The AFL Eras Biggest Underachievers- My Top 5

Which team is the biggest underachiever of the AFL era

  • Essendon (1999-2001)

    Votes: 53 24.9%
  • Collingwood (2010-2012)

    Votes: 9 4.2%
  • Geelong (1989-1995)

    Votes: 25 11.7%
  • GWS (2016-2019)

    Votes: 31 14.6%
  • St.Kilda (1997-99 + 2004-2010)

    Votes: 83 39.0%
  • Other

    Votes: 12 5.6%

  • Total voters
    213

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Richo83

Brownlow Medallist
Oct 2, 2005
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Controversial opinion time, Essendon 1999-2001 weren't that good.

In 1999, they finished first with a percentage of 126% which isn't great. Beat an average Sydney side who just scraped in, then lost to a Carlton side who they trailed for much of the whole day.

In 2000, they had to compete with an ageing Carlton, an overachieving Melbourne and a not old enough Brisbane. Only had four All-Australians and only one of them was a midfielder. That team was ripe for the picking with the 2000s becoming more of a midfielders game.

In 2001, they were outpointed by a team which was, simply put, better. Better backline, better forwardline, much better midfield.

Essendon's stars were Hird, Wellman, Fletcher, Lloyd, Lucas, Hardwick and maybe the Johnson brothers, Misiti and Mecuri but only bomber die hards really remember those.

Brisbane's stars were Akermanis, Voss, Lappin, Black, Johnson, Leppitsch, Lynch. I'd argue that Akermanis is equal to Hird and the rest played in more important positions.

I honestly believe that the Geelong side of 2007 was a better side and would have won in a grand final against the 2000 bombers handsomely. Dan26 wants you to believe they were the best premiership side. They weren't.
 

iameviljez

Brownlow Medallist
Oct 20, 2004
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Cooney won a Brownlow 2 years prior as well as AA. We recruited Hall who kicked 80 in 2010.

Morris was AA in 2008, while Lake was AA in 2009/2010. Boyd was AA in 2009, and Hall in 2010.
Yeah, but AA... I mean, Cam Mooney won an AA but he's not in Ablett/Franklin/Riewoldt etc company. Neither was Cooney, though he was a fine footballer. I don't begrudge his Brownlow, but Ablett should have won it in a canter.
 

iameviljez

Brownlow Medallist
Oct 20, 2004
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Essendon's stars were Hird, Wellman, Fletcher, Lucas, Hardwick
You're kidding, right? Hird, Lloyd (who cracked the ton that year), Lucas, Misiti, Jason Johnson, Fletcher, and maybe Caracella at a pinch.

They were a fantastic side and looked absolutely unbeatable. But the salary cap bit hard, Misiti and Mercuri fell away, their two main ruckmen retired, and they just lost depth really fast.
 

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Richo83

Brownlow Medallist
Oct 2, 2005
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You're kidding, right? Hird, Lloyd (who cracked the ton that year), Lucas, Misiti, Jason Johnson, Fletcher, and maybe Caracella at a pinch.

They were a fantastic side and looked absolutely unbeatable. But the salary cap bit hard, Misiti and Mercuri fell away, their two main ruckmen retired, and they just lost depth really fast.
I've added Lloyd and I still like the Brisbane stars more. Misiti had one good season. One. Jason Johnson wasn't a star. He was a good player but he's not comparable to Brisbane's midfield group. If Essendon were a better side, they would have won more premierships. Yet they were beaten by a Brisbane side which was... simply put, better.
 

iameviljez

Brownlow Medallist
Oct 20, 2004
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I've added Lloyd and I still like the Brisbane stars more. Misiti had one good season. One. Jason Johnson wasn't a star. He was a good player but he's not comparable to Brisbane's midfield group. If Essendon were a better side, they would have won more premierships. Yet they were beaten by a Brisbane side which was... simply put, better.
Nobody's going to doubt that Brisbane was better, I think that's pretty much a given.
 

Damon_3388

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Jun 23, 2008
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If anything, that Collingwood group over-achieved, given their talent level.

They overcame sides not with skill, but with tackling, stubborn relentless pressure, teamwork, hard running and hard work.

It was a gameplan that was eventually going to see mental and physical burn out, and that's exactly what happened.
 

greatwhiteshark

Brownlow Medallist
Oct 3, 2007
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Perth
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Flags are bloody hard to win but with the lists the Eagles have had in their history just 4 flags is a massive underachievment.
Should of won at least 3-4 in the 90’s And certainly should of gone back to back in 92-93.
Could of gone back to back 05-06 but could of easily come away with nothing I suppose.
Never once been a dynasty club, always drop away after winning one.
I really think we have underachieved.
 

