Greatest Dynasty of the 21st century - Lions vs Cats vs Hawks vs Tigers

Which dynasty is the greatest?


  • Total voters
    384

Remove this Banner Ad

Log in to remove this ad.

Roby

Norm Smith Medallist
Jul 27, 2008
7,493
4,488
Melbourne
AFL Club
Hawthorn
Ok so say they didn’t win the first one, then won two in three and one of them was the 73-9 season, would they be regarded as better than the Rockets that won back to back between the bull threepeats?
They won the first one, then lost to Le Bron the following year so then they added KD which was just overkill. Their best regular season was the year they lost to Le Bron.

The Rockets aren't regarded as great as they went back Jordan was on hiatus.
 

Blues177

Club Legend
Oct 3, 2010
1,165
1,697
AFL Club
Carlton
St Kilda and Collingwood showed they weren't as good as everyone thought at the time and more of a flash in the pan.
Neither were flash in the pan teams. Both St Kilda (2009) and Collingwood (2011) had players with plenty of finals experience. Both teams had won 22 games for the season before they played Geelong in the grand final. Therefore they were very formidable grand final opponents for Geelong.

St Kilda 2004-2011
H&A: 115 wins, 58 losses 3 draws.
Finals: 7 wins, 9 losses,1 draw.
Missed finals narrowly in 2007.

Collingwood 2006-2013
H&A: 121 wins, 54 losses 1 draw.
Finals: 10 wins, 9 losses, 1 draw.
Didn't miss finals during that period.
 
Last edited:

PJays

Senior List
Nov 2, 2020
237
312
AFL Club
St Kilda
Prelim final day, 17 Sep 2010:

Geelong had 3 young players. Selwood, Hawkins, Varcoe all 22. Then Taylor (24). Stokes (25). A few 26 year olds

Removing Ablett (26), the median age was 28.5. By round 1 2011 that's 29. (No retirees).

Entering 2011: Lost their best player, and a median age of 29 from their 2010 team!

Without doubt, they would've been a loooong way behind Collingwood in premiership odds. And behind St Kilda too. (Who beat them twice in 2010).

Some might've hoped they'd squeeze out another flag.

Nobody would've dreamt they'd have the best season in Geelong’s 115 year VFL/AFL history*. Not even Chris Scott.



*Except maybe 1952, where they were 16-2-1 and doubled Collingwood's score in both finals. Geelong seems to love the Colliwobblers....
 
Last edited:

BuddyHawk

Senior List
Mar 17, 2006
225
165
Melbourne
AFL Club
Hawthorn
Here's the thing. You can call Adelaide an historical outlier, but I would say we can use Adelaide to illustrate the point that it's easier to win back to back than to win 2 flags in 4 years (like North), or 2 in 3 years (like WC). We know that sometimes everything clicks into place for one magical season, or finals campaign, like the Doggies in 16. Well I would argue that it is much more likely for such a magical clicking into place to occur in 2 consecutive years than on 2 occasions 4 years apart. You can win 2 in a row, like Adelaide, and still be more of a flash in the pan than a North or a WC, who were top 4 sides for extended periods. A cricket over is nothing like 6 seasons of football. There is nothing harder for the bowler in the 4th 5th and 6th balls of the over than for the first 3. In footy, though, it's incredibly hard to keep an elite team together for 6 years, given salary cap pressures, retirements, strategic innovations, other clubs improving into their ideal premiership window. That's where the hat-trick analogy completely breaks down.

3-peating is obviously not being a flash in the pan, but I would still argue that it's easier for everything to go right 3 years in a row than 3 times spread over a 5 or 6 year span. I think this is borne out when we look closely at the players on the dynasty teams. Brisbane are getting a lot of love in this thread, but I don't think it bears scrutiny. They had a core of about 8 elite players, and a bottom tier who were pretty bloody average. I don't think it's a coincidence that they were not a contender for longer than 4 years. Conversely, Geelong, who by most metrics had by far the greatest depth of elite players (17 AA players in 09) were able to remain genuine contenders for much longer. On Hawthorn, rather than the 3-peat, that's why I actually think Hawthorn winning in 08 then 13-15 is incredible. To me it's not the consecutive nature of the 3-peat that's the impressive part there, it's winning 4 flags over an 8 year period.

You might say that my argument supports the idea that Hawthorn were the best team. Well, yes and no. They achieved the most, winning 4 flags. But I also think they kind of fluked the 08 flag, pulling off a 1 in 20 victory. That's why in this thread we have been looking at a whole bunch of other measures, which all tend to suggest Geelong were the better team.
Again, I don't disagree with your point on Adelaide - the North and WCE teams in the 90s were clearly superior, because unlike the Crows they maintained a high level for a number of seasons.

My argument with Brisbane and Hawthorn is that, unlike Adelaide, they did sustain a high level of performance for a number of years - prelim or better in 5 straight years for the Hawks, 5 years in 6 for the Lions, which in terms of longevity were both comparable to the great Geelong team of 2007-11. It's then a process - at least for me - of weighing up Geelong's superior statistical record over their era (which I also acknowledge included GF wins over two of the best runner-up teams in history) against the achievement of winning three in a row (while running close in other seasons, too).

Like some others on this forum, you clearly don't think winning consecutive flags is harder than winning in alternate years, and obviously this is a matter of opinion. I disagree, as I think it's incredibly hard - in any sport - to get close to everything right two years running, let alone three. And in AFL there is the added complication of needing to win knock-out finals where there is no second chance.

I actually feel that Geelong side is a good illustration of why it is so hard to go back-to-back. In my view, they were the most talented side in the comp for all five seasons between 2007-11 - the best skills, the best midfield, a great defence, a highly versatile forward line and they were super tough. They were a sensational side.

Their run of form in the lead up to the 08 GF - I think it was 42 wins in 44 - will possibly never be surpassed. And yet they lost that GF. One bad game and it was all done. They missed a heap of chances when they were on top in the second quarter and probably erred at selection in not picking Wojcinski, as their midfield was too one-paced and they were repeatedly carved open on transition in the second half. So their first chance at back-to-back went begging.

