Monday, 25 May 2020

25-scoring-shot quarter aggregates

Ten years ago, I did a post on cases of 100 points being scored in a quarter in VFL/AFL football. A few weeks ago, I listed all 37 cases in a tabulated manner.

Having long been interested in the length of [Australian rules] football games and quarters, I have recently considered whether aggregate scoring shots rather than aggregate points scored would provide a better indication of how long a quarter or match is likely to last.

For this reason, I have looked for quarters in VFL/AFL football with at least 25 aggregate scoring shots. As a first note, I have tabulated such quarters in pink below:

Round Home Team ¼ time ½ time ¾ time
Away Team ¼ time ½ time ¾ time
Round 1, 1934 Essendon 8.2 (50) 12.5 (77) 15.9 (99) 19.11 (125) Footscray 8.7 (55) 10.13 (73) 13.15 (93) 16.18 (114)
Round 6, 1935 Carlton 2.4 (16) 12.11 (83) 15.13 (103) 20.16 (136) North Melbourne 2.5 (17) 6.9 (45) 8.12 (60) 9.14 (68)
Round 2, 1939 South Melbourne 3.4 (22) 8.11 (59) 10.14 (74) 15.17 (107) Collingwood 8.12 (60) 11.13 (79) 17.18 (120) 21.20 (146)
Round 3, 1940 Collingwood 5.4 (34) 6.8 (44) 13.18 (96) 18.19 (127) Carlton 2.4 (16) 5.6 (36) 7.13 (55) 12.18 (90)
Round 19, 1945 Carlton 5.3 (33) 12.9 (81) 14.13 (97) 23.23 (161) Geelong 1.2 (8) 2.6 (18) 7.8 (50) 9.13 (67)
Round 15, 1969 Collingwood 3.3 (21) 6.5 (41) 12.13 (85) 15.16 (106) Carlton 4.2 (26) 7.6 (48) 14.10 (94) 17.14 (116)
Round 19, 1975 South Melbourne 4.4 (28) 7.13 (55) 10.17 (77) 13.20 (98) Fitzroy 6.1 (37) 10.10 (70) 12.14 (86) 16.19 (115)
Round 1, 1977 Fitzroy 8.5 (53) 13.11 (89) 16.13 (109) 21.17 (143) Richmond 5.3 (33) 13.10 (88) 16.17 (113) 18.21 (129)
Round 6, 1977 Hawthorn 5.11 (41) 10.24 (84) 15.32 (122) 25.41 (191) St. Kilda 2.0 (12) 10.3 (63) 11.5 (71) 16.7 (103)
Round 2, 1978 Melbourne 4.7 (31) 14.15 (99) 20.20 (140) 24.23 (167) Fitzroy 5.3 (33) 8.7 (55) 16.13 (109) 23.19 (157)
Round 6, 1978 Melbourne 6.2 (38) 8.5 (53) 15.8 (98) 21.15 (141) St. Kilda 8.7 (55) 19.12 (126) 23.13 (151) 31.18 (204)
Round 13, 1978 Essendon 1.6 (12) 2.12 (24) 7.16 (58) 12.26 (98) Collingwood 3.2 (20) 9.8 (62) 11.14 (80) 14.21 (105)
Round 14, 1978 Richmond 3.5 (23) 11.15 (81) 16.15 (111) 17.20 (122) Geelong 5.3 (33) 11.4 (70) 15.8 (98) 18.9 (117)
Round 7, 1979 Footscray 4.3 (27) 10.7 (67) 13.10 (88) 22.17 (149) South Melbourne 4.4 (28) 9.6 (60) 10.12 (72) 14.17 (101)
Round 15, 1979 Melbourne 5.3 (33) 9.11 (65) 17.17 (119) 24.23 (167) South Melbourne 4.5 (29) 10.5 (65) 18.8 (116) 24.10 (154)
Round 5, 1980 Richmond 6.1 (37) 13.8 (86) 18.19 (127) 29.25 (199) Fitzroy 4.3 (27) 4.8 (32) 9.13 (67) 11.15 (81)
Round 9, 1980 Collingwood 2.8 (20) 10.18 (78) 13.23 (101) 18.28 (136) Geelong 0.7 (7) 6.10 (46) 10.13 (73) 15.15 (105)
Round 22, 1980 Carlton 5.5 (35) 9.11 (65) 19.17 (131) 21.20 (146) Fitzroy 3.5 (23) 5.11 (41) 11.14 (80) 20.22 (142)
Round 3, 1982 Richmond 4.7 (31) 12.14 (86) 15.18 (108) 25.22 (172) Essendon 6.3 (39) 12.9 (81) 14.13 (97) 16.14 (110)
Round 17, 1983 Fitzroy 2.4 (16) 14.10 (94) 16.12 (108) 20.18 (138) St. Kilda 7.6 (48) 14.7 (91) 19.14 (128) 22.17 (149)
Round 5, 1985 Hawthorn 4.8 (32) 9.16 (70) 14.18 (102) 21.23 (149) Richmond 5.5 (35) 13.10 (88) 23.11 (149) 29.14 (188)
Round 14, 1985 Geelong 7.9 (51) 10.13 (73) 14.19 (103) 17.22 (124) Footscray 7.3 (45) 12.6 (78) 17.8 (110) 23.8 (146)
Round 21, 1985 Sydney 8.10 (58) 14.15 (99) 20.17 (137) 24.21 (165) Melbourne 2.5 (17) 5.10 (40) 10.11 (71) 14.13 (97)
Round 5, 1988 North Melbourne 3.2 (20) 7.8 (50) 12.11 (83) 19.14 (128) Hawthorn 7.3 (45) 14.7 (91) 25.14 (164) 31.19 (205)
Round 1, 1989 Carlton 1.2 (8) 2.6 (18) 8.10 (58) 10.13 (73) Footscray 5.3 (33) 9.6 (60) 17.13 (115) 19.18 (132)
Round 1, 1989 North Melbourne 2.5 (17) 11.9 (75) 14.14 (98) 18.17 (125) Geelong 6.3 (39) 9.12 (66) 14.17 (101) 17.21 (123)
Round 5, 1989 North Melbourne 3.1 (19) 8.9 (57) 10.12 (72) 20.14 (134) Richmond 7.3 (45) 9.5 (59) 18.10 (118) 26.15 (171)
Round 6, 1989 Hawthorn 5.3 (33) 9.5 (59) 16.9 (105) 26.15 (171) Geelong 8.4 (52) 17.6 (108) 19.10 (124) 25.13 (163)
Round 8, 1989 West Coast 3.4 (22) 7.13 (55) 9.20 (74) 12.21 (93) Melbourne 1.3 (9) 7.10 (52) 8.12 (60) 13.17 (95)
First Semi-Final, 1989 Geelong 3.3 (21) 8.8 (56) 12.11 (83) 22.21 (153) Melbourne 1.5 (11) 3.11 (29) 8.16 (64) 12.18 (90)
Round 4, 1991 Richmond 5.8 (38) 9.10 (64) 14.12 (96) 19.13 (127) Sydney 9.4 (58) 13.8 (86) 16.14 (110) 24.20 (164)
