Midfield Clearance Analysis

I’d originally planned on doing a proper analysis of how our midfield was functioning last season, but with the reduced games and how dreary most AFL games were to watch last season, I opted against it.

The Basics

Midfield Frequency - 30 Bounces

How often our players were lining up as one of the 5 mids (inside + wing) at bounces.

Merrett 24
Shiel 24 1w
McGrath 22 14i, 8w
Langford 22 wing (1i)
Cox 19 wing
Caldwell 16
Parish 11
Ham 11 wing
Smith 1

Rucks

Draper 27
Wright 3

Champion Data’s Centre Clearances (13 vs. 14 for Hawthorn)

Parish 3
Shiel 3
McGrath 2
Draper 2
Merrett 1
Caldwell 1
Hind 1

The centre clearance stat is a basic one available to anyone, but like any stat in isolation it can be misleading - the gold standard (which I presume the coaches have access to) is comparing whether players ultimately a negative or positive impact on the team winning the centre clearance. As an example a player might not win many (or any clearances), but their defensive work on their opponent at the stoppage might have an overall positive impact on winning the clearances, whereas a pure ball hunter might win a lot of clearances but could ultimately negatively impact your chances of winning the ball.

Before I get to the next portion, after careful analysis I dispute 2 stats by Champion Data - there was a clearance for McGrath that they didn’t pay which based on some other clearances they do give was nonsensical; the other is they’ve allocated a clearance to Draper that should’ve gone to Merrett. So I have our CC’s as 14 not 13 and Merrett with 2 clearances rather than Draper.

Player Overall A W CC E I Win % Ess CC Diff
Draper 30 27 12 1 1 44.4% 14 -2.2%
Merrett 30 24 13 2 1 1 54.2% 14 7.5%
Shiel 30 23 8 3 2 1 34.8% 14 -11.9%
Caldwell 30 16 6 1 1 37.5% 14 -9.2%
McGrath 30 14 7 3 2 1 50.0% 14 3.3%
Parish 30 11 7 3 2 1 63.6% 14 17.0%
Wright 30 3 2 66.7% 14 20.0%
Smith 30 1 1 100.0% 14 53.3%
Langford 30 1 0.0% 14 -46.7%
46.7%

Key:
Overall = overall bounces for the game
A = Bounces attended
W = How many centre clearances we won when they attended a centre bounce
CC = Centre clearances for that player
E = How many of those centre clearances were effective (shot at goal, stoppage in our F50, hit a forward target)
I = How many of their centre clearances were ineffective (turnover or results in stoppage before entering our 50)
Win% = The percentage of bounces they attended that resulted in a winning centre clearance
EssCC = Overall centre clearances for the game - no impact on any player I just need it in there. The more important number is the percentage at the bottom which represents our overall likeliness of winning the clearance
Diff = The difference (positive or negative) between our overall percentage of winning the clearance vs. their win %.

And I’ll just throw this in - who was our first kick in a clearance chain (assuming there was one) and whether their kick was effective or not.

This Game
Player Effect Ineffect
McGrath 2 1
Parish 1 2
Caldwell 1
Langford 1
Smith 1
Shiel 1
Hind 1
Draper 1
Merrett 1

NB> The Draper one could be counted either way depending on opinion as it was a shot at goal that missed - traditionally statisticians mark points as ineffective kicks, the only exception being if that point wins the team the game.

I hope I’ve explained things well enough for people to get the gist of things. I’m planning on completing one of these for every Essendon match.

