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Stats Files: The AFL's kings of momentum revealed

Patrick Dangerfield and the Cats have enjoyed the biggest runs of goals in 2019 - AFL,Stats,Stats Files
Patrick Dangerfield and the Cats have enjoyed the biggest runs of goals in 2019

THE CATS might be licking their wounds after another post-bye defeat on Saturday night, but they don't have to look far for solace.

Chris Scott's side sits a game and significant percentage clear on top of the ladder, is No.1 in points for and against, applies more pressure than anyone, and no team turns an inside 50 into a goal more often. 

Geelong also happens to be the AFL's king of momentum.

The Cats are the only club yet to concede five goals in a row this season, and have given up the fewest three-goal streaks (10).

Port Adelaide was responsible for one of those blemishes to start the clubs' weekend contest and eventually won by 11 points.

 

The only other opposition side to beat Geelong – Greater Western Sydney – also enjoyed a stretch of three unanswered goals and had the final six scoring shots that day for just one major.

The same measure illuminates why Melbourne has struggled so badly in season 2019.

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On the flipside, the Cats boast the most positive runs of five goals (10) and three (28), to present a water-tight case about their status in this discussion. 

Geelong's 11 consecutive majors from early in the second quarter to 11 minutes into the third term against Richmond in round 12 is also the AFL's longest. 

 

The Cats were even involved in one of the wildest momentum-changing clashes of the year with North Melbourne in round eight.

Geelong had three streaks of at least three goals, but the Roos slotted four on the trot at one stage – the most Scott's men have conceded – and had a separate run of three as well.

As Hawthorn's four-time premiership coach Alastair Clarkson has said many times about the AFL competition: "It's a game of momentum." 

Addressing why the phenomenon happens and how to arrest it when it's against you remains one of sport's great mysteries.

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Dogs rue the two games that got away

Look away now, Western Bulldogs fans. 

Sunday's loss to Collingwood was the second time this year the Dogs' inaccuracy cost them a win, according to Champion Data's expected score metrics. 

The statistic takes into account the difficulty of a shot at goal and gives each attempt a points value based on that, so a kick from the goalsquare, for example, equates to almost six points. 

A shot on an acute angle on the boundary would be closer to one.

The Bulldogs should have won by 17 points (85-68) over the Magpies, but instead suffered a nine-point defeat (82-73). 

It was a similar story in round three, when Gold Coast upset Luke Beveridge's team by five points (73-68) but should have gone down by that difference (85-80). 

If all matches went according to expected score, the Dogs would have a 7-6 win-loss record and a percentage of 103.

Instead, they are 15th with five victories from 13 games and a percentage of 89.9.

THE RUN HOME Who will make finals?

Wayward out west

West Coast is one of the sharpest-kicking clubs in front of goal this year, but that wasn't the case at Optus Stadium on Thursday night.

The Eagles kicked 14.22 (106) to Essendon's 11.5 (71), making the 35-point margin flattering to John Worsfold's Bombers. 

 

Only twice in the past two decades has a team won by less despite having at least 20 extra scoring shots than its opposition.

Adelaide 12.28 (100) defeated North Melbourne 10.7 (67) in round 14, 2016, while Geelong 14.24 (108) downed the Eagles 12.6 (78) way back in round 20, 2000. 

Demons' big guns get it done

Melbourne was staring down the barrel of a 10th defeat in 13 matches when it trailed Fremantle by five points at three-quarter time on Saturday. 

There were several factors in why the Dees prevailed by 14 points, including the Dockers being two men down on the bench. 

Another was three standout individual performances from Max Gawn, Clayton Oliver and Tom McDonald. 

 

Looking just at the final term, Gawn amassed six disposals, one goal and 16 hitouts, nine of which went to advantage for the third time in a single term this year. 

No other ruckman has managed that feat in 2019. 

Oliver benefited with 11 disposals (nine contested) and six clearances – the 10th time a player had that many clearances in one quarter this season – while McDonald had seven possessions, two goals and two intercept possessions.