Click name to view affiliation
Effects of fixture and team characteristics on match outcome in elite Australian football were quantified using data accessed at AFLtables.com for 5109 matches for seasons 2000 to 2013. Aspects of each match included number of days’ break between matches (≤7 d vs ≥8 d), location (home vs away), travel status (travel vs no travel), and differences between opposing teams’ mean age, body mass, and height (expressed as quintiles). A logistic-regression version of the generalized mixed linear model estimated each effect, which was assessed with magnitude-based inference using 1 extra win or loss in every 10 matches as the smallest important change. For every 10 matches played, the effects were days’ break, 0.1 ± 0.3 (90% CL) wins; playing away, 1.5 ± 0.6 losses; traveling, 0.7 ± 0.6 losses; and being in the oldest, heaviest, or shortest, quintile, 1.9 ± 0.4, 1.3 ± 0.4, and 0.4 ± 0.4 wins, respectively. The effects of age and body-mass difference were not reduced substantially when adjusted for each other. All effects were clear, mostly at the 99% level. The effects of playing away, travel, and age difference were not unexpected, but the trivial effect of days’ break and the advantage of a heavier team will challenge current notions about balancing training with recovery and about team selection.
The authors are with the Inst of Sport, Exercise, and Active living (ISEAL), Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia.