You and your magic wand again!Your statements:
"Most premiers didn't have a "strong finals series" before the Grand Final either.”
"St Kilda and Collingwood had better finals series, before the GF, than many premiers."
Let’s look at those statements against the facts.
Let’s start at 2000 looking for 11 of the 21 Premiers having strong finals series leading into the GF, and/or a stronger finals series than the Saints09 and Pies11 to see if we can disprove your statements…..
Premiers leading into GF:
2000. Essendon win by 125, 45.
2001 Brisbane win by 4.8, and 10.8.
2002 Brisbane win by 71, 56.
2003 Brisbane win their way into the GF with wins of 42, 44 points after what proved an irrelevant QF loss.
2004 Port win by 55, 6 v Saints who finished 3rd with 64 points and 128%, barely below the top 2 teams. Debatable one.
2005 Swans finals wins not overly strong.
2006 Eagles win their way in with wins of 74 and 0.10 away to Adelaide who had topped the table on 68 points and 136%. Those are strong performances.
2007 The Cats recorded a 106 point win and a 0.5 win against Collingwood. The latter game is shown by the results before and after it to be an anomaly. They happen, I am unsure why this one happened.
2008 Hawks won by 51 and 54.
2009 Cats beat by 2.2 the Dogs, who showed themselves to be very close to, if not the second best team in the finals with their finals performances. In any event, Cats were 35 ahead at 3/4 time so with no memory of the match I presume the result was never in any serious doubt. The Cats won the PF by 73 points.
2010 Collingwood win by 62, 41.
2011 Geelong win by 31, 48.
2012 Sydney win by 29, 26(bigger leads in both at 3/4 time and first match was away to Adelaide who finished regular season 68 points, 132%) As often with Sydney, these were low scoring games so strongish margins.
2013 Hawks win by 54 and 5(with +10 scoring shots.). The latter win against Cats 72 pt season, 136% so strong performance.
2014 Hawks win by 36(5.6) and 3 v Port, who imo were the best team in that finals series.
2015 Hawks win their way in with 74 and 27 point wins, the latter away to Fremantle. Strong performances as Fremantle finished top of the table.
2016. Bulldogs have straight out produced the best finals series I have ever seen.
Beat 16 win 130% Eagles away, by 47, a seriously strong performance.
Beat 17 win season 3rd placed Hawks by 23 points giving away genuine advantage playing at the MCG.
Beat 16 win season 143% highly talented GWS by 1 goal at GWS’ home ground. GWS were clearly the second best team in this finals series.
2017 Tigers win by 51, 36 v top 4 teams.
2018 Eagles win by 16 against the second best team in the finals, Collingwood, then 66.
2019 Tigers win away to Brisbane by 47, then defeat clear top team Cats(17% ahead of anyone else) by leading at 3/4 time and scoring 3.6 v 1.3 in a dominant last term and half.
2020 Tigers a middling win v Saints and a tightly fought 0.6 win away to Port who had also topped the table and recorded a strong percentage.
So what are we comparing those to…..
Saints 09 Beat 4th placed Pies who were about average at best for a 4th placed team, by 28 points but with only +3 s/s.
Fell in against the decent third placed Dogs by 7 points with three less scoring shots.
Pies 11 Beat Eagles off a strong season for 4th, in Melbourne by 20.
Fell in by 3 points with two less scoring shots v Hawks.
Now I have bolded 14 of the last 21 premiers who without any shadow of a doubt came into their Grand Finals with better finals performances than your two super teams. This shows your statements to be total nonsense.
I could mount an argument that every single Premier has come into the GF off better finals performances than your two super teams. Neither had an impressive finals win, and both were arguably lucky to win their Prelims, both recording less scoring shots than the teams they just beat.
What we can say with great certainty is that many beaten Grand Finalists come into Grand Finals with better finals wins than your two super teams…..
Collingwood 02 and 03 for a start.
Have all certainly won their way to their Grand Finals with more impressive finals performances than your two super losers.
In terms purely of finals performances, I am struggling to elevate your Pies 11 and Saints 09 ahead of Bombers 01 and Giants 19, and Port 07. All of these are arguable in different ways.
Your statements don’t wash. These teams may have enjoyed stellar home and away seasons, in fact they did. But their actual finals performances leading to their GF appearances were amongst the weakest handful recorded by any of the 26 dynasty Grand Finalists, albeit the bar is set quite high by the other clubs on the list.
I forgot, in your world losing Qualifying Finals are irrelevant. Losing a final does nothing to diminish a team's finals record!
Margins are misleading. St.Kilda had 49 to 34 inside 50's and 12 goals to 7 vs Collingwood (15-7, 122%). At no stage in the 2nd half was the result in doubt with St.Kilda leading by 20-30 throughout. Riewoldt alone (5 goals) kicked almost as many as Collingwood. A convincing win.
2-0 > 2-1
We can debate specifics but ultimately we're asking a big picture question here "Who were the toughest GF opponents?"
Ask most people who they'd rather play in a Grand Final:
1. A team who was virtually undefeated all season (except a dead rubber or 2) and then undefeated in finals?
2. A team who lost many games during the season, then was also undefeated in finals but with more convincing overall wins than team 1?
3. A team who lost many games during the season, then lost a finals game too, then had more convincing finals wins in their two subsequent winning finals, compared to the two wins of team 1?
Almost anyone would rather play team 2 or 3 and avoid team 1.
St.Kilda and Collingwood were seen at the time, as stronger than average GF teams.
In fact, heading into the 2009 and 2011 GF's, those 2 GF matchups were seen as tougher GF games- with collectively 2 stronger teams- than most, if not all, subsequent Grand Finals.
Everyone who's followed footy long term knows this is true.