Damon_3388

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North Melbourne 1993 - 2000. Seven straight Preliminary Finals, yet won only two flags. Should have won a definate three, possibly four or five.
They were minor premiers once, and finished 2nd in the H&A season two other times. I'd say two flags is adequate return given they weren't an absolute dominant H&A side for that entire time, but were always among a few teams that were genuinely in the flag hunt.

All that being said, they should have won in 1998.
 

Bungeye

All Australian
Aug 19, 2017
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If anything, that Collingwood group over-achieved, given their talent level.

They overcame sides not with skill, but with tackling, stubborn relentless pressure, teamwork, hard running and hard work.

It was a gameplan that was eventually going to see mental and physical burn out, and that's exactly what happened.
I would have thought that description would be more appropiate for St Kilda at the time.

Collingwood in 2011 scored 2,600 points for the season. You need skill to get it through the big sticks.

Now should we compare modern teams and their skill level of kicking goals?
 

Hot Diggity

All Australian
Jun 19, 2020
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Saints of the late 00’s win this thread. Riewoldt, Hayes, Goddard, Milne, absolute champions and great finals players. Great game plan and coach. I have them as good as the Cats and Pies even without the flags to show for it. Proof that the bottom 6 probably does get you across the line.
Correct. Robert Eddy ain't a first 22 player.
 

HTPunter

Norm Smith Medallist
Sep 27, 2014
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Your salty dig at Richmonds 'year off' aside,

I simply said that Brisbane's dynasty is statistically the worst, because they're the only one without the minor premiership. I didn't interject my opinion on this, just factual statement and an observation thst is genuinely accurate. Comparing the dynasties on ability is impossible and not the point of this thread.

Port Adelaide were an absolutely excellent team in that time and overcame the Lions in 2004 to prove their doubters wrong.
Well actually to say not winning a minor flag "factually" makes it the "weakest statistically" is 100% your opinion. Who is to say that is the statistic that matters?
 

juss

Brownlow Medallist
Feb 23, 2009
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I still maintain the Giants side has been stifled by Leon Cameron.

Put a Hardwick, Clarkson, Simpson or even a Fagan, Hinkley in charge of that list and I reckon they have 1-2 flags by now.

Saints would be my next pick.

Cats 3rd, but at least the Cats won 3 so hardly been a poor return.
 

Tzatziki_Man

Greek Souvlaki 🇬🇷
Oct 2, 2008
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Well actually to say not winning a minor flag "factually" makes it the "weakest statistically" is 100% your opinion. Who is to say that is the statistic that matters?
Splitting hairs no doubt.

But they've all got three premierships. So to separate them, where to next? If I was splitting hairs, I'd say the Lions side never won a minor premiership. You may say the Lions and Hawks are stronger than Cats and Tigers cause winning 3 in a row is harder than 3.

But either way, its a factual metric we can measure success by. But ultimately, the only metric that matters are the three premierships.
 

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The 747

Brownlow Medallist
Jan 19, 2008
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Personally I don't think so, they've been good across that stretch but never the best team in any particular year, they've done genuinely well to remain around the mark for so long.

Saints through that 2004 - 2010 the biggest one in recent times for me, plenty of star power just never quite got there.
Yeah we have always been the second to fourth best team when we have finished top 4.
 

The 747

Brownlow Medallist
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I still maintain the Giants side has been stifled by Leon Cameron.

Put a Hardwick, Clarkson, Simpson or even a Fagan, Hinkley in charge of that list and I reckon they have 1-2 flags by now.

Saints would be my next pick.

Cats 3rd, but at least the Cats won 3 so hardly been a poor return.
Not a poor return but not great either, in the AFL era 3 flags from 8 GF appearances.
 

juss

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Not a poor return but not great either, in the AFL era 3 flags from 8 GF appearances.
Conversion might be low, but 3 still stands above most for the AFL era. I think they have underachieved to a degree, but have also had better success than most.
Making GFs is still a better result than not making GFs.
 

iameviljez

Brownlow Medallist
Oct 20, 2004
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Not a poor return but not great either, in the AFL era 3 flags from 8 GF appearances.
Only lost one that we started favourites in.

I feel as though by the time we finally got our backline together, with O’Reilly, Sholl, McGrath and Mansfield, our prime movers in Ablett, Bairstow, Hinkley, Couch, Bews and Stoneham were gone.
 
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who_let_the_dogs_out

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Aug 1, 2005
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Outside of Geelong being the better team, it was mainly just Cooney and Murphy being plagued by injuries along with a few older players starting to slow down.

I say this seriously - Dogs of 2010 had almost no clear weakness, which is why I feel they underperformed. Maybe Eade wasn't quite a good enough coach to get it done, but really there should have been a flag somewhere between 2008-2010, but instead we couldn't get past the prelims.