Great side they were, though, they learned from that game and came back hard in 2009. There were a couple of personnel tweaks - they recognised that Lonergan wasn't up to it as a forward, and placed more emphasis on outside run to complement their star inside mids - and they did a better job of pacing themselves in the second half of the season, thus ensuring they were in peak condition come the finals. They hit top form as St Kilda's was starting to wane a bit.

Then it was 2010. And something happened that season that didn't occur at any other stage of their 5-year reign - a side worked them out tactically. It took Collingwood a little while to get their full-field press (a variation on what Lyon and Clarkson had deployed previously) going, and Geelong beat them comfortably in the first half of the season. But once it was in full flight, it was impressive - it recognised that Geelong liked to own the corridor with fast handball chains out of the backline and sucked them in like a venus fly trap, forcing turnover after turnover in the front half. They beat the Cats comfortably in the return home and away game and thrashed them in the prelim, with the Cats kicking a few late goals to bring it back to 41 points.

Cue Ablett going to the Gold Coast, Thompson resigning, Scott coming in and some significant tweaks to the gameplan. And 2011 was the season the Cats demonstrated their full greatness. Collingwood didn't drop off, but the Cats had a more direct system, an emerging key forward in Hawkins and loads of high-level talent that was rejuvenated by the change in approach. Like in 09, too, they played their best footy in the finals, while Collingwood got the staggers.

A number of posters have pointed to the way the Cats rebounded from their disappointments in 2008 and 2010 as proof of their excellence. And I 100 per cent agree. But I also feel their failure to win in 2008 and 2010 - due to an off day and a very capable opponent in the former, and a tactical working over in the latter - strengthens the case for Brisbane and Hawthorn. It's really, really tough to be the competition benchmark, with every side unpicking your gameplan and raising themselves a notch when they're playing you. And Brisbane and Hawthorn managed to withstand the pressure of being reigning premier twice, despite a couple of close shaves in finals, whereas Geelong didn't. That's why, for all their brilliance, I rank the Cats slightly below the other two.
 

Meteoric Rise

Club Legend
Feb 4, 2008
1,719
5,489
Melbourne
AFL Club
Richmond
I just ask myself, which team would I have the most confidence in during a close grand final and the answer is Brisbane, followed by Geelong. Hawthorn and Richmond a toss-up.
Richmond are the only one of these teams not to lose a Grand Final yet. And in fact if you adjust the final margin in 2020 for the reduced playing time in this season, no team has got within about 7 goals of the Tigers in a Grand Final.

Adam Gilchrist was once asked what would he be thinking of doing if he needed to hit a six last ball to win a game of cricket. His response: “I wouldn’t let it get to that situation.” The Tigers win by big margins running away, three times from three times of asking. Their history says they wouldn’t get into the hypothetical situation you have dreamt up.
 

Wojcinski

Brownlow Medallist
Aug 14, 2011
14,177
20,521
AFL Club
Geelong
I watch way more NBA than AFL. You obviously don't. Warriors recently were talked about the greatest ever team with their 4-5 HOF. Spurs were never talked about in this way.
Nah I watch heaps of NBA, Warriors had the greatest ever season but as they say it don't mean a thing without the ring. Warriors are seen as a great team who added KD after LeBron pantsed them and won a couple more. Definitely not the greatest ever team and that has never really been the discussion in NBA circles. Interested as to who you think are the 4th and 5th HOF'ers on their team? After Curry, Klay and KD
 

PJays

Senior List
Nov 2, 2020
237
312
AFL Club
St Kilda
Again, I don't disagree with your point on Adelaide - the North and WCE teams in the 90s were clearly superior, because unlike the Crows they maintained a high level for a number of seasons.

My argument with Brisbane and Hawthorn is that, unlike Adelaide, they did sustain a high level of performance for a number of years - prelim or better in 5 straight years for the Hawks, 5 years in 6 for the Lions, which in terms of longevity were both comparable to the great Geelong team of 2007-11. It's then a process - at least for me - of weighing up Geelong's superior statistical record over their era (which I also acknowledge included GF wins over two of the best runner-up teams in history) against the achievement of winning three in a row (while running close in other seasons, too).

Like some others on this forum, you clearly don't think winning consecutive flags is harder than winning in alternate years, and obviously this is a matter of opinion. I disagree, as I think it's incredibly hard - in any sport - to get close to everything right two years running, let alone three. And in AFL there is the added complication of needing to win knock-out finals where there is no second chance.

I actually feel that Geelong side is a good illustration of why it is so hard to go back-to-back. In my view, they were the most talented side in the comp for all five seasons between 2007-11 - the best skills, the best midfield, a great defence, a highly versatile forward line and they were super tough. They were a sensational side.

Their run of form in the lead up to the 08 GF - I think it was 42 wins in 44 - will possibly never be surpassed. And yet they lost that GF. One bad game and it was all done. They missed a heap of chances when they were on top in the second quarter and probably erred at selection in not picking Wojcinski, as their midfield was too one-paced and they were repeatedly carved open on transition in the second half. So their first chance at back-to-back went begging.

Great side they were, though, they learned from that game and came back hard in 2009. There were a couple of personnel tweaks - they recognised that Lonergan wasn't up to it as a forward, and placed more emphasis on outside run to complement their star inside mids - and they did a better job of pacing themselves in the second half of the season, thus ensuring they were in peak condition come the finals. They hit top form as St Kilda's was starting to wane a bit.

Then it was 2010. And something happened that season that didn't occur at any other stage of their 5-year reign - a side worked them out tactically. It took Collingwood a little while to get their full-field press (a variation on what Lyon and Clarkson had deployed previously) going, and Geelong beat them comfortably in the first half of the season. But once it was in full flight, it was impressive - it recognised that Geelong liked to own the corridor with fast handball chains out of the backline and sucked them in like a venus fly trap, forcing turnover after turnover in the front half. They beat the Cats comfortably in the return home and away game and thrashed them in the prelim, with the Cats kicking a few late goals to bring it back to 41 points.

