How fair is the AFL draw?


Clarke, Stephen R.

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This paper discusses the fairness of the AFL home and way draw. The use of a linear model to estimate team ability and home advantage is shown. The degree of difficulty inherent in the draw is estimated by calculating the average standard of the opposition. However an extra term is necessary to allow for better teams playing weaker than average opponents. The technique is demonstrated using final ladder position as a measure of team ability. The draw difficulty is shown to be different for different teams, and the bias does not even out over the years. Another method compares the expected final ladder position under the actual draw with the fair position. The efficiency of the draw to reward better terms with higher final ladder position is estimated via a simulation. This shows the huge amount of variability due to randomness inherent in the League draw.

Publication year


Publication type

Conference paper


4th Australian Conference on Mathematics and Computers in Sport, Coolangatta, Australia, 13 to 15 July 1998, pp. 161-169


Australia and New Zealand Industrial and Applied Mathematics


Copyright © 1998 Stephen R. Clarke.