Round 4, 1991 Brisbane 2.1 (13) 8.8 (56) 10.11 (71) 12.16 (88) Geelong 4.9 (33) 11.16 (82) 21.21 (147) 27.28 (190)
Round 6, 1991 North Melbourne 5.7 (37) 13.12 (90) 19.18 (132) 27.26 (188) Sydney 9.3 (57) 19.6 (120) 21.8 (134) 21.8 (134)
Round 21, 1991 Hawthorn 7.6 (48) 11.15 (81) 22.25 (157) 28.27 (195) Fitzroy 2.2 (14) 4.5 (29) 7.6 (48) 10.9 (69)
Round 22, 1991 Fitzroy 7.5 (47) 14.9 (93) 17.14 (116) 22.16 (148) North Melbourne 4.2 (26) 14.6 (90) 16.12 (108) 21.21 (147)
Round 13, 1992 North Melbourne 4.2 (26) 5.6 (36) 14.8 (92) 17.13 (115) Geelong 7.5 (47) 16.8 (104) 23.16 (154) 29.18 (192)
Round 23, 1992 Adelaide 5.6 (36) 14.17 (101) 17.21 (123) 24.25 (169) Geelong 1.9 (9) 4.5 (29) 8.9 (57) 11.12 (78)
Round 7, 1994 Geelong 7.3 (45) 13.9 (87) 15.12 (102) 18.16 (124) Collingwood 0.1 (1) 4.10 (34) 12.14 (86) 13.18 (96)
Round 22, 1995 North Melbourne 7.11 (53) 16.13 (109) 25.21 (171) 30.24 (204) Fitzroy 6.1 (37) 8.2 (50) 12.6 (78) 15.11 (101)
Round 5, 2001 Brisbane 3.4 (22) 9.9 (63) 12.15 (87) 25.21 (171) Fremantle 6.2 (38) 8.4 (52) 15.6 (96) 19.8 (122)
Some notable facts about 25-scoring-shot quarters:
  1. the total number of 43 is six more than the 37 century-aggregate quarters
  2. the most in one season is six in 1989
  3. the second-most is five in 1978 and five in 1991
  4. other seasons with multiple cases are 1977 (three), 1979, 1980 (three), 1985 (three), 1992 and 1995 (two in one match)
  5. the most 25-scoring-shot quarters played by any club is 11 by Fitzroy and Geelong
  6. Port Adelaide, Gold Coast and Greater Western Sydney have played no 25-scoring-shot quarters; Adelaide, Fremantle and West Coast just one
  7. Essendon have the fewest by any pre-1987 club with just three
  8. unlike century-aggregate quarters, three matches have seen two 25-scoring-shot-aggregate quarters:
    1. Hawthorn v St. Kilda, Round 6, 1977 (second and final)
    2. Melbourne v Fitzroy, Round 2, 1978 (second and third)
    3. North Melbourne v Fitzroy, Round 22, 1995 (first and third)
  9. unlike century-aggregate quarters, there has been one case in a finals match of 25 scoring shots in a quarter, between Geelong and Melbourne in the last quarter of the 1989 First Semi-Final
    • although not reching the century aggregate, this last quarter is the highest-scoring quarter ever recorded in a finals match – remarkably it was quite a rainy day
  10. of the 43 25-scoring-shot-aggregate quarters, a total of twelve were also century-aggregate quarters
    1. these twelve quarters constitute 32.43 percent of all century-aggregate quarters and 27.91 percent of all 25-scoring-shot-aggregate quarters
  11. there have been six of the consistent 22 rounds since 1970 without a 25-scoring-shot-aggregate quarter:
    1. Round 10
    2. Round 11
    3. Round 12
    4. Round 16
    5. Round 18
    6. Round 20
  12. Contrariwise, there have been six cases on Round 6, five cases on Round 5, and four cases on Round 1 and Round 22
  13. This pattern is broadly similar to those of century-aggregate quarters, though with a larger drop occurring at the height of the season in the coolest and darkest winter weather
  14. unlike century-aggregate quarters, there have been two rounds – Round 1, 1989 and Round 4, 1991 – with two games featuring a 25-scoring-shot aggregate quarter
  15. the lowest aggregate for a 25- or more-scoring-shot-quarter is 7.18 (60) between South Melbourne and Fitzroy in Round 19, 1975
  16. the lowest match aggregate with a 25-scoring-shot quarter is 25.38 (188) between West Coast and Melbourne in Round 8, 1989
  17. of the 43 quarters with 25 scoring shots, 23 have had exactly 25 scoring shots, 15 had 26 aggregate scoring shots, four had 27 aggregate scoring shots, none had 28 aggregate scoring shots, and one (the second quarter between Hawthorn and St. Kilda in Round 6, 1977) had 29 aggregate scoring shots
  18. of the 20 quarters with 26 or more scoring shots, there were three (two in one match) in 1977 and 1991. Two occurred in 1980, 1985, and 1989
  19. all of the five quarters with 27 or more aggregate scoring shots were first or second quarters – four being second quarters alone
  20. the previous point does suggest that accuracy improving as players are exhausted may be a factor in causing century-aggregate quarters to concentrate in the final quarter when players are most weary

