Sport

Six degrees of separation

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October 31, 2016

Given the Goulburn Valley Football League would be prepared to consider a return to a final five series in future seasons — could it be statistically proven as strengthening the path to the premiership?

Since 2001, the GVFL has played a top six finals, and — judging by the numbers online, from a sample across the past 10 seasons — team six hasn’t seen much progress.

Whether in a 12-team competition it could be said that a top six has unintentionally achieved the proverbial ‘rewarding of mediocrity’ may be a debate for the fans, but the stats lend the claim a certain credibility.

How many times has a sixth-ranked team at the end of the regular season gone on to, say, third place outright — a preliminary final appearance?

Between 2007 and 2016, the team finishing the home-and-away rounds in sixth place on the ladder has only made it to third or beyond twice. On one occasion team six made it to fourth. Leaving seven of the last 10 years with a first-week finals elimination as the most likely outcome.

Would a top five make for a more competitive, anyone-can-win-it September surge? Ultimately, only a return to that system could truly answer the question.

In the meantime, team six has struggled overall to make a major impact in the title race — and with fans.

How the sixth sides have fared

2007: Echuca (elimination final).

2008: Echuca (elimination final).

2009: Mooroopna (elimination final).

2010: Mansfield (elimination final).

2011: Kyabram (semi-finalist).

2012: Seymour (grand finalist).

2013: Shepparton Swans (preliminary final).

2014: Mooroopna (elimination final).

2015: Euroa (elimination final).

2016: Shepparton Swans (elimination final).

—Ben Carter

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