Round 2 vs. Port Adelaide

Overall Summary - 31 Bounces

Cox 27 wing
McGrath 26 (17i, 9w)
Merrett 23
Langford 21 (18w, 3i)
Shiel 19
Parish 15
Caldwell 10
Ham 4 wing
Smith 4
Cutler (s) 4 wing
Walla 2

Draper 19
Wright 12

Centre Clearances
Shiel 6
Parish 2
Wright 2
McGrath 1
Caldwell 1
Ham 1
Cahill 1

Rd 2 Impact at CB’s per Player

Player Overall A W CC E I Win % Ess CC Diff
Merrett 31 23 13 56.5% 14 11.4%
Draper 31 19 8 42.1% 14 -3.1%
Shiel 31 19 12 6 5 1 63.2% 14 18.0%
McGrath 31 17 7 1 1 41.2% 14 -4.0%
Parish 31 15 7 2 1 1 46.7% 14 1.5%
Wright 31 12 6 2 2 50.0% 14 4.8%
Caldwell 31 10 2 1 1 20.0% 14 -25.2%
Smith 31 4 1 25.0% 14 -20.2%
Langford 31 3 0 0.0% 14 -45.2%
Walla 31 2 0 0.0% 14 -45.2%
45.2%

Overall 2021 Impact

Player O A W CC E I Win % Ess CC Diff
Merrett 61 47 26 2 1 1 55.3% 28 9.4%
Draper 61 46 20 1 1 43.5% 28 -2.4%
Shiel 61 42 20 9 7 2 47.6% 28 1.7%
McGrath 61 31 14 4 3 1 45.2% 28 -0.7%
Caldwell 61 26 8 2 2 30.8% 28 -15.1%
Parish 61 26 14 5 3 2 53.8% 28 7.9%
Wright 61 15 8 2 2 53.3% 28 7.4%
Smith 61 5 2 40.0% 28 -5.9%
Langford 61 4 0 0.0% 28 -45.9%
Tippa 61 2 0 0.0% 28 -45.9%
45.9%

Key:
Overall = overall bounces for the game
A = Bounces attended
W = How many centre clearances we won when they attended a centre bounce
CC = Centre clearances for that player
E = How many of those centre clearances were effective (shot at goal, stoppage in our F50, hit a forward target)
I = How many of their centre clearances were ineffective (turnover or results in stoppage before entering our 50)
Win% = The percentage of bounces they attended that resulted in a winning centre clearance
EssCC = Overall centre clearances for the game - no impact on any player I just need it in there. The more important number is the percentage at the bottom which represents our overall likeliness of winning the clearance
Diff = The difference (positive or negative) between our overall percentage of winning the clearance vs. their win %.

First kick in a Clearance chain

This Game Overall
Effect Ineffect Effect Ineffect
McGrath 2 4 1
Parish 2 2 3 4
Shiel 2 3
Caldwell 1 2
Ham 2 2
Smith 1 1 1
Hind 1 1 1
Merrett 1 1 1
Langford 1
Draper 1

Round 3 vs. St Kilda

Overall Summary - 35 Bounces

Langford 28 wing
Merrett 27
Parish 26 (1w)
Cox 25 wing
Stringer 24
McGrath 20 (5w)
Smith 11 (1w)
Ham 8 wing
Perkins 4
Waterman 2 wing

Wright 30
Langford 3
Cox 2

Centre Clearances (18)

Parish 6
Wright 5 (3 from frees)
Stringer 3
Merrett 1
McGrath 1
Smith 1
Ham 1

Rd 3 Impact at CB’s per Player

Player Overall A W CC E I Win % Ess CC Diff
Wright 35 30 17 5 2 3 56.7% 18 5.2%
Merrett 35 27 13 1 1 48.1% 18 -3.3%
Parish 35 25 14 6 5 1 56.0% 18 4.6%
Stringer 35 24 13 3 3 54.2% 18 2.7%
McGrath 35 15 9 1 1 60.0% 18 8.6%
Smith 35 10 4 1 1 40.0% 18 -11.4%
Perkins 35 4 1 25.0% 18 -26.4%
Langford 35 3 0 0.0% 18 -51.4%
Cox 35 2 1 50.0% 18 -1.4%
51.4%