Wednesday, 6 May 2020

A disastrous mistake for the planet

Today, in the chemist getting medicine for Mummy’s dog Lotte, I discovered that Premier Daniel Andrews has made a disastrous mistake of political expediency.

The State Government has frozen vehicle licence and registration fees in an effort to relieve poor people whose employment is affected by the worsening coronavirus pandemic. Whilst I presume this is a temporary measure and will end when and if the COVID-19 pandemic is controlled by a new drug or drugs, I fear that it will be permanent. If the freeze is permanent, it will further add to Australia’s uniquely bad environmental and climate change performance, by making ecologically unaffordable car use – which in Australia means any car use – still cheaper. This is aided by petrol prices plummeting to less than ⅒ Australia’s ecological parity price.

Under this scenario, what will happen once businesses return? Most likely, we will see the kind of traffic congestion and pollution feared by organisations like the Public Transport Users’ Association. With petrol prices stuck at basement level ever since the indexation of excise ended in 2002, without which change petrol would be over 40¢ per litre less cheap today, if businesses reopen then there will be no incentive to not use cars.

What the government needs to do – politically unpalatable as it is – is to do something to make public transport safer during the pandemic. Providing free masks and gloves not only to drivers, but also for all passengers, would no doubt alleviate fears amongst the public of using public transport. The cost of doing this I have not calculated, but a moratorium on spending on new roads and postponement of planned road-only maintenance projects – already three whole decades and counting overdue – would certainly provide enough money to protect a critical service to Australia’s ecology from long-term decimation beyond the damage of the Lonie Report, CityLink, EastLink and other unnecessary wastes of public and private money.

Sunday, 3 May 2020

The end of public transport in Melbourne?

The reality noted in my previous post that Victoria is faced with an explosion of new COVID-19 cases and a much more restrictive lockdown that will last most likely many years – Premier Daniel Andrews admitted this even when cases looked like they would fall to zero – hides something much deeper and darker.

