So, this year there was a lot of work being done behind the scenes to try and keep growing the statistics of the league. We’ve now got senior game records for 13 seasons (plus finals games for previous seasons) and for juniors, 12, since it’s inception in 2005. For those who want to work it out, that’s over 600 games for seniors and 400 for juniors.
For this season, the senior division experienced an average of 145 attendance, this is, per team, 26 people. The highest being Round 10 with 34 and the lowest, Round 14 with 23. The club with the highest attendance average was the Vipers, with 72% of all registrations participating in each available game. Closely followed by the Jets and Broncos (73% and 72% respectively). In the juniors, the average round was attended by 123 people, 18 per team. The highest being Round 9 (22) this time but Round 14 as the lowest with 15 (however some data is still to be collected so that will rise).
Since our scoring records only go back to 2004, it’s hard to gauge scoring records for the senior teams so we’ll just recognise what’s been scored since records began. That being said, the Wolverines passed a milestone last season which wasn’t recognised, which was scoring 1000 points. While this season wasn’t the best performance, it is still an achievement to get there since launching the senior team in the 2010-11 season. The Saints hit 3000 points (Currently 3074) during the season, joining the Steelers, Blitz and Broncos who’d already met that figure in previous seasons.
Several milestones were passed this season with Mark McPharlin (Saints) celebrating his 250th game (league and state appearances combined) during the season, if he keeps it going he’ll be at 250 for league games sometime in the 2017-18 season. While not having as many games, Connor Liddelow of the Perth Blitz celebrated his 50th in the first game of the season, still a worthwhile milestone. At the other end of the spectrum, 144 players played their first games in the senior ranks whether they be juniors who were playing up or first time players taking to the field for the first time.
In the juniors division, Zac Bidwell of the Perth Blitz also passed his 50 game milestone earlier in the season. Zac has been a part of every season of the Blitz juniors, even managing to get on the field during a seniors game at the same time as his father, Barry Bidwell, before he retired during the 2014-15 season.
In the scoring ranks, Luke Hegney (Saints) got over 100 points for the season, ending in top spot at 114 with Austin Winston (Vipers, 96 points) and Doug Stewart (Saints, 96 points) sharing the next two spots but with Austin edging out Doug by having scored more TDs during the season to take 2nd place. Austin was the only one to break a PPG average of 10 with 10.7, however Luke was close with 9.5.
Ronelle Stephens (Vipers, 238 points, 2014-2016) had his top position on the overall scoring ladder (records from 2013 onwards) taken away by Daniel Strickland (Saints, 2013-) after he closed and then passed Ronelle’s tally, finishing the season with 242 points overall. Luke Hegney (Saints, 210 points, 2015-) cruised past 200 points over 2 seasons in Round 13, a feat also only held by Ronelle previously which no one else has come close to. Michael Ranieri of the Jets also has the honour of being the only person to score a field goal conversion (Round 11) all season. Well done Michael.
Over in the juniors, William Bevan (Jets) topped the scoring with 123 points, with Damien Cabot (Broncos, 91 points) and Carlin Feely (Jets, 76 points) rounding out the podium spots. Will also sits atop the scoring ladder for Juniors with 159 points over 2 seasons. He and Carlin Feely (Jets, 137 points) pushed out Mitchell Crookes (Vipers, 118 points) into 3rd place with the young Viper out for a large part of the season with injury.
These numbers wouldn’t have been possible without the help of the staff of all the clubs in the league and the officials that run the game. This and more statistics are being made more comprehensive every year and in doing so, can show a history of the sport we love in this state and how it’s changed and grown over time. Increasing the number of stats collected still comes down to club effort, however so we will need your help if we’re to make them better. If your club already collects those stats, get them to us and we will incorporate them into what we’ve already got, that includes historical stats, too!
Bring on the finals! Good luck to all who are taking the field.