Since 2005, when Sydney broke through for their maiden Premiership, three teams have dominated the competition like no others. In this time, they have combined for nine of the last 13 premierships, as well as at least one of these teams featuring in 11 grand finals over this time, and consistently defied expectations to stay at the pointy end of the ladder. These teams are Geelong, Hawthorn and Sydney, and all have been at the forefront of the competition in the last decade and a bit.
However, with this year being the first since 2002 that at least one of these teams hasn’t featured in a Preliminary final, after early exits from this year’s finals series, it’s looking likely that their reins are all entering the beginning of the end. Who will leave the eight first? Today, we predict dynasty most likely to fall the earliest.
Most Likely to fall out of the eight this year (in order of most to least):
We have Sydney at the top of this list, and the most likely to crumble next year for a few reasons. From the rumblings of many Sydney supporters, they are fed up with the ‘one paced’ game style of John Longmire, who seems to have no tricks up his sleeve and no more cards left to play. They are fed up with consistent lack of flair and pace from players on their list, and they are fed up with the large number of former Swans who seem to be out of form or out of luck. Combine this with a team that look very tired, and one where a number of stars of former guns are set to depart this year, and you have a team that is seriously set to slide.
The bang on Longmire might be a bit harsh, considering he has the second best winning percentage of any coach in the game at the moment, however his, and all other points still stand. Unless major beneficial changes are made in the harbor city this offseason, expect the Swans to be overtaken by a wave of younger teams looking for their time in the sunshine.
While Geelong has been there or there about for as long as many fans care to remember, is their premiership window about to come crashing down on Gary Ablett’s incredible, yet ageing career. While time and time again, Chris Scott has done his best to hold it wide open, to allow mastermind recruiter Stephen Wells to temporarily prop it up with the best recruit’s free agency has to offer and some outstanding draft picks, its seeming likely, especially given this year’s exit from their finals campaign, that this temporary fix was indeed temporary, and can’t be sustained forever.
While they still certainly have one of the top eight lists in the competition, their spine of senior players isn’t getting any younger, and the under 25’s don’t appear to have the quality of their older counterparts. Pair this with an extremely poor finals record, and a coach under a lot of pressure to finally deliver a consistent season where the cats push deep in September, and it looks like the footy community has a recipe to soon watch the cats fall out of the eight.
We’ve put Hawthorn as the most unlikely team to fall out of the eight next year for one simple reason: Alistair Clarkson. The man is a genius, and after years of underestimating him, the footy community still doubted him in getting his Hawks to play finals, let alone have them making the top four. The Hawks have two stars in Mitchell and Breust, who are well supported by other above average players such as O’Meara, Smith, Stratton, Gunston, Sicily and Shiel, but after that the quality of player starts to seriously drop away. However, the good thing for the Hawks is that none of these players look to be going anywhere in the next 4-5 years, and youngsters that had promising seasons in Worpel, Morrison, Howe, Nash and Burton, among others, all look likely to become big contributors for the Hawks in the next 2-3 years.
Except for the Retirements of Roughead, Burgoyne, and possibly Frawley at the end of next year, there seems to be no reason why they would take a backward step next year. While when their spine of above average players lose a bit of touch in the next three years or so they may spend a couple of years out of the eight recuperating and waiting for youth to catch up, it still seems as if Hawthorn will be in the eight more time than not in the coming decade, as long as they stick with Clarkson.