The World Socialist Web Site – which I have known for almost two decades since its exposé on the death of gridiron lineman Korey Stringer back in 2001 – has pointed out that even in less car-dependent Britain and Ireland, bus drivers have worked without personal protective equipment, arguing that this is untenable given that twenty-nine have died in the UK. Although I have not been allowed to ride a bus since the COVID-19 pandemic began, I have zero evidence that any protective equipment has been made available to drivers, let alone to passengers, for whom it would minimise or eliminate the risk of public transport travel during a pandemic if all vehicles were sanitised. Un-sanitised public transport vehicles are a highly plausible source of the new wave of COVID-19 infections beginning to his Victoria and certain to dwarf the state’s peak in late March and early April. This is further argument that some government funds must be redirected to sanitise public transport vehicles and provide protective equipment free of extra charge for passengers as well as drivers. In the case of trains this would be difficult with so many stations un-staffed, but it would be easy with trams if entry were limited only to the front door – highly feasible with patronage as low as it is now.

From the other side of politics, the rural Weekly Times argued last Wednesday (I actually discovered the article in the Coles at Caulfield Plaza) that public transport services should be at least temporarily cut to offset the heavy losses it is incurring with patronage down by 78 percent. The Times noted public transport was already making losses before COVID-19 hit.

With COVID-19 infections in Victoria certain to grow much faster in the next weeks and months than at the first peak in late March and early April, the public is bound to perceive public transport as unsafe to a much greater degree than even then. Patronage could well decline to not 22 percent, but 2.2 percent, of pre-pandemic levels. Under such conditions, calls for “temporary” service cuts would become much louder and extent more widely amongst the ruling class and small business owners who wish to be relieved of paying taxes for services they do not use. However, there is real danger, as the WSWS have noted and experience from the previous economic downturn in the early 1990s reveals, that these services cuts will be permanent or at the very least long-term.

The demands for service cuts from rural and suburban small business owners, from wealthy businessmen and from the frustrated lower middle class is in fact likely to be so great that Melbourne’s public transport as I have known it – and deplored it as an example of what is causing global warming even as it serves as an outlet for my own recreation and exploration – is almost certain to become a true “thing of the past”. The plain facts are that:

  1. politically influential groups are unlikely to accept paying for public transport under the long-term economic crisis caused by escalating COVID-19
  2. road capacity is far too large for public transport to pay its way even with the cheapest and most bare-bones service (at least outside of the most “captive” patronage of all, schoolchildren who are too young to drive) possible
  3. people who have given up on public transport due to COVID-19 are not likely to return to it even if restrictions are completely eliminated – a situation that even Premier Andrews admits is  many years away as I write this
Given these things, public transport trips are certain to be a permanent casualty of COVID-19, even if it is not easy to see where Victoria really went so wrong, with the only possibilities being inadequate early testing and purchase of protective equipment to operate such essential services.

A never-ending and intensifying lockdown, for sure

The news that Victoria had had thirteen new cases of the novel coronavirus since last morning is sadly depressing.

Mummy and I have hoped and even expected that cases would fall to zero soon – they had been low since the middle of April and other states of Australia have had very few cases in the period. South Australia has not had a case since April 23, whilst Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory have experienced just a handful.

Although part of the increase in COVID-19 cases over the past two days may be a result of increased testing, five of twenty cases have been due to unknown domestic sources. This number is much greater than the total number of cases reported on many days since mid-April. Since it stands implausible that all these people responsible for unknown domestic cases can be traced step but step, it is almost certain that Victoria will experience:
  1. a rapid increase in COVID-19 cases, far beyond the peak of 111 cases per day at the end of March
  2. must more rigid social restrictions and closures of non-essential businesses than seen over the past six weeks, akin to those seen in many Enriched World cities
  3. an extremely long period of social distancing and lockdowns, that will last for many years unless a new drug or vaccine be found
  4. radical alterations to the economy even if and when restrictions like closures of public meeting places be eased
    • as Premier Andrews admitted when new cases in Victoria were at their low point, social distancing is here to stay until 2022 at the very earliest and probably many years beyond that
  5. major economic losses for the majority of people as the government attempts to conserve spending to deal with a long-lasting COVID crisis
The fact that Victoria has had the most rigid restrictions yet has the worst outbreaks six weeks into the crisis and has no hope of averting case and death totals far, far worse than already experienced will no doubt have profound political effects. Rural and outer suburban Australia – entirely unsuited to contagious viruses due to their oligotrophic soils and sparse population – will demand elimination of public interference into such pandemics, and desire further reductions in public services, believing city dwellers must fund these entirely from their own pockets. (A clue exists in last Wednesday’s Weekly Times). Urban dwellers actually affected by the crisis will desire a much deeper safety net and improved quarantine or sanitation to prevent such a crisis again, but this will arouse hostility in outer suburban and rural areas. The result could be either:
  1. persistent political deadlock with permanent severe lockdowns or,
  2. a ruling class attack on Australia’s democracy in favour of an authoritarian systems that does not have to consider the demands of urban dwellers for public services
Either of these scenarios is undesirable, but one or the other is a sad certainty.