Cue Ablett going to the Gold Coast, Thompson resigning, Scott coming in and some significant tweaks to the gameplan. And 2011 was the season the Cats demonstrated their full greatness. Collingwood didn't drop off, but the Cats had a more direct system, an emerging key forward in Hawkins and loads of high-level talent that was rejuvenated by the change in approach. Like in 09, too, they played their best footy in the finals, while Collingwood got the staggers.

A number of posters have pointed to the way the Cats rebounded from their disappointments in 2008 and 2010 as proof of their excellence. And I 100 per cent agree. But I also feel their failure to win in 2008 and 2010 - due to an off day and a very capable opponent in the former, and a tactical working over in the latter - strengthens the case for Brisbane and Hawthorn. It's really, really tough to be the competition benchmark, with every side unpicking your gameplan and raising themselves a notch when they're playing you. And Brisbane and Hawthorn managed to withstand the pressure of being reigning premier twice, despite a couple of close shaves in finals, whereas Geelong didn't. That's why, for all their brilliance, I rank the Cats slightly below the other two.
Good point on Collingwood's press.

It appeared Collingwood in 2010 took what St Kilda was doing in 2009, and bettered it. (Given how incredibly dominant St Kilda was over the first 7 weeks of the 2009 season, and indeed the first 19 weeks, I'm not sure how that was even possible. But Collingwood did it).

I think both St Kilda of 2009 and Collingwood of 2010 and 2011 were similar to Richmond with the immense pressure they put on their opponent. Teams got throttled. Both teams were slightly better than Richmond, in my view.

Now before anyone gets their panties in a twist, I'm not saying Collingwood and St Kilda were greater teams than Richmond. They won one flag between them. I'm saying they similarly threw their opponents off their game with pressure, and their best football was a fraction better than Richmond's best when they were at their peak. (Which admittedly, was short lived in both cases).

You're basically discounting Geelong's greatness because an amazing team came along and worked them out (not just them, Collingwood worked out how to win football games. Nobody could beat them, Geelong or anybody else). You're saying Brisbane and Hawthorn are greater because no one worked them out, and they managed to stay on top. Here's the problem: There was no great team that came along between 2012 and 2015. No one like Collingwood, in terms of structure and a successful game plan. Not until Richmond in 2017. So it's an unfair comparison.

You've rigged the game, by saying "Oh Collingwood came along and worked Geelong out!" when in fact Collingwood were just a great, great team who worked out the game of football. And so was St Kilda, except Geelong pipped them in 2009.

RIchmond is now doing what St Kilda and Collingwood were, and I'd argue they're so successful, in part because there's no great competitor for them either. Like Hawthorn's era.

Lastly, there was a team who worked Hawthorn out: Richmond, who had a 3-1 record over Hawthorn between 2012 and 2015, with wins by 62, 41 and 18. Hawthorn was never unlucky enough to play them in a final.

Geelong owned Hawthorn until the 2013 prelim final, beating them twice that season and 11 times in a row. And would've likely beaten them in the prelim, if Chapman hadn't been suspended. From 2012 Geelong started declining after contending since 2004 yet still owned Hawthorn for 2 more years. Then Richmond owned Hawthorn from 2012 to 2015. So really, if two different teams owned Hawthorn during their 3 peat era, how great were they really?

And yet you discount Geelong because an awesome Collingwood side worked them out (along with everybody else), for one season. Before Geelong returned to numero uno the next year.

Two years in a row Hawthorn got into the Grand Final by a whisker, against teams who beat them during the home and away season. Geelong in 2013 and Port in 2014.

What would've happened to Hawthorn if a team like Collingwood 2010/2011 came along?
 

Roby

Norm Smith Medallist
Jul 27, 2008
7,493
4,488
Melbourne
AFL Club
Hawthorn
Nah I watch heaps of NBA, Warriors had the greatest ever season but as they say it don't mean a thing without the ring. Warriors are seen as a great team who added KD after LeBron pantsed them and won a couple more. Definitely not the greatest ever team and that has never really been the discussion in NBA circles. Interested as to who you think are the 4th and 5th HOF'ers on their team? After Curry, Klay and KD
There is no pretending with me. I've been an NBA fan since the 80's. My favorite players were Magic and The Dream before it turned to Jordan.

You speak like you're an authority but you're not. I watch all the talk shows in the NBA so I know what gets said.

Here have a read below since you haven't really been paying attention

There's No Debating It; the Warriors Are a Dynasty Unlike Any in NBA History

P.S. I'm literally waiting for First Things First to start this morning, then after that is Undisputed.
 
Last edited:

JackOutback

Brownlow Medallist
Sep 15, 2011
22,442
29,647
AFL Club
West Coast
Richmond are the only one of these teams not to lose a Grand Final yet. And in fact if you adjust the final margin in 2020 for the reduced playing time in this season, no team has got within about 7 goals of the Tigers in a Grand Final.

Adam Gilchrist was once asked what would he be thinking of doing if he needed to hit a six last ball to win a game of cricket. His response: “I wouldn’t let it get to that situation.” The Tigers win by big margins running away, three times from three times of asking. Their history says they wouldn’t get into the hypothetical situation you have dreamt up.
But the reason they didn’t have an opportunity to lose a grand final in 2018 is because they lost a preliminary final. Every team’s dynasty comes to an end, the fact that Brisbane lost in 2004 (with the added quirk of playing a home prelim in Melbourne) in no way detracts from the phenomenal achievement of making four consecutive grand finals.
 

(Log in to remove this ad.)

Wojcinski

Brownlow Medallist
Aug 14, 2011
14,177
20,521
AFL Club
Geelong
There is no pretending with me. I've been an NBA fan since the 80's. My favorite players were Magic and The Dream before it turned to Jordan.

You speak like you're an authority but you're not. I watch all the talk shows in the NBA so I know what gets said.

