VICE Sports: AFL and NRL Grand Final Picks
Patrick Avenell is the Sydney journalist and lover of stats whose predictions for the 2015 Triple J Hottest 100 were actually pretty good. Four of Patrick’s top five appeared in the official top 10, including first place-getter “Hoops”, by the Rubens, which he had in fifth. Add to that the fact that his predicted winner, “Lean On” by Major Lazer, DJ Snake & MØ, landed in third, and you have to admit he was definitely onto something. Sure, it wasn’t exactly Dustin Hoffman counting cards in Rain Man but nobody said predicting a national poll of earnest young alt. music enthusiasts was easy.
So what do you do with a person like this? Well, considering he’s a keen sports fan, we thought we’d apply his knack for predictions to the AFL and NRL. Specifically, which teams will take out each code’s grand final? Read on to find out.
First, Some Preamble From Patrick
In thinking about which team will win the Flag in the AFL and the Premiership in the NRL, I’ve gone back over the past 10 years to see if any trends emerge. Recent history suggests that form developed through the season is locked in by August, meaning that if your club hasn’t already cemented its Top 4 slot, you should already be thinking about next year.
In the AFL, the lowest an eventual premier has been at this stage of the season is third (Hawthorn in 2015). The NRL is a tad more forgiving, with Melbourne winning from third and fourth (2012 and 2009), and Brisbane from third (2006). The last time an AFL team won from outside the Top 4 was Adelaide in 1995 (fifth); in the NRL/ARL it was the Bulldogs in 1995 (sixth).
So how to decide which of the AFL’s Top 2 (Hawthorn or Sydney) or the NRL’s Top 4 (Melbourne, Cronulla, Canberra, Canterbury) will be victorious?
Patrick’s AFL Flag Tip: Sydney Swans
Hawthorn looks imperious and clearly knows how to win in September, but Sydney is also well-accustomed to finals footy, and considering no team has won four Flags in row since the Depression (which was both the era and what it’s like when Collingwood is dominating), my tip is for Sydney to steal the Grand Final from the Hawks in a nail biter. This would also fit with the AFL tradition of the Flag being passed around amongst only a few clubs in recent history.
Patrick’s NRL Premiership Prediction: Cronulla Sharks
The NRL is the opposite, with the ‘any given Sunday’ ethos being demonstrated via six different winners over the past six years, and no back-to-back premiers since 1993 (discounting 1997’s split competition). Melbourne and Cronulla are clearly the two best teams in the competition, and while conventional wisdom used to hold that you had to lose a grand final to win one, the recentish successes of the Cowboys, Souths and St George Illawarra (and even going back to the Wests Tigers in 2005) show that the right mixture of talent on the field and acumen off it can overcome any stage fright.
So that’s that. Two fairly rigorous predictions from a keen supporter of St Kilda and St George Illawarra (he’s not fussed about who wins the AFL but he’s tipping the Sharks with considerable reluctance). Stay tuned for Patrick’s forecasts for the glitziest prizes on the Aussie sports calendar: the Brownlow and Dally M medals, coming soon.
Original Article from VICE SportsAFL