Was 2017 a weak year, and is this a bad thing?

Discussion in 'AFL - The Australian Football League' started by The Goon, Mar 11, 2018.

Put it out there
  1. The Goon

    The Goon Premium Platinum

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    The AFL has been pushing for equalisation for some time now. With an 18 team comp and the introduction of the two new teams finally settling down (i.e. the draft is no longer heavily compromised) the last two years may be the new norm.

    There have been a fair few comments around my team wining the flag in a 'weak year'. What I want opinions on is what a 'weak year' means, and if it was in fact a 'weak year' is this a bad thing?
    1. What constitutes a weak year? Was it because there were no dominant teams? If Adelaide or GWS had won in 2017 would this discussion be taking place? Has the standard of the competition slipped in the last year or so? Is there another reason for this tag?
    2. If it was a weak year is this a bad thing? Would you prefer to see a couple of dominant teams playing the best footy and slaying all in their path for 3-4 years, or a more even competition that may not live up to your expectation of 'ideal' footy.
     
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  2. nickcat0

    nickcat0 Senior List

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    I don't think there is any such thing as a "weak year" ........ In any 2 consecutive seasons, the players in the AFL are pretty much the same; a handful may have changed teams, there might be a couple of rookies on each team, but by and large, probably about 80%+ are the same players at the same club ....... It takes a longer period of time (say a decade) for the quality of players to fluctuate, so that a pattern may emerge where you can say we're in a "weak" or a "strong" era.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2018
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  3. Luv_our_club

    Luv_our_club Club Legend

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    Two dominant teams like 2008, 2009, 2011 = strong year

    Five or more contenders like 2016 and 2017 = weak year

    I never understood this distinction.
     
  4. The 747

    The 747 Brownlow Medallist

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    Don't rate the term, every flag is hard work and requires some luck.
     
  5. kranky al

    kranky al Brownlow Medallist

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    I reckon the last three years have been weak

    The eagles were a weak contender in 2015 against a hawthorn that were still strong

    Since then the teams that have been in the granny were weaker than other years

    2015, 16, 17 were clearly compromised by the gws, gc expansion.

    Just about any premier pre 2015 would flog the top teams of right now - except maybe gws this year.

    Collingwoods premiership side would have been licking their lips at playing richmond or the dogs. As would geelongs, hawthorns, sydneys.
     
  6. SterlingArcher

    SterlingArcher Brownlow Medallist

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    Weak = equal, in general.

    I don't think it's overly dramatic to say Richmond 17 (and Dogs 16) are weak premiers compared to say Geelong 07, right now. But we always compare years well after the fact - what makes a year strong often seems to be consecutive years of dominance.

    But for all we know Richmond have just started their dominance, sure their H&A season wasn't special with 16 straight wins or anything, but they steamrolled their opponents in the finals - if they continue that form, Adelaide and Geelong are strong again, while GWS and Sydney are thereabouts again then in a few years we will be like wow they were some really competitive years. We will forget that Richmond only started late 2017, but that's how it works. Plus 2008-2011 really had 4 big teams in that time with only 3 max in 1 year, 2017 especially had real depth down to 6th spot.

    FWIW I do think the last few years premiers (Hawks 15 onwards probably) haven't been as strong on paper as many premiers before that but there's still plenty of youth in the Doggies and Richmond to really flesh out their career accolades and Hawks 2015 are one of the goat champion teams so it will all probably even out. Give Dan Rioli, Prestia, McLean, Boyd etc a decade more and looking at the flag sides on paper is a lot more impressive.
     
  7. RUNVS

    RUNVS Brownlow Medallist

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    It is more of in some years it is almost unthinkable that a bottom 4 team could beat a top 4 team, but in 2016 and 2017 it was possible. I am not sure how much it happened but the gap between the top 4 and bottom 4 was less than it had been in a lot of years.
     
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  8. Jables

    Jables Club Legend

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    Great teams are great fun to watch for me, I can absolutely appreciate a great neutral team, however one great team does not necessarily mean the year is strong so it's complicated. All I can say is that the top 8 have not played engrossing footy for years and it's getting worse if anything, and yes that includes 2015 when we were fading and I still didn't really see a threat (I was pretty shocked we lost the first final despite being interstate).

    6 and 10 years ago Geelong and Hawthorn got knocked off by 'inferior' opponents, If either of those lists were in this season It would honestly be a forgone conclusion. We were shocking last year and there was a 3 week period we beat Adelaide, GWS and almost beat Geelong, those are top 4 teams ffs and we should not be close to beating more than 1 per year, yes the comp is particularly even right now, but eh, to me that's not strong.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2018
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  9. Tiger Toffee

    Tiger Toffee Norm Smith Medallist

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    2017 was the strongest year and 2012 was the weakest year in the 18 team era.
     
  10. TJASTA

    TJASTA Premiership Player

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    The weak years in VFL/AFL History: 1920, 1921, 1932, 1934, 1943, 1967, 1969, 1973, 1974, 1980, 2017.
     
  11. Golden_6

    Golden_6 Premiership Player

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    I hate determining between weak and strong years. There’s literally no way this can be quantified other than random individual subjective opinions. There’s no comparibility between years.
     

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  12. harrythetiger

    harrythetiger Norm Smith Medallist

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    The league is more equal now. The bottom teams are more competitive than they used to be. The top sides are less dominant than they used to be. It is still just as hard to win a flag now as it has ever been. It is harder to win multiple, and easier to get off the bottom of the ladder.

    As for the quality of the players in the league, that really doesn’t have much to do with the clubs anyway. They all have the same talent to choose from. And that really only changes about 10% every year* so any changes aren’t going to be dramatic anyway.

