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The use of team performance indicator characteristics to explain ladder position at the conclusion of the Australian Football League home and away season

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Not dissimilar to other elite team sports, the Australian Football League (AFL) implements a 'ladder' system to rank the performance of teams relative to their opposition. Position on this ladder is primarily operationalised by the number of wins a team accrues. This study investigated the extent to which an AFL team's ladder position was associated with their performance indicator characteristics. Thirteen team performance indicators were collated for each AFL team (n = 18), with teams being categorised according to their ladder position (ranked one to 18) at the conclusion of the 2015, 23-round, home and away season (394 observations). A higher ranked position (closer to one) was reflective of a higher performing team. Cumulative link mixed models were fitted to the data, modelling the extent to which ladder position was associated with the team performance indicators. Ladder position was significantly negatively associated with 'hit-outs', 'clearances', and 'inside 50's', respectively. Comparatively, the remaining team performance indicators were unable to significantly explain ladder position. These results show that teams ranked higher on the AFL ladder (closer to one) possess distinctive performance indicator characteristics. This data may be of use to AFL coaches and performance analysts when developing game-plans and training drill designs.
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Keywords: ORDINAL REGRESSION; PERFORMANCE ANALYSIS; TEAM SPORT; VIOLIN PLOTS

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2016

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