Micro Noises 153: AFLW's time to shine
Comparing women's figures to men's
Next Friday night will see the inaugural season of AFL Women's kick off and we couldn't be more excited, for a number of reasons - one of those reasons being numbers! We've been fans of women's footy for some time, having attended several Victorian Women's Football League games and a number of the exhibition matches, culminating in the All Star match played between the Bulldogs and Melbourne and Whitten Oval last September.
The skills on display in that match alone was enough to get us excited about the formation of an elite women's competition, but what's making us really excited is the fact that we are about to get a whole new set of numbers to focus on in the season ahead.
While some fans are a little bit disappointed that AFL Women's will start with only eight sides, we're kind of glad about it, as it mirrors the inaugural season of the AFL - then the VFL - in 1897, which also had only eight sides taking part. And while we're a teensy bit sad that Carlton will not be playing the Lions in AFLW round 1, just as they did in round 1 of the VFL in 1897, we're excited by the prospect of at least some of the eight scores that were recorded in round 1, 1897, being registered in round 1, 2017.
In fact, only seven different scores were seen in that opening round in 1897, with 16 being scored by both Carlton and St Kilda. The other scores seen on that day were 24, 27, 41, 44, 47 and 49. With AFLW quarters scheduled to be only 15 minutes long in the 2017 season, there's a more than reasonable chance that we'll see some of those totals replicated next weekend.
In any case, we're looking forward to reporting on records aplenty being set and broken in the coming weeks and years of AFLW. You'll be able to keep up to date with the latest AFLW scores here.
Footy's sweet 16
In Micro Noises 152, we listed the 13 players to have completed their V/AFL careers on 152 matches and asked readers to nominate the best of them. This time around, we're focusing on those who played exactly 153 matches and have asked the same question. In the case of the 152-gamers, three players came to the fore in the voting, with Bob Rose getting the nod from Denis Cordner and Derek Kickett.
The list of 153-game players, while larger, doesn't perhaps have standouts that the 152 group did, so we were unsure of which way the votes would fall. As it turned out, Cliff Rankin, a Victorian captain and Geelong premiership captain-coach and multiple leading goalkicker, led the way, along with North's sharpshooter Jock Spencer and Laurie Mithen, who was considered by many as a key to Melbourne winning five premierships in six years between 1955 and 1960.
The last word
As we did in our last edition with the 152-game players, we've left the final word on this matter to the founder and editor at-large of australianfootball.com, Adam Cardosi. And just as he did last time, Adam has ranked all 16 in order, with Rankin getting the nod ahead of South Melbourne's Jim Taylor, with Jock Spencer and 'Boxer' Milne next in line. Adam's 16, in order, are:
In previous editions of Micro Noises, we've looked at the numbers 1, 9 and 12, focussing on the number of times each of those figures had appeared as a goal and/or behind total in V/AFL history. For this edition, we've decided to look at a bit of an outlier, and since we're sitting at the keyboard typing this on the 27th day of the year, we've chosen 27.
As a relatively high number in terms of goals and behinds, we didn't expect to find too many interesting facts aligned with 27, but we were pleasantly surprised.
Here are a few of things we uncovered:
* History reveals that 63 matches have had a team kick exactly 27 goals, while teams have scored exactly 27 behinds on 38 occasions.
* 1945 and 1978 were big years for the scoring of exactly 27 behinds, with three matches seeing such an occurrence in each of those seasons. 27 behinds was also recorded twice in each of 1918, 1940, 1948, 1974, 1978, 1979 and 1991.
* Analysing the numbers by decade, it's clear that there were two 'golden eras' of 27 behinds being kicked in a match. The first of those came in the 1940s. With 27 behinds having been kicked in a match only four prior times in history—and only once in the 1930s—the '40s saw an amazing 11 occurrences of 27 behinds kicked in a match.
No sooner than the decade had ended, the phenomenon virtually disappeared. A 27-behind score was seen once in 1950 before disappearing without a trace for more than two decades. The drought was broken in 1972 and, as is so often the case, it broke with a deluge, with the 1970s seeing 12 such scores. There were six occurrences in the '80s and three in the '90s. Since then, Sydney's 24.27 kicked against GWS in 2013 is the only case of a team kicking exactly 27 behinds.
* Fitzroy was the king of kicking 27 behinds in a match, achieving the milestone seven times between 1928 (when it kicked 2.27!) and 1978—three times against Geelong—without ever having 27 behinds kicked against it. The Lions later had 27 behinds kicked against them twice, once in 1981 and once in 1991.
* On the other side of the ledger, eight of the 38 matches in which a team scored 27 behinds were against Geelong, while five were against Melbourne. The Cats had 27 behinds kicked against them twice in 1940, once each by Carlton and Fitzroy.
* 14.27 has been a final score four times, the first three instances being against Hawthorn.
* The second—and last—time a team scored 15.27 was in 1991, when Geelong kicked 15.27.117 to easily defeat Footscray at Western Oval. That match is famous for Bulldogs coach Terry Wheeler instructing captain Doug Hawkins to kick against the wind in the first quarter if he won the toss. Wheeler based that decision on ther fact that a fisherman friend had told him at dawn on the day of the match that the wind would continue get stronger throughout the afternoon. The plan backfired, with the Cats kicking nine goals to two in the first term and the Dogs never coming close to significantly narrowing the gap.
* After not having been seen in the first 28 VFL seasons, 17.27 was registered as a final score twice by Fitzroy within five weeks in 1945. It was not registered again until the 1970s, when it was recorded three times, and has not been seen since.
* 27.28 and 27.26 have only been recorded once each in 120 seasons of V/AFL, and those occurrences came less than a fortnight apart, 27.28 kicked by Geelong on April 13, 1991, and 27.26 by North Melbourne 12 days later.
Ridiculous footy anagram of the week
As mentioned above, AFL Women's begins in earnest next week and Collingwood has chosen Stephanie Chiocci as its inaugural captain. To us, it seemed like a forgone conclusion once we realised that THE MAGPIES' STEPHANIE CHIOCCI is an anagram of "ME, PIES' HIGHEST CHOICE CAPTAIN".
Micro Noises is Andrew Gigacz's regular, quirky look at all things footy. The name Micro Noises is an anagram of Enrico Misso, who played one game for St Kilda in 1985. He remains the only Enrico and the only Misso to have played footy at the highest level.