hawks

This week in Stats Central, we look at the often underrated position of the contested midfielder. We have developed a simple formula using contested possessions and clearances to calculate the top contested midfielders. Contested disposals are weighted with 1.5 points with clearances weighted with three points. This is because your average player is likely to win between 2-3 times the amount of possessions compared to clearances and there are obviously less chances for clearances than winning a possession.

There is so much talk around how important winning contested football is, but is it the be all and end all? This Stats Central may prove that while winning contested ball can help, you can be incredibly successful without particularly dominant contested players.

Players with at least 10 contested possessions AND four clearances:

1. Gary Ablett (Gold Coast) 18.3 contested possessions, 8.5 clearances = 52.95
2. Nat Fyfe (Fremantle) 18.2 contested possessions, 8.2 clearances = 51.9
3. Josh Kennedy (Sydney) 17.5 contested possessions, 6.5 clearances = 45.75
4. Joel Selwood (Geelong) 13.7 contested possessions, 8 clearances = 44.55
5. Ben Cunnington (North Melbourne) 13.2 contested possessions, 7.2 clearances = 41.4
6. Dion Prestia (Gold Coast) 14.2 contested possessions, 6.5 clearances = 40.8
7. Callan Ward (GWS) 13.2 contested possessions, 6.8 clearances = 40.2
8. Adam Treloar (GWS) 14.3 contested possessions, 6.2 clearances = 40.05
9. Brett Deledio (Richmond) 12.5 contested possessions, 7 clearances = 39.75
10. Dayne Beams (Collingwood) 13.2 contested possessions, 6.5 clearances = 39.3
11. Leigh Montagna (St Kilda) 11.8 contested possessions, 7 clearances = 38.7
12. Jack Redden (Brisbane) 12.2 contested possessions, 6.7 clearances = 38.4
13. Trent Cotchin (Richmond) 11.7 contested possessions, 6.7 clearances = 37.65
14. Matthew Boyd (Western Bulldogs) 13 contested possessions, 6 clearances = 37.5
15. Patrick Dangerfield (Adelaide) 14.3 contested possessions, 5.3 clearances = 37.35
16. Jobe Watson (Essendon) 11.8 contested possessions, 6.5 clearances = 37.2
17. Andrew Carrazzo (Carlton) 11.3 contested possessions, 6.7 clearances = 37.05
18. Marc Murphy (Carlton) 12 contested possessions, 5.8 clearances = 35.4
18. Luke Shuey (West Coast) 11.2 contested possessions, 6.2 clearances = 35.4
20. Scott Pendlebury (Collingwood) 13 contested possessions, 5.2 clearances = 35.1
21. Brock McLean (Carlton) 11.3 contested possessions, 5.7 clearances = 35.05
22. Nathan Jones (Melbourne) 11.3 contested possessions, 6 clearances = 34.95
23. David Swallow (Gold Coast) 12.5 contested possessions, 5.3 clearances = 34.65
23. Stephen Coniglio (GWS) 10.5 contested possessions, 6.3 clearances = 34.65
25. Daniel Jackson (Richmond) 11.5 contested possessions, 5.7 clearances = 34.35
25. Stephen Hill (Fremantle) 11.5 contested possessions, 5.7 clearances = 34.35
27. Travis Boak (Port Adelaide) 11.8 contested possessions, 5.2 clearances = 33.3
27. Luke Parker (Sydney) 11.8 contested possessions, 5.2 clearances = 33.3
29. Ollie Wines (Port Adelaide) 12.5 contested possessions, 4.7 clearances = 32.85
30. David Armitage (St Kilda) 10.7 contested possessions, 5.5 clearances = 32.55
31. Brent Moloney (Brisbane) 10.4 contested possessions, 5.6 clearances = 32.4
32. Steve Johnson (Geelong) 12 contested possessions, 4.7 clearances = 32.1
33. Matthew Priddis (West Coast) 13.2 contested possessions, 4 clearances = 31.8
34. Dan Hannebery (Sydney) 11.8 contested possessions, 4.5 clearances = 31.2
35. David Mundy (Fremantle) 11.3 contested possessions, 4.7 clearances = 31.05
36. Lenny Hayes (St Kilda) 11 contested possessions, 4.8 clearances = 30.9
37. Ryan Lester (Brisbane) 10 contested possessions, 5 clearances = 30
38. Bryce Gibbs (Carlton) 10.5 contested possessions, 4.7 clearances = 29.85
39. Nick Dal Santo (North Melbourne) 11.2 contested possessions, 4.2 clearances = 29.4
40. Jaeger O’Meara (Gold Coast) 10.8 contested possessions, 4.3 clearances = 29.1
41. Dayne Zorko (Brisbane) 10 contested possessions, 4.5 clearances = 28.5
41. Dom Tyson (Melbourne) 10 contested possessions, 4.5 clearances = 28.5
43. Toby Greene (GWS) 10.4 contested possessions, 4.2 clearances = 28.2

43 players by club:

4 – Brisbane, Carlton, Gold Coast, GWS
3 – Fremantle, Richmond, St Kilda, Sydney
2 – Collingwood, Geelong, Melbourne, North Melbourne, Port Adelaide, West Coast
1 – Adelaide, Essendon, Western Bulldogs
0 – Hawthorn

Hawthorn is the only club that doesn’t have a midfielder averaging at least 10 contested possessions and four clearances with Shaun Burgoyne (10 contested possessions, 3.7 clearances) the closest. It is interesting that two of the three bottom teams in Brisbane and Carlton top the inside midfielder category while clubs that have become renowned for their inside midfielders such as the Western Bulldogs, and indeed Hawthorn, are right down the bottom.

Considering Hawthorn’s success of late and this season so far, it would not be a concern given how well they are able to maintain possession and pinpoint passes around the ground with ease. With arguably their best midfielder sitting in the VFL re-earning his spot in Brad Sewell, Hawthorn are defying statistics and showing that contested football and clearances aren’t necessarily as important as some may think.

In saying that, Hawthorn are ranked eighth and seventh in the league for contested possessions and clearances respectively so they are no slouches. They pride themselves on team ethics and while other clubs have designated inside midfielders, the statistics show that Hawthorn, as a team can be successful without a dedicated inside midfielder.