The ELO rating system is widely used in professional individual and team sports to compute relative rankings of teams or individuals. I had some free time on the weekend and wrote a fairly simple MATLAB script to compute the ELO rating for each team in the Australian Rules Football League (AFL). I used the data files from AFL Tables as input to the MATLAB code. The table below lists all the ELO ratings as well as some basic statistics, such as the total number of wins, losses and draws for each team.
- I used the results of all 14,166 games played in the VFL/AFL since 1897 to create the table.
- The ranking scores of the top three teams are really close, but Hawthorn has edged out Collingwood and Geelong.
- The ELO of each team was initialised to 1200; the only exception to this rule were the Brisbane Lions which inherited the final ELO score from the Brisbane Bears. This seemed reasonable given the details of the “merger” between the Brisbane Bears and Fitzroy Lions.
- The team University withdrew from the competition for World War 1 and never came back.
- All ratings were updated using a constant K-factor of 32.
- My MATLAB script and the data file used to create this table are freely available for download here.
It would be of interest to use this data for prediction of the AFL 2013 season, perhaps using a methodology similar to the ELO++ work.