- Aug 18, 2009
- AFL Club
Collingwood 2010 and Geelong 2011 were two of the all-time great premierships, won by outstanding teams with powerful attacks and defences. Scoring was always going to fall away from there.
Sydney 2012 was a defensive specialist, but a very good one. And they were so different from every other team (except Ross Lyon ones) that they looked like an outlier, not the start of a trend.
Hawthorn 2013-2015 were fundamentally balanced but leaned more toward attack, so things seemed back on track, scoring-wise.
Then the Bulldogs 2016 looked a lot like Sydney 2012: defensive specialists, weak in attack.
Richmond 2017 was similar, but less remarkable, and more like the best team at the right time in an even year.
And West Coast 2018 was even closer to the pack, again with a good defense but only a moderately good attack, and again winning the flag by coming good at the right time.
So we were probably a bit spoiled by Collingwood 2010 and Geelong 2011, because that level of performance wasn't sustainable, but 2016-2018 has given us three weak attacks in a row, and that makes Sydney 2012 look like part of a pattern in retrospect.
The other thing is that 2018 had no good attack specialists for the first time in decades -- none at all! Even in 2005 and 2006, which were two even, defensive years, there were a couple of teams that managed sharper attacks than anyone could produce in 2018. Most years can offer two or three or even four teams with better attacks than 2018's peak (Melbourne).
So I can imagine that as much as Sydney 2012 seemed to alarm the AFL, that could be dismissed as a one-off, whereas what we saw in 2018 seemed more fundamental and systemic.