Overall 2021 Impact at Bounces

Player O A W CC E I Win % Ess CC Diff
Merrett 96 74 39 3 2 1 52.7% 46 4.8%
Parish 96 51 28 11 8 3 54.9% 46 7.0%
McGrath 96 46 23 5 4 1 50.0% 46 2.1%
Draper 96 46 20 1 1 43.5% 46 -4.4%
Wright 96 45 25 7 4 3 55.6% 46 7.6%
Shiel 96 42 20 9 7 2 47.6% 46 -0.3%
Caldwell 96 26 8 2 2 30.8% 46 -17.1%
Stringer 96 24 13 3 3 54.2% 46 6.2%
Smith 96 15 6 1 1 40.0% 46 -7.9%
Langford 96 7 0 0.0% 46 -47.9%
Perkins 96 4 1 25.0% 46 -22.9%
Cox 96 2 1 50.0% 46 2.1%
Walla 96 2 0 0.0% 46 -47.9%
47.9%

Overall/O = overall bounces for the game/season
A = Bounces attended
W = How many centre clearances we won when that player attended a centre bounce
CC = Centre clearances for that player
E = How many of those centre clearances were effective (shot at goal, stoppage in our F50, hit a target by foot)
I = How many of their centre clearances were ineffective (direct turnover or results in a stoppage before entering our 50)
Win% = The percentage of bounces they attended that resulted in a winning centre clearance
EssCC = Overall centre clearances for the game/season - no impact on any player I just need it in there. The more important number is the percentage at the bottom which represents our overall likeliness of winning the clearance for the game or season
Diff = The difference (positive or negative) between our overall likelihood of winning the clearance vs. a player’s individual win %.

First kick in a Clearance chain

This Game Overall
Effect Ineffect Effect Ineffect
McGrath 2 6 1
Parish 2 1 5 5
Merrett 3 1 4 2
Shiel 3
Stringer 3 3
Ham 1 3
Caldwell 2
Smith 1 1 2 2
Hind 1 1
Langford 1
Redman 1 1
Draper 1
Wright 1 1

Round 4 vs. Sydney

Overall Summary - 27 Bounces

Merrett 23 (2w)
Parish 22
McGrath 22 (12i, 10w)
Stringer 21
Cox 19 wing
Langford 16 wing
Smith 5
Ham 3 wing
Jones 3 wing
Snelling 1 wing

Centre Clearances 8-17 (official)

McGrath 2
Wright 2 (1 free)
Parish 2
Merrett 1*
Stringer 1

As this is Essendon-centric, I’ve given Merrett a 2nd clearance for analysis as it was one we should’ve won to official standards but screwed it up - it’d passed through 3 hands before, ultimately, Parish missed a handball and the Swans swooped.

Best Run: Bounces 5-7 (3 wins)
Worst Run: Bounces 17-21 (5 losses)

We only won 2 centre clearances in the 2nd half, though we did win 2 of the next 3 clearances after that worst run. Despite Wright being the ruck for the only 2nd half wins, Cox contested the final 3 bounces for 2 clear losses and a repeat stoppage.

Rd 4 Impact at CB’s per player

Player Overall A W CC E I Win % Ess CC Diff
Parish 27 22 8 2 1 1 36.4% 9 3.0%
Merrett 27 21 5 2 2 23.8% 9 -9.5%
Stringer 27 21 6 1 1 28.6% 9 -4.8%
Wright 27 20 8 2 2 40.0% 9 6.7%
McGrath 27 12 6 2 2 50.0% 9 16.7%
Smith 27 5 2 40.0% 9 6.7%
Cox 27 5 0 0.0% 9 -33.3%
Langford 27 2 1 50.0% 9 16.7%
33.3%

The Parish-Merrett partnership doesn’t appear to be clicking the way Shiel-Merrett has done, given McGrath has had the most impact 2 weeks running, it might be worth giving Merrett a few more wing starts.