Here have a read below since you haven't really been paying attention

There's No Debating It; the Warriors Are a Dynasty Unlike Any in NBA History

P.S. I'm literally waiting for First Things First to start this morning, then after that is Undisputed.
Calm down pal, I've been watching the NBA since the early 90s - you're not the only one. Using a BR opinion piece to back up your claims is what sets us apart. BR is absoloute garbage, I mean they're trying to say the Warriors 3 in 4 is better than the Celtics 11 in a row, they're calling the Warriors 3 in 4 a '4-peat'

If you really want to use those metrics and apply them to this actual topic rather than trying to act like you're the oracle of the NBA and no one else is allowed to talk about it, then you are saying the Geelong team from 07-11 is the greatest dynasty ever because they had the best regular season records, the most awarded players and won a bunch of flags. Thats the entire gist of that article about GSW.
 

Roby

Norm Smith Medallist
Jul 27, 2008
7,493
4,488
Melbourne
AFL Club
Hawthorn
Calm down pal, I've been watching the NBA since the early 90s - you're not the only one. Using a BR opinion piece to back up your claims is what sets us apart. BR is absoloute garbage, I mean they're trying to say the Warriors 3 in 4 is better than the Celtics 11 in a row, they're calling the Warriors 3 in 4 a '4-peat'

If you really want to use those metrics and apply them to this actual topic rather than trying to act like you're the oracle of the NBA and no one else is allowed to talk about it, then you are saying the Geelong team from 07-11 is the greatest dynasty ever because they had the best regular season records, the most awarded players and won a bunch of flags. Thats the entire gist of that article about GSW.
I'm not using those metrics. Just found the first thing on Google for the GW. I'm not going to post 100 opinions to prove a point that they had not ever been discussed/thought about/mentioned in this regard when you said it had unequivocally never been uttered.
 

PJays

Senior List
Nov 2, 2020
237
312
AFL Club
St Kilda
And yet you discount Geelong because an awesome Collingwood side worked them out (along with everybody else), for one season. Before Geelong returned to numero uno the next year.
And before anyone says "Yeah but it wasn't just Collingwood- St Kilda beat them in the 2010 finals too".

True.

Except don't forget, Hawthorn and Brisbane lost qualifying finals to lesser teams during their three peats!

What would've happened to Hawthorn if a team like Collingwood 2010/2011 came along?
Same applies to Brisbane.

2002/03 Collingwood wasn't in the same stratosphere as 2010/11 Collingwood, yet in 2002 Collingwood beat Brisbane during the year and got within 9 points of Brisbane in the GF, and in 2003 they beat Brisbane in a qualifying final.

So the almighty Brisbane team who's easily leading this poll, how would they have gone against a really good opponent?

In other words, across 3 finals in 2002 and 2003, Brisbane won 2 and lost 1 with a point differential of +44 against an opponent universally recognised as weaker than all the top teams Geelong faced from 2008 to 2011.

3 finals games- One big win, one 15 point loss, and a tight win against Collingwood in 2002 and 2003. Brisbane had the better of Collingwood, but not by much.

Yet Geelong get criticized cos they didn't consistently beat better teams for 3 years straight. Instead they stayed at the top and took 5 years to win their 3rd flag in an era of better sides. This is somehow considered inferior.
 
Last edited:

PJays

Senior List
Nov 2, 2020
237
312
AFL Club
St Kilda
Richmond are the only one of these teams not to lose a Grand Final yet. And in fact if you adjust the final margin in 2020 for the reduced playing time in this season, no team has got within about 7 goals of the Tigers in a Grand Final.
They also played the worst finals game of any team during the time periods under discussion in this thread.

Geelong's 2010 preliminary final was just as bad a loss as Richmond's 2018 prelim, but I think we can all agree Collingwood 2010 was far superior to Collingwood 2018, making Richmond's loss the worst.

Incidentally, a 2019 Grand Final between Richmond and Collingwood must be the best "Grand Final that coulda, shoulda, woulda been" in many years. It would've been a contest. Unlike the 6th placed GWS who scraped through after using all their petrol tickets and lucky stars to get into the GF.
 

Rimmer

Club Legend
May 7, 2008
1,533
1,924
Melbourne
AFL Club
Richmond
Hawthorn, Geelong, and Brisbane played in additional Grand Finals even if runners up. I think all 3 are ahead of Richmond at present. If though Richmond (who are still in their window now) were to 3 peat they would be the best since Melbourne of the late 50s who won 5 in 6 years.
 

BuddyHawk

Senior List
Mar 17, 2006
225
165
Melbourne
AFL Club
Hawthorn
Good point on Collingwood's press.

It appeared Collingwood in 2010 took what St Kilda was doing in 2009, and bettered it. (Given how incredibly dominant St Kilda was over the first 7 weeks of the 2009 season, and indeed the first 19 weeks, I'm not sure how that was even possible. But Collingwood did it).

I think both St Kilda of 2009 and Collingwood of 2010 and 2011 were similar to Richmond with the immense pressure they put on their opponent. Teams got throttled. Both teams were slightly better than Richmond, in my view.

Now before anyone gets their panties in a twist, I'm not saying Collingwood and St Kilda were greater teams than Richmond. They won one flag between them. I'm saying they similarly threw their opponents off their game with pressure, and their best football was a fraction better than Richmond's best when they were at their peak. (Which admittedly, was short lived in both cases).

You're basically discounting Geelong's greatness because an amazing team came along and worked them out (not just them, Collingwood worked out how to win football games. Nobody could beat them, Geelong or anybody else). You're saying Brisbane and Hawthorn are greater because no one worked them out, and they managed to stay on top. Here's the problem: There was no great team that came along between 2012 and 2015. No one like Collingwood, in terms of structure and a successful game plan. Not until Richmond in 2017. So it's an unfair comparison.

You've rigged the game, by saying "Oh Collingwood came along and worked Geelong out!" when in fact Collingwood were just a great, great team who worked out the game of football. And so was St Kilda, except Geelong pipped them in 2009.

RIchmond is now doing what St Kilda and Collingwood were, and I'd argue they're so successful, in part because there's no great competitor for them either. Like Hawthorn's era.

Lastly, there was a team who worked Hawthorn out: Richmond, who had a 3-1 record over Hawthorn between 2012 and 2015, with wins by 62, 41 and 18. Hawthorn was never unlucky enough to play them in a final.

