Uncharted Territory – Round 19

Written by The Salamander on July 23 2021

It’s no secret that Max Gawn’s scoring has dropped off a bit in the last month or so. The conventional wisdom is that this is down to the development of Luke Jackson, but is that the case?

First, a look at Gawn’s overall scoring pattern:

Sorry about the small axis labels… open in a new tab to view full-size.

There seems to have been a drop-off across the board in the last month.

Obviously, as a ruckman, points from ruckwork – aka hitouts-to-advantage – are going to be a big driver in his scoring:

This correlates well with his early-season output, but less so more recently.

He has seen a drop in points from ruckwork in that time, though, and, intuitively, it seems like Luke Jackson doing more ruckwork ought to be the culprit (the eye test would certainly suggest so).

But the two players’ scoring from this source often seems to go in the same direction:

We could look at this and say that although Jackson isn’t getting the points that Gawn might, because he’s still developing, and therefore doesn’t win as many hitouts, and therefore hitouts to advantage, he is taking more of the ruck work, and Gawn therefore isn’t getting the points from it that he normally would.

Still, his centre-bounce attendance percentage (CBA%) has been up-and-down all season:

As has the number of ruck contests he has attended each match (I don’t have this as a percentage, unfortunately):

Since hitouts-to-advantage is determined by the number of ruck contests attended, multiplied by hitout-win-percentage, multiplied by hitout-to-advantage rate, then putting these three factors together can show us what’s happening there:

Notably, although his ruck contest and HTA percentage numbers have fluctuated, there has been a small but noticeable decline in his hitout-win-percentage numbers in the back half of the year. So it’s not just that Luke Jackson is taking on more of the ruckwork – it’s also that Gawn is doing less well at the ruckwork he is taking.

This often tends be a function of how good or bad the opposition ruckman is at winning hitouts. I don’t have time to put together a chart of Gawn’s direct opponents, so I can’t definitively rule that in or out, but most of his recent opponents haven’t tended to be the competition’s hardest.

It could also just be a sign of poor form – or perhaps an undisclosed injury niggle – since his numbers have been down across the board, not just in the ruckwork.

Let us know in the comments if you’ve got any thoughts on where Max’s points have gone.


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