Friday, 1 May 2020

All 37 century quarters

A whopping ten years ago, I did a post on the thirty-seven cases of 100 points being scored in a quarter of VFL/AFL football.

With shortening of quarters to compete with basketball, and more defensive play on drier grounds – like virtually every change in football since the Lonie Report, designed with the goal of preventing basketball supplanting [Australian Rules] football – there have been no cases since 2010 and it is not likely there will ever be any as a shortening of quarter to ten minutes each is likely in the behind-closed-doors world of post-COVID-19 football.

In the table below, quarters with over 100 points scored are highlighted in pink.
Home team ¼ time ½ time ¾ time Away team ¼ time ½ time ¾ time
Round 12 1919 South Melbourne 2.5 (17) 6.7 (43) 12.11 (83) 29.15 (189) St. Kilda 0.0 (0) 2.2 (14) 2.6 (18) 2.6 (18)
Round 1 1934 Essendon 8.2 (50) 12.5 (77) 15.9 (99) 19.11 (125) Footscray 8.7 (55) 10.13 (73) 13.15 (93) 16.18 (114)
Round 8 1934 Essendon 6.4 (40) 14.12 (96) 19.14 (128) 29.16 (190) North Melbourne 3.3 (21) 6.5 (41) 9.11 (65) 15.13 (103)
Round 1 1940 Melbourne 9.6 (60) 13.11 (89) 17.17 (119) 22.19 (151) Geelong 7.2 (44) 15.4 (94) 19.9 (123) 24.10 (154)
Round 21 1970 Richmond 2.4 (16) 13.7 (85) 16.11 (107) 23.13 (151) Essendon 2.1 (13) 7.2 (44) 9.5 (59) 11.11 (77)
Round 2 1975 Essendon 5.1 (31) 9.2 (56) 13.3 (81) 15.5 (95) Carlton 1.4 (10) 15.5 (95) 22.9 (141) 27.13 (175)
Round 6 1977 Hawthorn 5.11 (41) 10.24 (84) 15.32 (122) 25.41 (191) St. Kilda 2.0 (12) 10.3 (63) 11.5 (71) 16.7 (103)
Round 20 1978 South Melbourne 8.2 (50) 14.3 (87) 19.6 (120) 24.11 (155) Geelong 9.3 (57) 18.3 (111) 21.7 (133) 26.11 (167)
Round 15 1979 Melbourne 5.3 (33) 9.11 (65) 17.17 (119) 24.23 (167) South Melbourne 4.5 (29) 10.5 (65) 18.8 (116) 24.10 (154)
Round 18 1979 Richmond 5.7 (37) 12.14 (86) 20.17 (137) 28.22 (190) St. Kilda 4.2 (26) 8.5 (53) 10.9 (69) 18.11 (119)
Round 22 1980 Carlton 5.5 (35) 9.11 (65) 19.17 (131) 21.20 (146) Fitzroy 3.5 (23) 5.11 (41) 11.14 (80) 20.22 (142)
Round 8 1981 Hawthorn 2.1 (13) 7.7 (49) 11.14 (80) 21.18 (144) Fitzroy 3.6 (24) 7.12 (54) 10.17 (77) 16.19 (115)
Round 7 1982 Melbourne 4.0 (24) 7.4 (46) 16.6 (102) 22.11 (143) North Melbourne 7.5 (47) 17.8 (110) 25.10 (160) 28.12 (180)
Round 9 1982 Richmond 2.6 (18) 7.7 (49) 12.11 (83) 21.13 (139) Footscray 2.2 (14) 3.5 (23) 7.9 (51) 14.14 (98)
Round 7 1983 Sydney 7.4 (46) 10.6 (66) 15.6 (96) 18.10 (118) Carlton 1.3 (9) 14.7 (91) 15.12 (102) 22.17 (149)
