The Hawthorn 3peat: is it an accident of history?

Discussion in 'AFL - The Australian Football League' started by Lance Uppercut, Aug 19, 2016.

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  1. Lance Uppercut

    Lance Uppercut Eat bling

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    Preface: what Hawthorn have achieved is magnificent. Clarkson is, in my opinion a genius coach; and the club have been very canny with their list management.

    However. The most recent period of AFL history is completely and utterly unprecedented and unique.

    During this time the AFL simultaneously established 2 new clubs, and in doing so distorted the trade/draft situation in a monumental fashion. The effects of this enormous distortion are still being felt even today, but at the time the effects were so massive that the implications could only be equally as large.

    In real terms what it meant was that several generations of the elite players went almost exclusively to just two clubs, which was further compounded by devices such as mini-drafts and compensation picks given out for unsigned stars (and on-traded, leading to further distortions) for many subsequent years.

    Whilst there were many implications to this gigantic upset of the natural order one of them was plain, and inarguable: the teams who were at or about the top of the ladder at that point were, via an accident of history, gifted an unprecedented opportunity to sustain their dominance.

    Quite simply, instead of getting 3-4 or more genuinely good players per year for several years, the chasing pack got only 1. This translated into a situation whereby, arguably, it became incredibly difficult, if not impossible, for the them to catch the top performers.

    This is plainly illustrated in the reality that, despite all of the explicit mechanisms to promote equalisation: for the last decade the same 4 teams have shared the Premiership spoils, with the 7 cups since the inception of GC being shared between just 4 clubs. All of whom, it turns out, were either at the top or on the cusp of success precisely when GC and GWS were brought into the competition and the trade/draft environment radically distorted. This is not a coincidence.

    Now, please read the preface again. This is not to downplay Hawthorn's achievements; rather, it's to recognise, interpret and understand the extremely unusual conditions that have lead to the current status quo.

    I'd be interested in any thoughtful comments on how far people see this distortion having an effect, given the current ominous look of Greater Western Sydney.

    Do you agree or not, that the Hawthorn 3peat was in many ways an accident of history?
     

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  2. SilentHunter_

    SilentHunter_ Brownlow Medallist

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    Yeah I would say it was one of the worst 3peats in history ;).
     
  3. Captain Morgan

    Captain Morgan Club Legend

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    Interesting. So the Hawks were on the rise at the time and other clubs were effectively prevented from playing catch up through lack of draft picks which went to the new teams that were still under development.

    I can certainly see that as a factor, not sure if it was the primary one, but certainly a potential link.
     
  4. jason pm

    jason pm Brownlow Medallist

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    that !st line is a bit like the statement- "I am not a racist but".
     
  5. Testekill

    Testekill Don't look at me like that

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    Hawthorn are a great team that has a phenomenal coach that also benefitted when their grand final opponents struggled on the day. Seriously, the Eagles & Swans have just as much to do with the hawks getting the threepeat.
     
  6. Lance Uppercut

    Lance Uppercut Eat bling

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    that's what I'm interested in.

    I don't by any means think it was the only factor, hence the big bold disclaimer. Hawthorn have done incredibly well. But do we ignore the elephant in the room?

    I don't think so, in my opinion. I find it hard to see how you could argue that the chasing pack, given the chance to only get maybe 1 or 2 elite prospects over 3 or so years instead of maybe 5 or 6 in the same period wouldn't stunt their evolution into a top line team
     
  7. Lance Uppercut

    Lance Uppercut Eat bling

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    that's being a bit unfair to Hawthorn imo. If they "struggled on the day", and it was a pattern, then it's probably a good indication that it was Hawthorn that caused them to struggle
     
  8. Lance Uppercut

    Lance Uppercut Eat bling

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    they are pretty unusual, hence why it's not unreasonable to examine if there are external factors that contributed to it, I would have thought
     
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  9. Hamingja

    Hamingja Norm Smith Medallist

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    I think this year shows pretty clearly that it wasn't the grand final that was the form outlier for the Eagles.
     
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  10. Testekill

    Testekill Don't look at me like that

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    Well yeah, you can put it down to Hawthorn applying superior pressure on the day but West Coast barely fired a shot last year and Sydney had won a grand final two years prior to them getting trounced in 2014.
     
  11. Captain Morgan

    Captain Morgan Club Legend

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    First impression is that it was definately a factor - but how big? There are a lot of other defining attributes that govern a teams success - management, luck, talent and culture (to name but a few)

    Case in point - crows have copped their whack since 2011 (or whatever it was) losing bock, Davis, Dangerfield, Gunston, Tippett two dead coaches and draft penalties. Yes some of that punishment is self-induced but it's irrelevant for the argument. We are now pushing for top 4.

    Compare this to richmond, who haven't suffered anywhere near as much but would appear to lack management and (recruiting) talent.

    There is a fair bit of daylight between the two - despite both missing out on GC/GWS Allocated picks.

    I would say hawthorn have got where they are by getting pretty much everything right; it's just too darn hard to quantify the draft impact I reckon.
     
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  12. HolyRioli

    HolyRioli Norm Smith Medallist

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    I don't want to sound like the whingy Hawks supporter, but I think that's grossly underselling us. Heading into last years grand final, we were 6/7 of our last few games against West Coast. Our record against Sydney in 2014 wasn't as good as that, but still favourable.

