Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
from September 2014
©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2006) 05, 509 - 516

Research article
A Probability Based Approach for the Allocation of Player Draft Selections in Australian Rules Football
Bedford Anthony , Adrian J. Schembri
Author Information
School of Mathematical and Geospatial Sciences, RMIT University, Bundoora, VIC, Australia

Bedford Anthony
✉ School of Mathematical and Geospatial Sciences, RMIT University, Bundoora, VIC, Australia
Publish Date
Received: --
Accepted: --
Published (online): 15-12-2006
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Australian Rules Football, governed by the Australian Football League (AFL) is the most popular winter sport played in Australia. Like North American team based leagues such as the NFL, NBA and NHL, the AFL uses a draft system for rookie players to join a team’s list. The existing method of allocating draft selections in the AFL is simply based on the reverse order of each team’s finishing position for that season, with teams winning less than or equal to 5 regular season matches obtaining an additional early round priority draft pick. Much criticism has been levelled at the existing system since it rewards losing teams and does not encourage poorly performing teams to win matches once their season is effectively over. We propose a probability-based system that allocates a score based on teams that win ‘unimportant’ matches (akin to Carl Morris’ definition of importance). We base the calculation of ‘unimportance’ on the likelihood of a team making the final eight following each round of the season. We then investigate a variety of approaches based on the ‘unimportance’ measure to derive a score for ‘unimportant’ and unlikely wins. We explore derivatives of this system, compare past draft picks with those obtained under our system, and discuss the attractiveness of teams knowing the draft reward for winning each match in a season.

Key words: AFL, probability, draft, importance

           Key Points
  • Draft choices are allocated using a probabilistic approach that rewards teams for winning unimportant matches.
  • The method is based upon Carl Morris’ Importance and probabilistic calculations of making the finals.
  • The importance of a match is calculated probabilistically to arrive at a DScore.
  • Higher DScores are weighted towards teams winning unimportant matches which in turn lead to higher draft selections.
  • Provides an alternative to current draft systems that are based on ‘losing to win’.
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