Overall 2021 Impact

Player O A W CC E I Win % Ess CC Diff
Merrett 123 95 44 5 2 3 46.3% 55 1.6%
Parish 123 73 36 13 9 4 49.3% 55 4.6%
Wright 123 65 33 9 6 3 50.8% 55 6.1%
McGrath 123 58 29 7 6 1 50.0% 55 5.3%
Draper 123 46 20 1 1 43.5% 55 -1.2%
Stringer 123 45 19 4 4 42.2% 55 -2.5%
Shiel 123 42 20 9 7 2 47.6% 55 2.9%
Caldwell 123 26 8 2 2 30.8% 55 -13.9%
Smith 123 20 8 1 1 40.0% 55 -4.7%
Langford 123 9 1 11.1% 55 -33.6%
Cox 123 7 1 14.3% 55 -30.4%
Perkins 123 4 1 25.0% 55 -19.7%
Walla 123 2 0 0.0% 55 -44.7%
44.7%

Key:
Overall = overall bounces for the game
A = Bounces attended
W = How many centre clearances we won when they attended a centre bounce
CC = Centre clearances for that player
E = How many of those centre clearances were effective (shot at goal, stoppage in our F50, hit a forward target)
I = How many of their centre clearances were ineffective (turnover or results in stoppage before entering our 50)
Win% = The percentage of bounces they attended that resulted in a winning centre clearance
EssCC = Overall centre clearances for the game - no impact on any player I just need it in there. The more important number is the percentage at the bottom which represents our overall likeliness of winning the clearance
Diff = The difference (positive or negative) between our overall percentage of winning the clearance vs. their win %.

First kick in a clearance chain

This Game Overall
Effect Ineffect Effect Ineffect
McGrath 1 7 1
Parish 1 6 5
Stringer 1 4
Merrett 2 4 4
Shiel 3
Ham 3
Caldwell 2
Wright 2 2 1
Smith 1 2 3
Langford 1
Redman 1
Hind 1 1
Draper 1
72 Likes

2nd post (if needed)

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6th post (if needed)

fkg lol

I know Merrett is probably our best midfielder, but I definitely wouldn’t be against giving Parish some of his centre bounce attendances. Merrett can still be very effective on the wing and the Draper/Parish chemistry is just too damn good. 3 clearances from only 11 bounces attended…

6 Likes

pretty clear about the parish effect!
Great post @Dunlop

1 Like

That’s some damn good analysis, Dunlop.

7 Likes

Nice post mate. Please do this for every match if you can.

Would be really interested to see this after 5 games of data to get a true feeling of trends

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honestly you send this to the club. fantastic work

6 Likes

Well, that’s a crock of crap.

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Caldwell I can handle as we are playing a 10 game kid. But Sheil, if that trend continues needs a different role. It’s hard to justify him at the bounce instead of Parish.

The only bit that’s missing and very hard to gauge is the opposition rotations. Did Sheil go head to head with Omeara and Mitchell whereas Parish went up against Hawthorns B team. That would skew it. Impossible to know.

Great job Dunlop.

6 Likes

The difference in Shiel’s numbers V Parish’s numbers tells quite a story.

7 Likes

Love this stuff, great stuff.

Will you do stoppages too?

I think there should be a minimum for attendances to be included in the stats, because I don’t think it’s fair for Smith and Langford to be included that stat with just one attendance.

its just pure arrogance by the club thinking shiel is something he isn’t. its like we can’t admit he’s not as good as what we thought he is and he must be played in the middle at the cost of anyone

1 Like

along with a bomb threat, which bomb will be triggered if they continue to deny parish center bounces attendances.

it’s honestly a disgrace.

as far as i’m concerned we should only have one of Merret and shiel at the centre bounce at any one time and two of parish, mcgrath, caldwell (perhaps langford or a tagger for match ups)

4 Likes

he actually did his best work at half forward on Saturday, was involved in a lot of our scores.

1 Like

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