Summer Diversions

In past years, I probably would’ve moved my focus to other things not related to sport, such as cursing the sun god that gets angrier and angrier every year, but for some reason I’ve decided to broaden the GRAFT umbrella beyond the AFL into other sports, the A-League to begin with.

I don’t just do this stuff out of my interest in sport, I also like to try out design and visualisation ideas as well. While I’ve carried over some of my personal conventions and ideas from how I present the AFL stuff, it also gives me an opportunity to redesign some things from scratch.

The GRAFT system isn’t as effective in other sports (basketball possibly being an exception) so I’ve naturally returned to the Elo system to measure things. It is essentially unmodified from the implementation used by World Football Elo Ratings. I did a number of runs against the A-League record trying out different settings, but as a starting point I’ve reverted to what are essentially the default Elo values of K-factor of 40, Home Ground Advantage (HGA) of 100 and an off-season regression to the mean of 90%.

I don’t follow any particular club in the league (something about the league being established too late for me to latch onto any one in cultish devotion) so from that point of view my impartiality should be preserved. Worth noting though, that coming into this season Sydney FC enjoyed the highest ongoing rating after last year’s performances, so they started 1709 (+209 against the baseline) and it’ll be interesting to see if the other clubs can peg that back.

As far as the design side of things, I do enjoy making the club banners as a visual aid – I don’t use official logos mostly to evade the copyright hammer, fair use considerations in Australia being so cooked – but with Melbourne City choosing to fully adopt the sky blues of their Citeh masters, I did have to think a little bit about how to differentiate that from Sydney FC. Since City are using the old Heart stripes as an away strip, and Sydney FC are going with navy sleeves this year, I’ve alluded to those cues and that might make enough of a distinction between them on the fixtures and tables.

I intend to add more features such as:

  • draw odds (currently it’s just based on winner-takes-all, which of course is daft)
  • an attack/defense measure (which may involve adding the GRAFT special sauce to work out that vector)
  • simulation projections
  • and of course the doovy visualisations that go with that.
  • club profiles

Keeping to the basics to start off with, but it’s a start.