By Ronny Lerner
Essendon fans might be thinking to themselves that Friday night’s assignment against Richmond is “Mission: Impossible”.
After all, the Tigers are sitting pretty on top of the ladder, are favourites to win a second premiership in a row and have won a record-breaking 19 games in a row at the MCG.
But there is a glimmer of hope for the Bombers – Richmond have sewn up a top-two spot already.
Why does that help Essendon I hear you ask? Well, since 2008, teams who have sewn up a top-two spot late in the season only have an 8-8 win-loss record.
Whether it be because of mentally switching off, resting players, or just not being good enough on the day, teams who lock in a home qualifying final before the end of the season only have a 50 percent winning rate in the past nine seasons.
Games involving teams who sew up top-two spot (2009-2017)
R18, 2009: St Kilda 13.16.94 def. Sydney 13.15.93
R19, 2009: St Kilda 10.14.74 def. Hawthorn 7.7.49
R20, 2009: St Kilda 16.12.108 lost to Essendon 16.14.110
R21, 2009: St Kilda 8.11.59 lost to North Melbourne 10.4.64
R21, 2009: Geelong 14.12.96 lost to Western Bulldogs 16.14.110
R22, 2009: St Kilda 17.12.114 def. Melbourne 10.7.67
R22, 2009: Geelong 14.10.94 def. Fremantle 8.6.54
R21, 2010: Collingwood 6.18.54 def. Adelaide 7.9.51
R22, 2010: Collingwood 13.17.95 lost to Hawthorn 15.8.98
R22, 2011: Collingwood 14.18.102 def. Brsbane Lions 13.6.84
R23, 2011: Collingwood 20.12.132 def. Fremantle 8.4.52
R24, 2011: Collingwood 8.5.53 lost to Geelong 22.17.149
R23, 2013: Hawthorn 17.10.112 def. Sydney 16.4.100
R23, 2014: Sydney 9.11.65 lost to Richmond 10.8.68
R23, 2015: Fremantle 8.5.53 lost to Port Adelaide 18.14.122
R23, 2017: Adelaide 10.11.71 lost to West Coast 15.10.100