I feel there are comparisons that can be drawn between the Dogs of 2008-2010, and GWS of 2016-2018. Both had insanely stacked lists, stars all over the field, but arguably held back by their coach and circumstances (i.e. Geelong for the Dogs, and Richmond for GWS).

Admittedly I could be overlooking something given its been 10+ years since then. So much has happened between then and now
The weight of almost 50 years of no success and prelim finals losses added to the pressure IMO. We didn't know how to win. That 97 side bottled it in the last quarter of that prelim for that reason. Scared due to a losing culture.

Monkey is off the back going forward.
 

Hens Hall

Club Legend
Aug 17, 2009
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Controversial opinion time, Essendon 1999-2001 weren't that good.

In 1999, they finished first with a percentage of 126% which isn't great. Beat an average Sydney side who just scraped in, then lost to a Carlton side who they trailed for much of the whole day.

In 2000, they had to compete with an ageing Carlton, an overachieving Melbourne and a not old enough Brisbane. Only had four All-Australians and only one of them was a midfielder. That team was ripe for the picking with the 2000s becoming more of a midfielders game.

In 2001, they were outpointed by a team which was, simply put, better. Better backline, better forwardline, much better midfield.

Essendon's stars were Hird, Wellman, Fletcher, Lloyd, Lucas, Hardwick and maybe the Johnson brothers, Misiti and Mecuri but only bomber die hards really remember those.

Brisbane's stars were Akermanis, Voss, Lappin, Black, Johnson, Leppitsch, Lynch. I'd argue that Akermanis is equal to Hird and the rest played in more important positions.

I honestly believe that the Geelong side of 2007 was a better side and would have won in a grand final against the 2000 bombers handsomely. Dan26 wants you to believe they were the best premiership side. They weren't.
Not controversial for me, I largely agree with this.

Their midfield hasn't stood the test of time compared to other great teams.

They had some really good KPP's but no generational midfielders as such (Hird was a bit of a swingman for/mid).

Defeating Melbourne in a GF really sums it up. In hindsight you could argue it was somewhat of a transitional year from the 90's powerhouses to the great 2000's teams.
 

Catman50

Draftee
Feb 1, 2016
16
26
AFL Club
Geelong
1. St. Kilda (97-99 + 04-10)
Shock and genuine sadness the great Saints of these two eras didn't win atleast one premiership. Multiple brownlow, Coleman and norm Smith medallists, yet... no premiership. Incredible winning streaks, minor premierships and all australians... with no premiership.

2. Essedon (1999-2001)
How did the widely accepted greatest team of all time - The Essendon Team of 2000, how did they only win ONE premiership? Their dominance was unprecedented. They were one kick away from three Grand Finals and in all that time, managed one premiership. Although in isolation, the 2000 team is arguably the best, its also one of the most underachieving of the AFL era.

3. Collingwood (2010-2012)
Dayne Beams said this team should have been a dynasty and I agree. Their dominance of 2010 and 2011 rival Geelongs in 2007. Yet the coaching transition split the playing group and prematurely ruined their opportunity to tie Essendon and Carlton for most premierships.

4. Geelong (1989-1995)
They werent up to it in the Grand Finals. Mostly blow-out losses and even the 1989 Grand Final provided the history books a flattering scoreline. However, 89, 92, 94 and 95 all losses stings severely.

5. GWS (2016-2019)
The red ferrari.
The hysteria and overly dramatic narrative that overstated their potential dominance resulted in a simple puff of smoke. The Giants underwhelmed. Rather than a champion team, they developed a team of individuals that included some excellent players.
Well make of it what you will, as a Cats Supporter I have had too many GF heartbreaks but overall this century..Clearly the No#1 Team

1604020646689.png
 

Catman50

Draftee
Feb 1, 2016
16
26
AFL Club
Geelong
Sorry if this is a repeat. Geelong has under achieved in Grand Finals I will to my dismay admit but overall they have given me more to cheer about than not. As a hobby Excel Spreadsheet enthusiast I have put together a spreadsheet type Data-Base of the Entire AFL/VFL history (Scoring wise) plus some other records like awards and records. The following table is from my Data-Base. Cats fans have good reason to be proud of the last 20 years!!!

1604021135691.png
 

iameviljez

Brownlow Medallist
Oct 20, 2004
13,479
14,794
Brisbane
AFL Club
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Essendon 99-01. To only get 1 flag for that side is bordering on criminal.

Port 02-04. Massively. Pound for pound a better team than either Hawthorn 13-15 and Richmond 17-20. Just could not get it done in September.
No kidding Port underachieved, but they did not have the extreme talent that Hawthorn 13-15 had, IMO.
 

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