1304.5 - Stats Talk WA, Sep 2009  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 23/09/2009   
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Stats On The Mill

With footy fever firing up towards the business end of the season, let’s tackle the issue of how our local Western Australian Football League (WAFL) teams rank on the stats ladder.

But before we can even pull on the boots we need to consider our zoning. For this article we’ll assume that each team is represented by their original suburb name or the associated suburb as indicated below;

•Claremont Tigers
•East Fremantle Sharks
•East Perth Royals
•Peel Thunder (Mandurah)
•Perth Demons (Lathlain)
•South Fremantle Bulldogs
•Subiaco Lions
•Swan Districts Swans (Bassendean)
•West Perth Falcons (Joondalup)

Subiaco Lions

Western Australia has a proud sporting tradition and in 2005-06 recorded a participation rate of 70.5% in sports and physical recreation, which was higher than all of the other states apart from the ACT (79.5%), according to the ABS publication, Participation in Sports and Physical Recreation 2005-06 (cat. no. 4177.0).

The big state also recorded 50,300 Australian Rules footballers with a participation rate of 3.2%, representing 18.7% of the Australian total.

But we’re here to play footy, so let’s analyse the stats as a way of answering which WAFL team can break the lines and kick a winning score. The 2006 Census provides a myriad of dream-team like statistics for the Monday morning experts to ponder, with the bulk of the data available free from the ABS website, <www.abs.gov.au>.

In fact West Perth and East Perth supporters were most likely to monitor their footy stats online with 73% of households having internet access. Peel Thunder fans were least likely to be online, with internet access only available to 37% of households. Maybe Peel in the finals might inspire their fans to go online and read all about it?

It seems, on the other hand, that the Peel Thunder have all the experience in the world with a median age of 51, followed by Claremont (44) and South Fremantle (41). West Perth however is committed to a youth policy with a median age of only 32. Interestingly East Perth should have the longest playing list with a staggering 47% of its population aged between 17 and 35, followed by West Perth with 33%, while Peel had only 19%.

In terms of population density Subiaco smothered the opposition with 2,383 people per square kilometre, followed by East Fremantle with 2,161 and Claremont (1,986), while Peel Thunder recorded the lowest density with 929. No flooding there!
So who are the blue bloods of the WAFL competition? In relation to salary caps and earning capacity, Subiaco sits back comfortably in its leather chair and points to the ABS sponsored scoreboard showing a median individual income (weekly) in 2006 of $824, followed by East Perth ($634) and East Fremantle ($623), while Peel was in the wooden spoon position with $327.

From the Census we can also identify differences in each team’s supporter base. For example, Swans’ players should receive the most fan mail judging by the largest proportion of mail sorters residing in Bassendean.

Sharks’ players were likely to spend more time at the East Fremantle social club with the highest proportion of footballers actually living in the suburb.

The Tigers may have the greatest demand for false teeth and mouthguards with Claremont having the highest proportion of dentists.

The Bulldog’s bruising no-nonsense style of play may have resulted in South Fremantle having the highest percentage of physiotherapists and massage therapists.

Statistical Summary of WAFL Teams

The Falcons should have the biggest crowds with the highest number of ticket sellers living in the Joondalup area. The Perth Demons appear to have the muddiest jumpers with a high proportion of laundry workers in Lathlain. The Royals racked up the highest percentage of shepherds (aka livestock workers) living in the East Perth area.

But if it’s a pie, hotdog, burger or chicken and chips that you’re after then Rushton Park is the place to be as Mandurah has the highest proportion of kitchen hands living within the Peel zone.

We all know that a footy club is made up of more than just the players and coaches. So what about all those volunteers (trainers, runners, water boys, cheer leaders, banner makers, scoreboard attendants, siren blowers, orange cutters and boot-studders, etc) that help make the clubs what they are?

Well, we can see from the Census that Claremont has the highest percentage of volunteers (27%), followed by East Fremantle (23%) and Subiaco (23%), while West Perth had the least with 13%.

Interestingly from an orange cutting point of view you might have expected Peel to slice through the opposition, but they had a volunteer proportion of only 14%.

We can also do some further analysis of our WAFL teams by looking at Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas, Australia (cat no. 2033.0.55.001).

All suburbs within WA are ordered from lowest to highest SEIFA scores to create rankings. A lower rank indicates that an area is relatively disadvantaged compared to an area with a higher ranking.

So after the final siren blows we can rework the WAFL ladder based on the ABS rankings from the Index of Relative Socio-Economic Advantage and Disadvantage as follows:

WAFL Teams - Final Statistical Ladder
State Rank
State Percentile
WAFL Ladder Position*
East Fremantle858957
East Perth840935
South Fremantle782861
West Perth (Joondalup)721804
Perth (Lathlain)692766
Swan Districts (Bassendean)539603
Peel Thunder (Mandurah)7089

* At end of WAFL Home & Away rounds

Will any of this statistical number crunching count on Grand Final day? Only time will tell and may the best footy team win.

Greg Hilton
Article by:
Greg Hilton
Client Liaison Unit & former “Subiaco Little Leaguer”.