    *10% because I figure there’s about 800 listed players in any given year, and about 80 get drafted so in order to maintain a balance about 80 must also leave the system. If you have another figure I’d be more than happy to be corrected.
     
  13. harrythetiger

    harrythetiger Norm Smith Medallist

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    And as for tactics, they are constantly improving. There’s a reason no one plays 6 forwards, 6 mids, 6 backs anymore. It wouldn’t work. Similarly, teams of the 90s would get flogged by modern sides. You can argue about the great offensive play, but those sides had almost no defence, and their attack would be undone by zones, and the fact modern sides lay a minimum of 60 tackles per game rather than 30.
    Mind you, that doesn’t make those years any weaker. That’s just progression.
     
  14. Falconx

    Falconx Premium Platinum

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    Statistically you could argue it was a weaker year than 2016 because the top end performed worse than in 2016, but in exchange the bottom end performed much better than 2016. This made it much more even competition where the top end teams still needed to perform well against the bottom teams.

    We saw quite a lot of bottom sides score upsets against the top end teams. With exception to Richmond who still lost to 14th, Adelaide, Geelong and GWS all had losses to teams in the bottom 4. In 2016 none of the top 4 dropped a game to the bottom 4. In one year the evenness of the competition changed heavily even though most at the time were considering 2016 a really weak even year.

    The thing I'm looking forward to is if 2018 is similar. Will we go back to 17-5/18-4 teams or will it be similar where the top sides go say 15-7/14-8? It will also be interesting how the bottom sides go, maybe we might see a 6 win wooden spooner.
     
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  15. Judd2Sewell

    Judd2Sewell Norm Smith Medallist

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    Yes it was a weak season, but it's not a bad thing as there were several teams in the mix. It was an even season.
     
  16. Maybenextyear

    Maybenextyear Club Legend

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    Considering Richmond smashed the other three top four sides in the finals by 51 , 36 and 48 points it was a very weak season by the other 17 sides. The most dominant finals series by a side for the past 20 years. We would have smashed anyone in the past , present ( which we did ) and future.

    Come on you spineless jellyfish , step up and give the premiers some competition.
     
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  17. Snake_Baker

    Snake_Baker Brownlow Medallist

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    Yes
    No
    Yes/No
    Yes
    No
    Yes
     
  18. Royce Hafey

    Royce Hafey Club Legend

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    But that doesn't necessarily mean it's a weak year. If the reason that the bottom 4 can beat the top 4 is purely due to improvement by the bottom 4 then it can actually evidence of a stronger year,
     
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  19. CrowsFlag2018

    CrowsFlag2018 Team Captain

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    People were saying this was a weak year before the GF was even played. It pissed me off then and it does now.

    This was mostly peddled by fans who just couldnt hack that their team wasnt still in it.

    So called 'strong' years are just unbalanced and boring.

    'Weak' years are open and interesting. 2017 was the best year of footy for the neutrals in a decade.
     
  20. Final Siren

    Final Siren Mr Squiggle

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    Yeah, it always comes down to evenness. That's really the only way to rate a weak or strong year.

    But there are different ways of measuring evenness. Take 2011 for example. The bottom end was very poor (Gold Coast in their first year and Port winning 3 games), but Collingwood and Geelong in the top 2 made it one of the strongest brackets of all time, and 3rd (Hawthorn - 18 wins) and 4th (West Coast - 17 wins) were very good, too. But there were some fairly average teams in the bottom end of the 8.

    For me it comes down to how good those 1-4 top-end teams are. But that's hard to measure.
     
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  21. master bate

    master bate Brownlow Medallist

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    Richmond were deserving of the Premiership. A good team for most of the year that became very good and great as the year rolled on.

    Adelaide were an excellent team all year.

    That said, I'd argue Geelong and GWS as teams who made prelims in both years as well as West Coast and Sydney weren't as good as they were in 2016. Hawthorn '16 probably compared to Port and North/Ess.

    So overall the depth of the top 4 and the top 8 wasn't what is was the year previous. Weak year at the top is probably fair.

    Percentage is often a good guide and there's some clear demarcations last year. Adelaide 130+, then the teams 2-6 115-130, 7-13 90-105 and then the rest mostly sub 80%. The Crows were a standout but the Tigers were a force come September.
     
  22. Leather Poisoning

    Leather Poisoning Moderator

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    You need to look at the bottom end as well. If you have a bottom four that struggle to win ‘any’ games (eg Melb at their worst, gc and GWS in their entry years) it literally gifts wins to the other clubs and gives opportunity to rest players and test out tactics. It polarizes the league and I don’t think it’s common to see a weak tail without a strong head (1 or 2 stand out sides)
     
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  23. Demon13304

    Demon13304 All Australian

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    Yeah that's another thing. Going into a game thinking the other team is just percentage booster is not as likely anymore.

    I looked it as more of an even year, where the bottom teams are generally better and more competitive than they were a few years ago.
    - Wooden spooners of 2017 Brisbane are sooooooooooooo much better than Melbourne, GC and GWS of 2012/13
     
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  24. Bojangles17

    Bojangles17 Brownlow Medallist

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    It wasn’t a weak year however there was no dominant leader that had like an 18-19w in 2017. Come finals you could throw a blanket over top 4. The other factor was the lack of a long tail , as in 3-4 sides winning < 5g . Tnis Lends itself to a more even comp , the result of minimal draft compromises
     
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  25. Dogs_r_barking

    Dogs_r_barking Premiers 2016

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    I have no idea what a weak year is as opposed to a strong year. Was it a strong year when Collingwood won in 2010, when the Saints were the best team all year? Was it a weak year in 2008, when Geelong dominated all year but Hawthorn won it?

    All I know is that teams, who list their VFL premierships are weak years because only 10 clubs played back then not 18.
     
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