The Roar
The Roar


Who is the best team in AFL history?

Roar Pro
26th March, 2014
13989 Reads

Last week I decided to collaborate the entire history of the AFL from 1990 to the end of last season, to get a feel for who deserves to be considered the best AFL team in history.

And the results were surprising in their disparity and for the supremacy of one team over the rest.

But before I reveal my findings I will discuss how I came to my conclusions and give people an insight into the recent history of this wonderful sport.

The criteria I measured a club’s greatness over time were:
– Most premiership flags won;
– Number of finals series contested;
– Overall winning record (including finals);
– Most grand finals played;
– How many bottom four finishes each club had;
– Most finals games won.

Remarkably 11 sides have won a flag in the past 24 seasons, compared to just six teams from the period of 1966-1989. The majority of this time period was before the national draft and the salary cap (the draft started in 1986).

This shows that the AFL is an extremely balanced and even competition, which is a credit to the systems put in place.

Only two of these teams Carlton (1995) and Port Adelaide (2004) only won one flag with Collinwood, Essendon, North Melbourne. Adelaide and Sydney winning two each. Hawthorn, Geelong, West Coast and Brisbane all hold three cups.

Grand final wins:
Hawthorn 3
Geelong 3
West Coast 3
Brisbane 3
Sydney 2
Collingwood 2
Essendon 2
North Melbourne 2
Adelaide 2

The leading finals series contested are:
West Coast 18
Geelong 16
Essendon 14
Hawthorn 14
Sydney 14
Collingwood 13
North Melbourne


The winning records overall read as follows:
Geelong 62.14%
West Coast 55.8%
Essendon 54.85%
Hawthorn 54.33%
North Melbourne 54.23per cent

How many grand finals?
Geelong 7
Collingwood 6 (1 drawn)
West Coast 5
Hawthorn 4
Brisbane 4
Essendon 4
St Kilda 4 (1 drawn)
Sydney 4

Bottoming out:
Richmond 10
Melbourne 9
Fremantle 8
Stkilda 6
Western Bulldogs 5
Collingwood 5
Sydney 5
Fitzroy 5
West Coast 4
Geelong 0

Most finals games won:
Geelong 24
West Coast 19
Collingwood 17
Sydney 17
Hawthorn 16
Essendon 15
North Melbourne 15

Geelong for sheer consistency has to be the best in AFL history, to this point in time. Can’t wait to see what unfolds in 2014.