Do Players Perform Worse Following Their Bye Rounds?

The realistic trend: 12 AFL teams lost post-bye by an average margin of 48.75 points, but is that a real issue, or just a coincidence?

The AFL bye rounds have run across a span of four rounds this year, although it is needed for the players, does it have to be dragged out with poor results to follow when there are fewer matches per round?

The bye rounds especially this season have been draining and dragged out over four weeks. Although it is crucial for players to have a mid-season break given their fatigue every weekend through the drained 24-week season, does the break benefit the players?

The bye rounds are implemented to help players recover and take a break mentally and physically from footy, but do players perform worse after having a week off footy?

Only six of the 18 teams in the competition won their matches following the bye rounds. The St Kilda Saints, Collingwood Magpies, Carlton Blues, Port Adelaide, GWS Giants, and the Western Bulldogs were the only teams to have won matches after their week off.

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Three of the six teams including the Magpies, Power, and Giants only narrowly won by less than a goal, with the Giants and Magpies taking on a team that shared the bye rounds with them.

In the first 12 matches of the home and away season the average loss of margins was 31.65 points (excluding the draw). Whereas the average loss for teams coming off their bye from rounds 13 through 16 was 48.75 points (37.64 excluding the West Coast Eagles' 171-point loss to the Sydney Swans).

Seven of the twelve teams to have lost coming off the bye lost by more than 30 points, and there seems to be a common pattern yearly of teams performing poorly after the bye rounds.

It has been a real struggle to watch during the bye rounds due to fewer rival encounters and teams struggling from the bye including many of the matches turning into blowouts.

The past four Thursday night matches where the AFL rosters the 'best' blockbuster clashes for audiences to enjoy to watch set up the weekend of footy has been very dry.

The past few Thursday night matches included the Tigers demolishing the Brisbane Lions, along with the Geelong Cats shortly following in their footsteps.

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It would be nice for the AFL bye weeks in future seasons to occur over a two to three-week schedule instead of the middle of the AFL season having been dragged out for fans.

Although the bye rounds are essential for players to recover for the second half of the season, statistics do show that teams struggle when returning in their first match following their bye.