Geelong owned Hawthorn until the 2013 prelim final, beating them twice that season and 11 times in a row. And would've likely beaten them in the prelim, if Chapman hadn't been suspended. From 2012 Geelong started declining after contending since 2004 yet still owned Hawthorn for 2 more years. Then Richmond owned Hawthorn from 2012 to 2015. So really, if two different teams owned Hawthorn during their 3 peat era, how great were they really?

And yet you discount Geelong because an awesome Collingwood side worked them out (along with everybody else), for one season. Before Geelong returned to numero uno the next year.

Two years in a row Hawthorn got into the Grand Final by a whisker, against teams who beat them during the home and away season. Geelong in 2013 and Port in 2014.

What would've happened to Hawthorn if a team like Collingwood 2010/2011 came along?
I really enjoy your posts, PJays - but you're not going to be surprised that I respectfully disagree on a few of your points.

1. Firstly, your claim about the lack of competitors for Hawthorn during its premiership era. I agree there weren't teams quite as strong as St Kilda in 09 and Collingwood in 2010-2011 - no arguments there. But I think you're underestimating the teams that were in the mix, perhaps because they weren't, for the most part, Victorian?

We've already agreed to disagree on the merits of Freo - you've pointed to their lack of potency, which is true, but I think sometimes in assessing the value of players/teams we focus too much on weaknesses - i.e what's not there - as distinct from what is. And Freo had some strengths that would have made them a threat in any era - pressure that was every bit as good as Collingwood's in 10-11, great defensive organisation, quality key defenders and small forwards, and one of the most physically imposing midfields the game has ever seen: a dominant, 6'11 ruckman in Sandilands, a starting midfield that was all over 190cm - Mundy, Fyfe and Barlow - and the best, most annoying tagger in the game in Crowley. They were bloody tough to beat, aside from when Lyon would pull his annual trick of resting half his team in the final round. I rate Hawthorn's prelim victory over them at Subiaco in 2015 as one of our best wins, as Freo threw everything into a game they knew would define their legacy. Plus the crowd was absolutely feral.

But Sydney was our main rival, and I feel they're an underappreciated team due to probably falling one flag short of what they should have achieved - a win in 2016, for instance, would have made a big difference to their legacy. That Sydney side had the distinction of making the second week of the finals or better eight seasons in a row, from 2010 to 2017. That's a level of consistency that none of the other successful teams in this century have come close to matching - Geelong's best has been five years in a row, Hawthorn six, Brisbane six, Collingwood six, Essendon six (starting from 99) Richmond four (and counting), Port four, St Kilda three, WCE three. And I think it's fair to say Sydney were a serious contender for five seasons - 2012 to 2016 - although they struggled in the finals, largely due to injuries, in 2013 and 2015.

The Swans were a slightly better version of Freo, imo - great pressure and organisation (of course Longmire, like Lyon, came from the Roos coaching school), but with more individual brilliance in the front half. They tackled Hawthorn to death in the 2012 grand final - their pressure dipped for about a 20-minute period either side of three-quarter time when we slammed on 7 goals, but aside from that they had us under the thumb, despite us having a lot more inside 50s and contested ball. We got revenge of sorts in 2013 when we beat them 3 times, including in the qualifying final. And then came Buddy.

You've made a few references to how well Geelong coped with Ablett's departure, PJays, but he joined a new franchise that posed no immediate threat to Geelong's premiership ambitions. Buddy, arguably the best player in the league at the time, left the reigning premier to join another top four team - I can't think of a comparable situation in my time following footy. By all rights, we shouldn't have been able to go back-to-back in 2014, with Buddy playing for our main premiership rival and with all of the long-term injuries we suffered. But we held it together and got our players back in time, with Rioli the final piece of the puzzle for the grand final. And the game was over by about the 10-minute mark of the second quarter.

But I'll challenge anyone who doesn't regard the Swans of 2012-16 as being a good team. They were skilful, tough and very well coached, and stayed near the top for longer than Geelong's main rivals (Saints and Pies), even if their best wasn't quite as good.

2. Secondly, your comments on Richmond and Geelong's records against Hawthorn. Richmond did match up well against Hawthorn, although I'd put a slight asterix against the thrashing they gave us in 2012, as it was before we'd fully got into our groove that season. That loss was sort of akin to Geelong's loss to North at KP in R5 2007, in that it caused some internal soul-searching and set us off on a terrific run of form over the next couple of years. We won 40 of our next 45 - not quite as good as the 42 from 44 the Cats won leading into the 08 grand final, but pretty close.

Richmond's wins in 2013 and 15 involved a tactical blueprint that, ironically, is completely different to how they play now. They used a slow, possession game that was designed to keep the ball out of the hands of our elite kickers - and not give Lake, Gibson etc a chance to intercept mark - and it worked. It would have been interesting if we had played them in the finals, although I think we had another gear to go to if needed. And anyway, it's not unusual for top teams to have one or two lesser teams who give them problems. Carlton under Ratten matched up well against the Cats in 2009-11, for instance, winning two and losing two (with the Cats win in 2011 being thanks to Hampson? missing from directly in front in the dying seconds). Carlton certainly weren't in the same class as Geelong, but they worried their midfield and defence with their leg speed. I've always thought a 2011 prelim between Geelong and Carlton would have been far more entertaining than the Cats-Eagles one we got.

Re. Geelong and the Kennett Curse, I divide those 11 consecutive Geelong wins into two parts. Part 1 was 2009-11, when Geelong was clearly a better team and Hawthorn (especially in 2009-10) raised their level to make the games as close as they were. Part 2 was 2012-13, when Hawthorn was a better team relative to the rest of the competition - but continued losing thrillers to Geelong. The two things, imo, that led to Geelong winning those games were a) Scott used to do a really good job of stopping Hawthorn kicking through the corridor, instead forcing them wide and long, and b) with Hawkins and Podsiadly, they were uniquely well placed to expose our one weakness at the time, which was the lack of a quality key defender. Lake solved that second issue and was probably the main reason we broke the curse - in the six games he played against Geelong while at Hawthorn, we won five. He was injured for the Easter Monday games in 13 and 14, which Geelong both won.

