Look away now, Collingwood fans.
Lining up the Magpies and their qualifying final opponent Geelong according to key stats measures across the 2022 season, the differences are stark.
On Champion Data’s “premiership runway” ladder that drills down to the past six weeks to see which flag contenders are hitting finals in form, Geelong surprisingly ranks third behind Sydney and Melbourne. But there is a big gap from the Cats to fourth-placed Richmond, and a chasm to Collingwood, which ranks last of the eight finalists and 15th in the competition overall.
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On Champion Data’s “core four” premiership metrics Geelong ranks second, second, seventh and ninth while Collingwood sits 16th, first, 16th and 17th.
The Pies’ clear strength is their defence, which has held up in the face of a wave of opposition attacking thrusts – in the past six weeks the Magpies have conceded an average 56 inside-50s a game.
But worryingly Geelong has the second-best offence in the competition – and the second-best defence. Can the Collingwood wall hold?
“I just get concerned the whole game might get on top of them,” North Melbourne champion David King said on Pure Footy.
“Geelong can get you in so many ways … I think they’re a lock to win this game.
“In my opinion it will only be a freak event that will stop them winning the premiership, and it won’t be this game.”
Champion Data analyst Daniel Hoyne said there was one path for the Magpies to spring a huge boilover.
“The only way Collingwood can win this game is if they have a presure game of 200-plus,” he said.
“In the second half against Melbourne a few weeks ago their pressure was 205 – they win the half, they get back in the game and they win that game. The first half was about 180 and they should have been six goals behind.
“Against Geelong in that third quarter in round 3 their pressure was 205 and they scored nine goals. It dropped to 170 (in the last quarter) – game over.
“They are going to have to have an unbelievable pressure game from start to finish to give themselves a chance to deny Geelong what Geelong want to do.”
In a special finals preview episode, King and Hoyne dissect all four match-ups this weekend and reveal the keys to victory.
Originally published as Pure Footy: David King and Daniel Hoyne look at key stats, trends for first week of finals