Round 11 1983 Melbourne 6.3 (39) 10.6 (66) 16.9 (105) 18.17 (125) North Melbourne 4.5 (29) 5.9 (39) 15.13 (103) 20.19 (139)
Round 17 1983 Fitzroy 2.4 (16) 14.10 (94) 16.12 (108) 20.18 (138) St. Kilda 7.6 (48) 14.7 (91) 19.14 (128) 22.17 (149)
Round 3 1984 Carlton 2.1 (13) 9.3 (57) 12.7 (79) 15.7 (97) Geelong 2.3 (15) 11.6 (72) 16.9 (105) 19.12 (126)
Round 11 1984 Fitzroy 8.2 (50) 14.7 (91) 19.10 (124) 25.16 (166) North Melbourne 4.5 (29) 10.7 (67) 21.11 (137) 23.14 (152)
Round 3 1985 Carlton 4.3 (27) 8.7 (55) 15.10 (100) 22.13 (145) North Melbourne 5.3 (33) 7.6 (48) 13.14 (92) 22.15 (147)
Round 5 1988 North Melbourne 3.2 (20) 7.8 (50) 12.11 (83) 19.14 (128) Hawthorn 7.3 (45) 14.7 (91) 25.14 (164) 31.19 (205)
Round 19 1988 Hawthorn 7.5 (47) 11.9 (75) 19.10 (124) 27.16 (178) Fitzroy 1.2 (8) 3.9 (27) 7.12 (54) 15.14 (104)
Round 5 1989 North Melbourne 3.1 (19) 8.9 (57) 10.12 (72) 20.14 (134) Richmond 7.3 (45) 9.5 (59) 18.10 (118) 26.15 (171)
Round 6 1989 Hawthorn 5.3 (33) 9.5 (59) 16.9 (105) 26.15 (171) Geelong 8.4 (52) 17.6 (108) 19.10 (124) 25.13 (163)
Round 15 1989 Brisbane 0.4 (4) 5.7 (37) 7.10 (52) 11.11 (77) Geelong 4.4 (28) 9.8 (62) 10.13 (73) 22.19 (151)
Round 22 1989 Hawthorn 3.2 (20) 12.7 (79) 17.11 (113) 28.13 (181) St. Kilda 2.5 (17) 4.8 (32) 7.10 (52) 13.13 (91)
Round 5 1991 Melbourne 9.1 (55) 15.7 (97) 20.12 (132) 28.14 (182) North Melbourne 9.1 (55) 12.6 (78) 13.7 (85) 17.10 (112)
Round 6 1991 North Melbourne 5.7 (37) 13.12 (90) 19.18 (132) 27.26 (188) Sydney 9.3 (57) 19.6 (120) 21.8 (134) 21.8 (134)
Round 15 1991 Sydney 1.5 (11) 4.6 (30) 7.8 (50) 14.10 (94) Melbourne 4.6 (30) 7.11 (53) 16.18 (114) 26.21 (177)
Round 22 1991 Fitzroy 7.5 (47) 14.9 (93) 17.14 (116) 22.16 (148) North Melbourne 4.2 (26) 14.6 (90) 16.12 (108) 21.21 (147)
Round 7 1992 Brisbane 2.2 (14) 2.4 (16) 7.8 (50) 11.9 (75) Geelong 7.4 (46) 16.9 (105) 23.14 (152) 37.17 (239)
Round 13 1992 North Melbourne 4.2 (26) 4.6 (36) 14.8 (92) 17.13 (115) Geelong 7.5 (47) 16.8 (104) 23.16 (154) 29.18 (192)
Round 4 1994 Hawthorn 2.0 (12) 4.4 (28) 9.6 (60) 11.7 (73) Carlton 6.2 (38) 8.6 (54) 19.9 (123) 24.16 (160)
Round 17 1998 Carlton 7.6 (48) 18.8 (116) 25.8 (158) 29.11 (185) Western Bulldogs 3.1 (19) 9.4 (58) 11.10 (76) 15.15 (105)
Round 1 2000 North Melbourne 3.4 (22) 9.7 (61) 12.11 (83) 16.15 (111) West Coast 6.0 (36) 17.4 (106) 22.7 (139) 24.10 (154)
Round 5 2001 Brisbane 3.4 (22) 9.9 (63) 12.15 (87) 25.21 (171) Fremantle 6.2 (38) 8.4 (52) 15.6 (96) 19.8 (122)
Round 16 2007 Richmond 7.4 (46) 7.7 (49) 10.9 (69) 15.10 (100) Port Adelaide 9.3 (57) 13.6 (84) 19.9 (123) 24.11 (155)