Hawthorn actually had a 5-3 record against the Cats in our threepeat years, which admittedly is more of a reflection on how Geelong dropped off in late 2014 and 2015. The two sides who we had a losing record against were Richmond (2-1) and Port (3-2) - Port beat us twice in 2015, even though they missed the finals.

3. Thirdly, at no point have I discounted Geelong's greatness. I have repeatedly said they were a wonderful side, and I rate their 2011 team just after Essendon 2000 as the best premiership team this century. But this thread is all about comparing four great dynasties, and I happen to rate Brisbane and Hawthorn's a little bit higher - not because they were better teams, but because I feel they achieved more.
 

PJays

Senior List
Nov 2, 2020
237
312
AFL Club
St Kilda
I really enjoy your posts, PJays - but you're not going to be surprised that I respectfully disagree on a few of your points.

1. Firstly, your claim about the lack of competitors for Hawthorn during its premiership era. I agree there weren't teams quite as strong as St Kilda in 09 and Collingwood in 2010-2011 - no arguments there. But I think you're underestimating the teams that were in the mix, perhaps because they weren't, for the most part, Victorian?

We've already agreed to disagree on the merits of Freo - you've pointed to their lack of potency, which is true, but I think sometimes in assessing the value of players/teams we focus too much on weaknesses - i.e what's not there - as distinct from what is. And Freo had some strengths that would have made them a threat in any era - pressure that was every bit as good as Collingwood's in 10-11, great defensive organisation, quality key defenders and small forwards, and one of the most physically imposing midfields the game has ever seen: a dominant, 6'11 ruckman in Sandilands, a starting midfield that was all over 190cm - Mundy, Fyfe and Barlow - and the best, most annoying tagger in the game in Crowley. They were bloody tough to beat, aside from when Lyon would pull his annual trick of resting half his team in the final round. I rate Hawthorn's prelim victory over them at Subiaco in 2015 as one of our best wins, as Freo threw everything into a game they knew would define their legacy. Plus the crowd was absolutely feral.

But Sydney was our main rival, and I feel they're an underappreciated team due to probably falling one flag short of what they should have achieved - a win in 2016, for instance, would have made a big difference to their legacy. That Sydney side had the distinction of making the second week of the finals or better eight seasons in a row, from 2010 to 2017. That's a level of consistency that none of the other successful teams in this century have come close to matching - Geelong's best has been five years in a row, Hawthorn six, Brisbane six, Collingwood six, Essendon six (starting from 99) Richmond four (and counting), Port four, St Kilda three, WCE three. And I think it's fair to say Sydney were a serious contender for five seasons - 2012 to 2016 - although they struggled in the finals, largely due to injuries, in 2013 and 2015.

The Swans were a slightly better version of Freo, imo - great pressure and organisation (of course Longmire, like Lyon, came from the Roos coaching school), but with more individual brilliance in the front half. They tackled Hawthorn to death in the 2012 grand final - their pressure dipped for about a 20-minute period either side of three-quarter time when we slammed on 7 goals, but aside from that they had us under the thumb, despite us having a lot more inside 50s and contested ball. We got revenge of sorts in 2013 when we beat them 3 times, including in the qualifying final. And then came Buddy.

You've made a few references to how well Geelong coped with Ablett's departure, PJays, but he joined a new franchise that posed no immediate threat to Geelong's premiership ambitions. Buddy, arguably the best player in the league at the time, left the reigning premier to join another top four team - I can't think of a comparable situation in my time following footy. By all rights, we shouldn't have been able to go back-to-back in 2014, with Buddy playing for our main premiership rival and with all of the long-term injuries we suffered. But we held it together and got our players back in time, with Rioli the final piece of the puzzle for the grand final. And the game was over by about the 10-minute mark of the second quarter.

But I'll challenge anyone who doesn't regard the Swans of 2012-16 as being a good team. They were skilful, tough and very well coached, and stayed near the top for longer than Geelong's main rivals (Saints and Pies), even if their best wasn't quite as good.

2. Secondly, your comments on Richmond and Geelong's records against Hawthorn. Richmond did match up well against Hawthorn, although I'd put a slight asterix against the thrashing they gave us in 2012, as it was before we'd fully got into our groove that season. That loss was sort of akin to Geelong's loss to North at KP in R5 2007, in that it caused some internal soul-searching and set us off on a terrific run of form over the next couple of years. We won 40 of our next 45 - not quite as good as the 42 from 44 the Cats won leading into the 08 grand final, but pretty close.

Richmond's wins in 2013 and 15 involved a tactical blueprint that, ironically, is completely different to how they play now. They used a slow, possession game that was designed to keep the ball out of the hands of our elite kickers - and not give Lake, Gibson etc a chance to intercept mark - and it worked. It would have been interesting if we had played them in the finals, although I think we had another gear to go to if needed. And anyway, it's not unusual for top teams to have one or two lesser teams who give them problems. Carlton under Ratten matched up well against the Cats in 2009-11, for instance, winning two and losing two (with the Cats win in 2011 being thanks to Hampson? missing from directly in front in the dying seconds). Carlton certainly weren't in the same class as Geelong, but they worried their midfield and defence with their leg speed. I've always thought a 2011 prelim between Geelong and Carlton would have been far more entertaining than the Cats-Eagles one we got.

Re. Geelong and the Kennett Curse, I divide those 11 consecutive Geelong wins into two parts. Part 1 was 2009-11, when Geelong was clearly a better team and Hawthorn (especially in 2009-10) raised their level to make the games as close as they were. Part 2 was 2012-13, when Hawthorn was a better team relative to the rest of the competition - but continued losing thrillers to Geelong. The two things, imo, that led to Geelong winning those games were a) Scott used to do a really good job of stopping Hawthorn kicking through the corridor, instead forcing them wide and long, and b) with Hawkins and Podsiadly, they were uniquely well placed to expose our one weakness at the time, which was the lack of a quality key defender. Lake solved that second issue and was probably the main reason we broke the curse - in the six games he played against Geelong while at Hawthorn, we won five. He was injured for the Easter Monday games in 13 and 14, which Geelong both won.

