold. But the inner workings of how the rankings came to be caused outrage among fans.

Not only Geelong and Brisbane have provoked outrage among the football community, with midfield rankings from GWS and Adelaide raising more than a few eyebrows.

Expected to drive the AFL ladder even higher in 2020, the Western Bulldogs were ranked second overall behind Richmond’s 2019 premiers.

But Bulldogs ‘ new skipper Marcus Bontempelli wants to keep the feet of the Dogs firmly on the ground as the growing squad tries to emulate the one that reached the highest heights in 2016.

“You’re kind of internally focused on what we’re trying to work on for now,” Bontempelli said.

“I hope you understand that from that point of view sometimes there will be a little bit more anticipation or concern.

“When you look at it in a good way, it’s great for people to rate the football club and where we are, but we certainly know that there’s plenty of water to go under the bridge and that we have to meet our own standards first.”