Tuesday, 14 April 2020

Docklands: an odd harbinger of sport‘s future

Although I have long been suspicious that – as those close to me like to presume – sport will return to something like what it was before the COVID-19 pandemic, this article by Dr. Ezekiel Emmanuel shows beyond doubt that this is unlikely.

For a start, no vaccine has been found against any past coronavirus. A drug is a more promising solution, but Dr. Emmanuel says that it is extremely unlikely that lockdown laws will end altogether for eighteen months, or before October 2021. In the context of the shut-down sporting industry, this has several implications:
  1. Given the extreme risk of transmission of such a contagious virus, it is unlikely spectators will attend again anywhere before the 2021/2022 southern summer sporting season
    • Even a return of spectators in 2021/2022 is by no means certain or even likely
    • The longest possible time before spectators might return is not even noted or discussed, as if it is plausible that many years might pass before spectators return
  2. Sports that do return will have to play with no spectators until at least the 2021/2022 southern summer season and possibly for many seasons beyond
  3. Sports that do play will be totally reliant on television (and perhaps radio) audiences for several complete seasons and a revised revenue model will be required
  4. It is quite probable that sports that do return will play in neutral venues in remote areas freed from COVID-19
So far, sporting commentators have ignored the long-term implications of the points noted above. However, it is clear to me from my knowledge of the history of cricket and [Australian rules] football that the unavailability of the traditional live audience will have profound, permanent, long-term effects on how sports are played:
  1. Because television’s main revenue source – corporate advertising – is likely to return several seasons before spectators do, television contracts will grow rapidly once sport returns without spectators
  2. Sports leagues and rule-makers will have at least one season and most likely three or four to adjust rules to make their sports more suitable for television
  3. These changes will no doubt:
    1. Make sporting contests much shorter and more stop-start-stop-start-stop to fit in more games and advertisements on television
    2. Make playing top-level sport more exclusive by requiring more specific and specialised body types to play particular sports
    3. Make playing sports much riskier because shorter playing periods and stop-start play will allow players to put much more energy into short bursts, creating much more intense contact (no necessarily player-to-player)
  4. The changes noted in (3) will make it much less worthwhile to attend sports with the much smaller quantity of play
  5. The requirement of strict quarantine for players to protect against contagious COVID-19 and future viruses will no doubt mean that sport will be much more confined to the major leagues than before the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • The only exception will be junior leagues for players too young to play in the major leagues
    • Rather than have minor leagues, players of lesser ability will serve in the major leagues as reserve players, creating systems akin to the “huge interchange bench” feared by Eddie McGuire in my old Football Year 1991
  6. Lack of minor leagues will produce much more pruning of junior players
    • However talent pools will be much smaller due to more rigid size requirements (à la telegenic basketball and volleyball) as discussed in point (3(3)).
  7. Players will be required to develop at much younger ages due to absence of opportunities in lower leagues for slow-developing talent.
    • Typically they will go from high school to high-level professional leagues – previously a great rarity seen only for such precocious talents as the late Kobe Bryant
There is, in fact, a very strong possibility that sports when they do return will be under a totally new model, but one reminiscent of the changes brought about on [Australian rules] football by the replacement of Waverley by Docklands twenty years ago. The creation of closed-roof stadiums has mimicked this to some extent in other sports, but it may not have had the same effect it has on football.

What is unique to the AFL but which COVID-19 may make the global norm is centralised grounds, where all matches are played at a few nearby venues. Although the AFL has centralised grounds only for its Melbourne matches, it is possible that MLB and the NHL may adopt this policy for entire post-COVID-19 leagues. It is indeed possible that outdated facilities – as the VFL’s old suburban grounds were due to of of government neglect, health regulations or fixed ticket prices – will not be replaced.

It is also possible that – as has happened in the AFL to a considerable extent since the phase-out of the suburban grounds – teams will no longer be identified geographically or locally but will be truly global businesses identified by name (what we could call “brand”). There is some advantage to this in that teams may not be able to be located in unviable markets and will have to work out themselves where to look for supporters; however, I have not spent any time looking at the full implications.

Whilst under present conditions this new model may be necessary, experience watching football and other sports makes me more than critical. It is a model of restricted opportunities, necessarily fast player development, and potentially very high injury risk. All of this I have recognised ever since studying not merely football and the transition to Docklands, but even cricket and the transition away from first-class cricket – which has been played for the last time before I write this – to one-day and 20/20 forms.

Thursday, 19 March 2020

Australia’s grave failure

With the whole of life in Australia likely to be altered for up to eighteen months by the COVID-19 – originally known as “novel coronavirus” – pandemic and being extremely angry at the risks of travelling on public transport as I like to do, it stands remarkable that some of the resource-poorest nations in the world have been the few able to properly respond, as Time demonstrated four days ago.

As resource-impoverished Taiwan demonstrated, Australia could have dealt with this pandemic by:
  1. pre-emptively ensuring complete isolation from known sources by immediately grounding passenger planes and ships, preferably without costly mitigation to airlines
  2. ensuring as many people as possible are tested and isolated if positive
  3. immediately sanitising and sterilising all large indoor meeting places and public transit vehicles
  4. aiming to raise as much money as possible for these purposes
    • A temporary $1 or even $2 per litre levy on all motor fuels would I feel be highly suitable for this purpose
    • even an $2 levy at the maximum price in the weekly cycle would leave petrol at $3.60 per litre
    • given Australia’s lamentable greenhouse emissions record such a price in no way stands unjust
The problem was the power of vested interest lobby groups, a worse problem in Australia than just about anywhere in the world. Air transport, for instance, would have vehemently opposed an immediate shutdown of operations without mitigation. Given the power these corporations hold globally – as seen in debates over greenhouse gas emissions, where corporations who should be paying the full costs of climate change globally can increase their emissions – they possess great responsibility in times of crisis.
1946 Wisden similar to one of mine held at a bookbinder
These have not been fulfilled at all: the Liberal Party government is clearly more concerned to protect the mining magnates’ wealth than to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at minimal cost to ordinary Australians.