Hawthorn actually had a 5-3 record against the Cats in our threepeat years, which admittedly is more of a reflection on how Geelong dropped off in late 2014 and 2015. The two sides who we had a losing record against were Richmond (2-1) and Port (3-2) - Port beat us twice in 2015, even though they missed the finals.

3. Thirdly, at no point have I discounted Geelong's greatness. I have repeatedly said they were a wonderful side, and I rate their 2011 team just after Essendon 2000 as the best premiership team this century. But this thread is all about comparing four great dynasties, and I happen to rate Brisbane and Hawthorn's a little bit higher - not because they were better teams, but because I feel they achieved more.
Great post.

A few interesting stats you threw in there. I wasn't aware Hawthorn had a 40-5 stretch. Not quite Geelong's 55-3 or Collingwood's 33-2-2, but very impressive nonetheless. That would be better than any stretch by Richmond or Brisbane. And by a fair margin.

Your comments about Sydney are fair. They were a quality adversary. Like you say, it's a shame they weren't quite fit and firing at finals time in 2013 and 2015, otherwise it could've been another West Coast vs Sydney level rivalry.

The 2014 GF was undoubtedly Hawthorn's finest moment. Whilst they were brilliant, it's also true very few Sydney players turned up. A disappointment.

If that game was played 10 times, I would've expected 8 of them to be ripping contests, with Sydney probably winning 5. Then one blow-out either way. That we got a Hawthorn blow-out, is huge. It's the one game I can't find a way to criticise- not a close prelim, not a weak opponent, just a smashing victory over a top-tier combatant in the last game of the season.

Despite my misgivings about Fremantle, winning a prelim on the road is special. However, I recall always thinking Hawthorn would win that game. Firstly because I always saw Freo as a very good team but not quite premiership material (unlike 2014 Sydney). After casting my eyes over the ladder I recall another reason- Hawthorn had a 40% advantage over Fremantle despite winning one less game. It's one of the most bizarre ladders in history.

It may not be obvious, but I have great respect for this Hawthorn group. Their kicking skills were superb, and they made teams pay by converting opportunities with sublime execution. One of my enduring footy memories is heading down to my dingy local pub in 2014 (before it was renovated!), and watching St Kilda get annihilated by 130 points. That was a turning point- after a surprisingly competitive start to the season, the Hawthorn loss began a period of utter ineptitude for St Kilda's young side. Our confidence was ruined.

Whilst I rate Hawthorn 4th of 4 dynasties here, they were physically tough, resilient enough to stand up in countless big moments, and by 2015 had developed that type of aura Brisbane had. The "uh-oh, its finals time, here's Hawthorn" factor. The "foregone conclusion" dread at the back of opposing fans minds.

I'll admit Geelong never quite developed that factor after the 2008 loss, despite being a more brilliant team who triumphed in some of the greatest victories in the record books. That aura's a feeling cultivated through watching successive victories. But, that's a feeling for the fans. It doesn't worry the players- not the greatest ones anyway. Every dynasty ends eventually. That feeling is ultimately a facade and it eventually gets proven such every time, when someone beats the pre-eminent heroes. Which is why we can look back and consider each group of 3 flags in totality as achievements of different groups of players, and use a range of measures for comparison. Measures that show Geelong a clear number one.

I appreciate your contributions though, insightful and thoughtful analysis and a pleasure to read. Cheers
 
Last edited:

Fadge

Norm Smith Medallist
Mar 4, 2007
6,486
5,232
Melbourne
AFL Club
Collingwood
Again, I don't disagree with your point on Adelaide - the North and WCE teams in the 90s were clearly superior, because unlike the Crows they maintained a high level for a number of seasons.

My argument with Brisbane and Hawthorn is that, unlike Adelaide, they did sustain a high level of performance for a number of years - prelim or better in 5 straight years for the Hawks, 5 years in 6 for the Lions, which in terms of longevity were both comparable to the great Geelong team of 2007-11. It's then a process - at least for me - of weighing up Geelong's superior statistical record over their era (which I also acknowledge included GF wins over two of the best runner-up teams in history) against the achievement of winning three in a row (while running close in other seasons, too).

Like some others on this forum, you clearly don't think winning consecutive flags is harder than winning in alternate years, and obviously this is a matter of opinion. I disagree, as I think it's incredibly hard - in any sport - to get close to everything right two years running, let alone three. And in AFL there is the added complication of needing to win knock-out finals where there is no second chance.

I actually feel that Geelong side is a good illustration of why it is so hard to go back-to-back. In my view, they were the most talented side in the comp for all five seasons between 2007-11 - the best skills, the best midfield, a great defence, a highly versatile forward line and they were super tough. They were a sensational side.

Their run of form in the lead up to the 08 GF - I think it was 42 wins in 44 - will possibly never be surpassed. And yet they lost that GF. One bad game and it was all done. They missed a heap of chances when they were on top in the second quarter and probably erred at selection in not picking Wojcinski, as their midfield was too one-paced and they were repeatedly carved open on transition in the second half. So their first chance at back-to-back went begging.

Great side they were, though, they learned from that game and came back hard in 2009. There were a couple of personnel tweaks - they recognised that Lonergan wasn't up to it as a forward, and placed more emphasis on outside run to complement their star inside mids - and they did a better job of pacing themselves in the second half of the season, thus ensuring they were in peak condition come the finals. They hit top form as St Kilda's was starting to wane a bit.

Then it was 2010. And something happened that season that didn't occur at any other stage of their 5-year reign - a side worked them out tactically. It took Collingwood a little while to get their full-field press (a variation on what Lyon and Clarkson had deployed previously) going, and Geelong beat them comfortably in the first half of the season. But once it was in full flight, it was impressive - it recognised that Geelong liked to own the corridor with fast handball chains out of the backline and sucked them in like a venus fly trap, forcing turnover after turnover in the front half. They beat the Cats comfortably in the return home and away game and thrashed them in the prelim, with the Cats kicking a few late goals to bring it back to 41 points.

Cue Ablett going to the Gold Coast, Thompson resigning, Scott coming in and some significant tweaks to the gameplan. And 2011 was the season the Cats demonstrated their full greatness. Collingwood didn't drop off, but the Cats had a more direct system, an emerging key forward in Hawkins and loads of high-level talent that was rejuvenated by the change in approach. Like in 09, too, they played their best footy in the finals, while Collingwood got the staggers.

