AFL FOOTBALL throws up all manner of statistical data, some of which is only unearthed after considerable digging.
Such painstaking work is the preserve of the AFL's stats department – led by the League's history and stats consultant Col Hutchinson.
Their recent research has revealed a surprising shift in the most common winning margin, a newly rare instance of all goals being scored at one end, and a unique scoreline.
Footy's most common winning margin is now … two points
For many years, more games were decided by one point than any other margin.
But following an unlikely string of results in 2018, the most common margin in League history is now two points.
In a marginal call, two-point results (of which there have been 334) have edged past one-pointers (331).
So just to clarify, two points is now No. 1 and one point is No. 2.
And the one-point wonders are now under threat from their five-point counterpart (329), which clawed closer courtesy of West Coast's thrilling victory by that narrow margin against Collingwood in last year's grand final.
During the 2018 campaign a season-high eight games were decided by two points. They included Geelong's home victory over Melbourne following Zach Tuohy's post-siren goal in round 18, and Sydney's upset of Collingwood at the SCG two weeks later.
In contrast, just a solitary game ended in a one-point gap - Hawthorn's nail-biting win over Geelong in their Easter Monday clash in round two.
In their return clash the Hawks pipped the Cats by 11 points, continuing a phenomenal rivalry in which 14 of their 23 clashes since 2009 have been decided by no more than two goals.
The 2018 season produced 50 margins of no more than 12 points. That places it third on the all-time list, behind 2014 (55) and 2002 (51).
The lowest margin yet to eventuate is 136 points. Geelong came close in posting last year's biggest victory, by 133 points over Fremantle at GMHBA Stadium in round 22.
- There have also been 158 draws, ranked 44th.
Twelve goals, all at one end
Gold Coast fans didn't have much to cheer about last year but they enjoyed a history-making start under new coach Stuart Dew.
When the Suns hosted North Melbourne in their season-opener on a rain-drenched Cazaly's Stadium in Cairns, they won by 16 points in a game that favoured the team kicking with the tide.
For the first time in more than 40 years, every goal – all 12 of them – was scored at one end.
Pity the fans sitting at the other end, where the Suns and the Roos scrounged just 10 behinds between them.
Overall, there have been 39 games in which every goal has been scored at one end. The bulk of them (24 to be precise) occurred in the League's first 17 seasons from 1897-1913 when scoring was generally much lower than modern standards.
Rd 12, 1977
Carl 3.13 (31) d Geel 2.12 (24)
Rd 1, 2018
GC 7.13 (55) d NM 5.9 (39)
Cazalys Stadium (Cairns)
Swans chalk up a unique scoreline
Sydney lost its round 15 clash with Richmond by 26 points at Docklands but John Longmire's men created history by becoming the first team in 121 years of League football to score 11.1 (67).
It was the first time in eight years, and just the 26th time in history, that a team total had included just one behind.
Football's most frequent scoreline remains 12.12 (84). That's eventuated 268 times, closely followed by 10.12 (72) and 11.13 (79) – the latter being West Coast's winning total in the grand final.
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