Don The Stat Podcast Thread - 2023 Player Review with Rick Edwards

Jono and Ian have been joined by Robert Shaw to discuss how Essendon have been going this year and what we should be looking at in terms of improvement over the next few weeks


That was a great listen… really love hearing David Shaws perspective, very interesting.
Ian and Jono are great too…


He was so good to listen to.

Very passionate about the club and made some great points about how open this season is. And a Ross Lyon fan.

Sounds like he really rates McGrath’s leadership credentials as well. Something we don’t often see or hear about.


He always has, it’s one of the reasons he implored disco to pick him


Loved the episode


Thanks for the great feedback everyone

We’ll be having Shawry back a couple more times this season to get his views on how things are going


Also told the Jones haters to get stuffed.


Great pod guys, really interesting to hear Shaw on the differences in game plan, and some behind the scenes Intel on the different attitudes of coaching era.

As a question theme on stats more general, if you feel like answering it in your pod. How do you look at which stats are important to wins? If there are correlators which ones are and how do you determine causality? Does this vary team to team based on list and game style or are some competition wide? Reason I ask is that for me I find it hard to know what stats are important and what are not and why, and then how does that change the way I view the games when I do watch.


It’s a really good question. A lot of it is subjective, but as you said, there’s a lot of noise out there when it comes to stats and it can be hard to tell what the best things to look at are. As well, us in the fan ccommunity are hamstrung because a lot of the best stats are stuck behind Champion Data, meaning we don’t get a full picture. We’re lucky that one of a listeners worked out how to access some extra data that helps us with Chain scores and the like, which gives us a bigger idea of what’s happening.

As to what to look at, it depends on what your purpose is. If you’re looking at which teams are best set for the premiership in a given year, there’s only a few common stats between premiership teams. I don’t know if you saw the ‘On The Couch’ segment this week where they suggested Essendon was in the premiership window because of our Points For and Points against rankings, but those are pretty good indicators of whether a team is likely to win a premiership based on previous years stats. Another one I like to keep an eye on for judging this is Intercept differential (how many more times you’re intercepting the ball in a game compared to your opponent). Since 2015, all premiership sides (other than the Bulldogs who are an outlier) have been top 4 for this metric. This year, Essendon is currently sitting fifth, behind the Crows, Pies, Swans and Demons. Last year we were ninth, so improvement’s been made so far, but not quite at premiership standard yet.

I think it’s also important to consider stats in context. This is one of the reason for most stats I prefer to look at differentials as opposed to raw numbers for a lot of stats. For example, a team might be ranked high in the raw number of Stoppage Clearances they have. However, that might be due to their gamestyle involving creating a lot of contests which means they have more of an opportunity to get Stoppage Clearance. Looking at the Differential means you get to compare how they went against their opponent - they may be winning a high number, but their opponents may also be winning a high amount in the same games, meaning it’s not a big advantage for them. Again, for example, Essendon last year were 17th for Stoppage Clearances a game, but we were a low Stoppage side. Our differential was 12th, meaning we were’t quite as bad at it as it may look when we compared ourselves to our opponents.

And then you also have to consider the gamestyle of the side you’re looking at. Last year, Collingwood were 16th for Centre Clearance Differential. If you looked at that stat on it’s own, you’d wonder how they did so well. But their gamestyle was set up in a way that they didn’t care if they lost clearance, they backed their intercept game (3rd best in the comp) to get the ball back and generate scores that way. If you remember our second game against them last year, we won CC 5 - 2 in the first quarter, but were down 6.2 to 0.1 - it didn’t matter in that context because they won Intercept Possession 22 - 8.

I could talk about this a lot more, but I think Shawry said it best on the episode - trust your eye first, then look at the stats to see if they support what you’re seeing.


Thank you for such an awesome response, I too could talk data all day, am always interested in it. Footy market is just foreign to me. Some great advice above, really appreciate it!


No worries, thanks for the great question.

Here’s the Fox Footy segment I was talking about for those who haven’t seen it:


Not trying to be disrespectful but you and DontheStat would not be life of the party.

I once went to a Test Match in UK with two Poms who both carried a copy of Wisden with them. All day it was one asking the other cricket questions or sprouting the player stats.

That sounds AMAZING!!!

Great podcast fellas.

I wholeheartedly agree, our recruits of the year are Scott, Vozzo and Barham. Three key pillars of a football club. If those things are right (and stable) then the rest falls into line. Our administration has not looked so organised for a number of years IMO. Still a long way to go but credit where credit is due, well done to them so far.

I also wholeheartedly agree that our previous 2 coaches had a dismal attention to detail record. Even though Melbourne had a number of outs, it was obvious that the coaching group REALLY prepared for that game.

The Don The Stat preview for the ANZAC day match is out now. Jono and Ian go through what’s changed with the Pies this year and what the Dons need to do to challenge another premiership favourite.


We’ve ripped off the bandaid and gone through the loss to the Pies in detail before looking at how we can handle the twin towers of the reigning premiers.


Next episode is out now! We look at what we can take out of the Geelong game before digging into how the Bombers can take it up to one of our bogey sides in the Power.


I’m hoping sarcasm; Nash would be lucky to be top ten in players we’ve given to Little Essendon. And I think that list is only nine players.

(I counted Wanganeen, Kingsley, Cockatoo-Collins, Ryder, Monfries, Hardwick, Cummings, and Fantasia as the others.)

Rob Forster-Knight was on both lists, but he was delisted by Essendon and then drafted by Port, not traded.

Josh Mahoney played for the Bendigo Bombers after he was delisted by the Bulldogs and was picked up by the Power for the 2004 season

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Thanks for the great analysis as always.

You might have picked it up after, but you got the fixture difficulty analysis a bit wrong

Last year in the first 7 rounds we played
1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 8, 14

This year we have played
1, 2, 3, 7, 12, 13, 17

In hindsight, last year’s start to the draw was a nightmare, playing the entire top 8 in our first 10 games