A number of posters have pointed to the way the Cats rebounded from their disappointments in 2008 and 2010 as proof of their excellence. And I 100 per cent agree. But I also feel their failure to win in 2008 and 2010 - due to an off day and a very capable opponent in the former, and a tactical working over in the latter - strengthens the case for Brisbane and Hawthorn. It's really, really tough to be the competition benchmark, with every side unpicking your gameplan and raising themselves a notch when they're playing you. And Brisbane and Hawthorn managed to withstand the pressure of being reigning premier twice, despite a couple of close shaves in finals, whereas Geelong didn't. That's why, for all their brilliance, I rank the Cats slightly below the other two.
This is a really good post and despite being in the Geelong camp myself, appreciate your ability to articulate your analysis and can fully understand how you've arrived at your conclusion.

👍👍👍
 

PJays

Senior List
Nov 2, 2020
237
312
AFL Club
St Kilda
This is a really good post and despite being in the Geelong camp myself, appreciate your ability to articulate your analysis and can fully understand how you've arrived at your conclusion.

👍👍👍
Well said and seconded here. I appreciate your contributions too BuddyHawk!
 

Pessimistic

Make me an Admin!
Sep 13, 2000
77,394
34,808
Melbourne cricket ground. Australia
AFL Club
Hawthorn
Other Teams
Horks
My only comment about hawks v Sydney in finals is the only close one was the loss in 2012 gf. Home and away games were often close though. One way street in finals this century

maybe we have an impression of the opponents. Fremantle, Sydney, west coast because most commentators seemed desperate to talk them up. Freo was the world class pressure team etc etc
 

RichLeMonde

All Australian
Sep 26, 2019
830
1,231
Sydney
AFL Club
Richmond
Other Teams
Celtics
Again, I don't disagree with your point on Adelaide - the North and WCE teams in the 90s were clearly superior, because unlike the Crows they maintained a high level for a number of seasons.

My argument with Brisbane and Hawthorn is that, unlike Adelaide, they did sustain a high level of performance for a number of years - prelim or better in 5 straight years for the Hawks, 5 years in 6 for the Lions, which in terms of longevity were both comparable to the great Geelong team of 2007-11. It's then a process - at least for me - of weighing up Geelong's superior statistical record over their era (which I also acknowledge included GF wins over two of the best runner-up teams in history) against the achievement of winning three in a row (while running close in other seasons, too).

Like some others on this forum, you clearly don't think winning consecutive flags is harder than winning in alternate years, and obviously this is a matter of opinion. I disagree, as I think it's incredibly hard - in any sport - to get close to everything right two years running, let alone three. And in AFL there is the added complication of needing to win knock-out finals where there is no second chance.

I actually feel that Geelong side is a good illustration of why it is so hard to go back-to-back. In my view, they were the most talented side in the comp for all five seasons between 2007-11 - the best skills, the best midfield, a great defence, a highly versatile forward line and they were super tough. They were a sensational side.

Their run of form in the lead up to the 08 GF - I think it was 42 wins in 44 - will possibly never be surpassed. And yet they lost that GF. One bad game and it was all done. They missed a heap of chances when they were on top in the second quarter and probably erred at selection in not picking Wojcinski, as their midfield was too one-paced and they were repeatedly carved open on transition in the second half. So their first chance at back-to-back went begging.

Great side they were, though, they learned from that game and came back hard in 2009. There were a couple of personnel tweaks - they recognised that Lonergan wasn't up to it as a forward, and placed more emphasis on outside run to complement their star inside mids - and they did a better job of pacing themselves in the second half of the season, thus ensuring they were in peak condition come the finals. They hit top form as St Kilda's was starting to wane a bit.

Then it was 2010. And something happened that season that didn't occur at any other stage of their 5-year reign - a side worked them out tactically. It took Collingwood a little while to get their full-field press (a variation on what Lyon and Clarkson had deployed previously) going, and Geelong beat them comfortably in the first half of the season. But once it was in full flight, it was impressive - it recognised that Geelong liked to own the corridor with fast handball chains out of the backline and sucked them in like a venus fly trap, forcing turnover after turnover in the front half. They beat the Cats comfortably in the return home and away game and thrashed them in the prelim, with the Cats kicking a few late goals to bring it back to 41 points.

Cue Ablett going to the Gold Coast, Thompson resigning, Scott coming in and some significant tweaks to the gameplan. And 2011 was the season the Cats demonstrated their full greatness. Collingwood didn't drop off, but the Cats had a more direct system, an emerging key forward in Hawkins and loads of high-level talent that was rejuvenated by the change in approach. Like in 09, too, they played their best footy in the finals, while Collingwood got the staggers.

A number of posters have pointed to the way the Cats rebounded from their disappointments in 2008 and 2010 as proof of their excellence. And I 100 per cent agree. But I also feel their failure to win in 2008 and 2010 - due to an off day and a very capable opponent in the former, and a tactical working over in the latter - strengthens the case for Brisbane and Hawthorn. It's really, really tough to be the competition benchmark, with every side unpicking your gameplan and raising themselves a notch when they're playing you. And Brisbane and Hawthorn managed to withstand the pressure of being reigning premier twice, despite a couple of close shaves in finals, whereas Geelong didn't. That's why, for all their brilliance, I rank the Cats slightly below the other two.
Thanks for that thoughtful post. I enjoyed reading it. You make a lot of considered points, especially about some of the tactical elements. It's true, as you note, that Brisbane and Hawthorn had a similarly extended period of success to Geelong. My point is that if we agree that that extended period is important to take into account, then we need to take into account the failures of Brisbane and Hawthorn in that extended period, just like we note Geelong's failures. If, as you say, Geelong's 'failure to win in 2008 and 2010... strengthens the case for Brisbane and Hawthorn', why doesn't Brisbane's failure to win in 2000 and 2004, and Hawthorn's in 2011 and 2012 similarly strengthen the case for Geelong?
 

Remove this Banner Ad