In recent discussions with my mother, she has noticed how Australia has not even been spraying its public transport to reduce the risk of transmission in the most ecologically necessary of all social services. In contrast, East Asian nations are spraying even external areas of their cities, as I watched on a video yesterday. Australia with its immense natural resources ought certainly to have enough money to do this so that public transport and other businesses can have their risk minimised.

As things stand, there exists a risk of a complete shutdown of public transport in Melbourne, and even of important services that hold some of my own property including a 1946 Wisden – although I have accepted my mother driving me there if the shop be still open. There is also the risk that there could be permanent changes to Australia’s economy and the shutdown of many small businesses. All of this would have been averted if Australia had responded promptly. So would (Australian rules) football and rugby games behind closed doors – a not improbably permanent move even beyond when and if the pandemic does subside.

The WHO’s blind spot

In recent days with the threat of a complete lockdown in Australia, and already being extremely angry at the potential loss of public transport which I so love, as well as not being able to go to public libraries, there is one thing I have realised.

That is that the World Health Organization – who declared COVID-19 a pandemic eight days ago – has a major blind spot about the quarantine of international travellers.

Have a look at the final question on this extremely familiar (to me) Australian incoming passenger card:
Australian incoming passenger card. Note that there is no question about visiting South or East Asia, although that region’s ecology is more suitable to microbe growth than Africa or eastern South America
The question reads:
“Were you in Africa, South/Central America or the Caribbean in the last 6 days?”
The reason for this requirement is to exclude dangerous infectious diseases – mainly yellow fever – from Australia. Tropical Asia has never had yellow fever, which originated in prehistoric times from African monkeys and spread with slavery to tropical Latin America. Yellow fever was the first virus to be isolated – even before the invention of the electron microscope – and for this reason tropical Asia, even at much lower levels of development than today, successfully quarantined it.

Nonetheless, as Anthony Mills and Antoni Milewski showed in their ‘Does Life Consistently Maximise Energy Intensity’ – which celebrates its tenth anniversary this month – the most favourable environment for microbes is one with an abundance of catabolic nutrients. Catabolic nutrients are almost always chalcophile elements, which form covalent bonds with less electronegative nonmetals like carbon, phosphorus and sulfur. Because they are highly volatile and form dense sulfide minerals, chalcophile elements are, on Earth, bidirectionally depleted from the crust. They are depleted both by:
  1. core formation which is estimated to take up 99 percent of the dense chalcophile minerals
  2. evaporation into and from the atmosphere which loses the volatile chalcophiles to space
Within the crust chalcophile elements are intensely concentrated at plate boundaries where they can be uplifted from greater depths. Consequently, they are highly enriched in areas of high mountains, excluding mountains built from acidic igneous rocks, and further depleted on old tropical cratons.

If we follow Mills and Milewski’s criteria and add the requirement of hot or warm temperatures for microbial growth, tropical Asia, alongside Mesoamerica and Andean South America, becomes more favourable for microbial growth than less eutrophic Africa or non-Hispanophone South America. The humid subtropics of Asia and especially the hypereutrophic Pampas of South America also stand out as highly favourable for microbes.

Thus, even if yellow fever and other endemic infectious diseases are absent from tropical Asia, what COVID-19, and even SARS, does demonstrate is the need for quarantine of travellers exiting tropical and East Asia equal to that for those exiting Africa and Latin America. If travellers had been so quarantined when COVID-19 broke out, it would not have spread into communities outside China.

Friday, 6 March 2020

Not a second “amazing blunder by a plumber”

Around six years ago I discovered a remarkable case in Norway in 2006 of beer instead of waster being connected to a water pipe! It seems utterly incredible to me that a plumber could make the mistake described here.

However, tonight my brother said that recently in Italy there was a second “amazing blunder by a plumber” whereby last Wednesday (4 March 2020), in Castelvetro di Modena about 200 kilometres from Milan, domestic taps started spewing local red Lambrusco wine instead of drinking water.

In reality, however, this was utterly different from the case in Kristiandsund, where beer hoses were hooked by a careless plumber to Miss Haldis Gundersen’s water pipes. Miss Gundersen, a fifty-year-old pub owner, said that the beer was not tempting to her patrons.

In Castelvetro di Modena, however, rather than have pipes wrongly connected, wine due for bottling was accidentally introduced into the local water supply by the ‘Cantina Settevetro’ winery. Unlike in Haldis Gundersen’s bar, plumbers were entirely uninvolved in what was described as a “miracle” of water turning into wine.