    I'd certainly acknowledge that the compromised drafts + new teams probably have contributed in our sustained success, it would be naive to suggest that the context that is set against doesn't play a part.

    However, I don't believe that takes away anything from the achievement, likewise Geelong's. Whichever way you look at it, both teams had absolutely amazing squads through astute drafting, trading and development, and they have earned every bit of success that they have
     
  13. The Swert

    The Swert Premiership Player

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    Firstly, I think the impact of those distorted drafts is only now coming to fruition, not in 2012-15. It takes a good 80-100 games for players to really develop. The recent strength of Hawthorn, Sydney and Geelong is based on previous drafts (2001, 2004 & 2009 in particular)

    Secondly, although some clubs missed out on high end talent, the total pool of high end talent is unchanged. Therefore the challengers should still be just as strong, except maybe now it sits with GWS and Gold Coast instead of a Richmond or Brisbane.

    Do you have any actual data to back this theory up? What clubs suffered? Who did they miss out on? Why are they unable to challenge the top tier?
     
  14. Lance Uppercut

    Lance Uppercut Eat bling

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    either way, there's a lot more to winning a premiership than how you play on Grand Final day. You have to get there first.

    And, just on that, which is a great point, it's worth noting that, in the same 7 period since GC got their draft concessions, not only have there been only 4 Premiers, there have only been 3 other teams who have even made the big dance.

    So, to put that in perspective, out of 14 Grand Final places in the last 7 years, there has only been 7 teams that have been represented.

    In a period you would fully expect to have seen at least some cyclic equalisation effects, less than half of the competition have been able to achieve even a grand final berth. Remarkable.
     
  15. Furn2

    Furn2 Norm Smith Medallist

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    Here we go.

    Same rubbish theory that doesn't stand up to any kind of scrutiny.

    1. GWS and GC didn't even play finals in 13-15, with all that talent, so how does 1/18 make such a big difference ?

    2. The teams most effected where those at the bottom in those draft years, an extra 2 young players is not going to make a bottom side challenge the premiers.

    3. The effects of a draft aren't seen until 5-6 years down the track when those players reach their prime. That's this year onwards.

    4. Hawthorn moved down the draft just like everyone else. In 2010 they could have had Prestia or Lynch with their normal pick and they could have had Devon Smith in 2011.

    It's a convenient line to pull out when trying to discredit the 3peat but like the FA line it's rubbish.

    The only thing that helped the Hawks is trend of player power in trades and nominating clubs but again that applies to all teams.
     
  16. Sando22

    Sando22 Norm Smith Medallist

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    I strongly agree with the OP.
    Very well put sir.
     
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  17. Lance Uppercut

    Lance Uppercut Eat bling

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    • 7 years is a long time, so claiming that "only the bottom teams" were effected is grossly misleading.
    • To say it takes 5-7 years for players to reach their prime is also sophistry; as you can see with WB and Bontempelli; or Sydney and Heeney; one good player can make a difference, even if they are young - when in a good side
    • Yes Hawthorn moved down the draft but that's irrelevant when it comes to sustaining success as your drop was relative to every other club
    • Your first point makes no sense whatsoever
    • You are right that the event of free agency paired with the lure of success alongside Hawthorn's already assisted success is another external factor in sustaining Hawthorn's success
     
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  18. The Swert

    The Swert Premiership Player

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    Hardly remarkable.

    Look at the years before that

    2000 - 2009 - 10 grand finalists.
    1990 - 1999 - 10 grand finalists.
    1980 - 1989 - 7 grand finalists.
    1970 - 1979 - 6 grand finalists.

    It's pretty normal that only half the competing teams make a grand final in a given decade.
     
  19. CD__

    CD__ Formerly 1990Swan.

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    Every club knew that the expansion teams were coming in, Hawthorn just planned for it far better than anyone else...they deserve every accolade they get.
     
  20. Percel

    Percel Percel doesn't like microwave meals

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    Lets add 81-89 to that, 9 flags, only three premiers

    I blame Dr. Emmet Brown and GWS
     
  21. falcons2

    falcons2 All Australian

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    Maybe Hawthorns success is greater than all the expansion dribble. Hawthorn have had all the same disadvantages as everyone else.
    I think the expansion stuff undersells the ability of the Hawthorn coaching and player development and recruiting for needs.
    Too many excuses are given for under performing clubs.
     
  22. Lance Uppercut

    Lance Uppercut Eat bling

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    good point, but in much of that time we didn't have "equalisation measures". In the 90s, when it started as a philosophy, we had 7 different premiers. In the 00s again, 7 different premiers
     
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  23. Lance Uppercut

    Lance Uppercut Eat bling

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    no equalisation, and clearly disparate financial situations for clubs ;)
     
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  24. JeffDunne

    JeffDunne TheBrownDog

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    It might be a reason why some clubs couldn't bounce back up the ladder but it had little effect on the teams contesting finals.
     
  25. Hawkk

    Hawkk Hall of Famer

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    What impact did expansion play in the Collingwood 1927-30 and Carlton 1906-08 successes?
     
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