AFL Teaser #2

What was unique about Adelaide’s 2023 season?

Adelaide dominated the AFL media late in the 2023 season following their match against the Sydney Swans, where Ben Keays kicked a goal with 71 seconds remaining, but the goal umpire called it a behind – believing the ball had hit the post. No score review was called.

Video evidence later proved the umpire had made a mistake, but the decision – and the result – stood. Adelaide lost the game and were eliminated from finals contention with one game (against the lowly West Coast Eagles) to play.

The AFL coming out and admitting they stuffed up might not happen too often, but it’s not the most unique thing that happened to the Crows last year.

That honour goes to a strange quirk in the fixture, when Adelaide played Brisbane in Round 11 and the Gold Coast in Round 12, before playing the Suns again in Round 21 and the Lions again in Round 22.

This was just the seventh time in V/AFL history where a team played against interstate teams (excluding Victoria, because, you know, Vic bias) from the same state in consecutive weeks twice in the same season, and the first time it happened against the two Queensland clubs.

Table: Occasions where a team has played against interstate teams from the same state in consecutive weeks twice in the same season

Season Team Game 1 Game 2 Game 3 Game 4
1996 Melbourne FREO (R5) WCE (R6) FREO (R20) WCE (R21)
1999 Brisbane Lions PORT (R3) ADEL (R4) PORT (R18) ADEL (R19)
2000 Brisbane Lions PORT (R4) ADEL (R5) PORT (R19) ADEL (R20)
Hawthorn PORT (R5) ADEL (R6) PORT (R20) ADEL (R21)
2005 North Melbourne ADEL (R6) PORT (R7) ADEL (R17) PORT (R18)
2006 Fremantle PORT (R3) ADEL (R4) PORT (R22) ADEL (QF)
2023 Adelaide BRIS (R11) GC (R12) GC (R21) BRIS (R22)

Excludes non-Victorian teams playing Victorian teams

Interestingly, the Crows had the same pattern of results on both occasions: winning the first game but losing the second.

The last time this happened was in 2006, when Fremantle played Port Adelaide and Adelaide in Rounds 3 and 4, and then again in Round 22 and the Qualifying Final. Although the Dockers beat the Power in both games, they went 0-2 against the Crows.

I’m a little surprised that four of the other six times this happened involved the South Australian teams and only one of the times involved the two West Australian teams given the Dockers joined the AFL two seasons before the Power.

I’m also surprised that when this happened to Brisbane and Hawthorn in 2000 that they were so close together – Brisbane played Port in Round 4 and Adelaide in Round 5, while Hawthorn played Port in Round 5 and Adelaide in Round 6. The same thing happened later that season.

The only instance where a team was played the two Western Australian clubs in consecutive weeks more than once in a season was Melbourne in 1996, who lost to Fremantle in Round 5 and West Coast in Round 6. The Demons would get their revenge against the Dockers in Round 20 but lost again to the Eagles in Round 21.

A club has never played the Swans and the Giants in back-to-back weeks on two occasions in the same season, although the Western Bulldogs could change this if things fall into place in the second half of the year.

The Bulldogs beat the Giants in Round 10 but lost to the Swans in Round 11. They are scheduled to play the Giants again in Round 24. If the Swans continue their good form and the Bulldogs sneak into the eight, there’s every chance we could see the sons of the west make history in an elimination final.

Collingwood also have a chance at being the first team to play GWS and Sydney in consecutive weeks on two occasions in the same season, having lost to both teams in the opening two rounds of the season.

The Magpies will play Carlton in Round 21, the Swans in Round 22, and the Lions in Round 23, so would need to play the Giants and the Swans in back-to-back finals for this to happen.

The timeframe of this stat is limited based on what data are freely/easily available and/or accessible. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you spot any errors in what I have presented.