The Worst AFL Teams Of The Decade
The past decade in the AFL has been dominated by dynasties, from the conclusion of Geelong’s run to Hawthorn’s three-peat, and now to the Tigers winning three in four years. At the other end of the ladder, however, there have been some not so positive stories, and we’re going to take a look at the AFLs worst teams from the past ten years.
Gold Coast Suns
If you’re wondering which team has lost the most AFL games in the past decade, you need look no further than the Gold Coast – and it isn’t close. One of the two expansion teams to have entered the league in the past ten years, the Suns have struggled to make an imprint on the AFL, and despite all the help they have received from the powers that be they’ve been unable to make the finals in their ten seasons. The figures make for grim reading for Suns fans; in those ten years, five times they’ve finished in the bottom two, they’ve never finished higher than 12th, and their record over those seasons sits at 52-2-161. With talented young players like Matt Rowell and Jack Lukosius at their disposal there is some light at the end of the tunnel, but after a slow start to 2021 they are expected to remain towards the bottom of the ladder this season.
The decade didn’t start out too badly for one of the most historically successful AFL teams, but Blues fans would likely rather forget the last few years. In each of the seven seasons between 2014 and 2020 they’ve failed to win more than seven games, and last year’s 11th-place finish was their best since 2013. They’ve had a host of high draft picks and seemingly plenty of young talent, but never has that translated into on-field success. With Patrick Cripps in the midfield, the likes of Harry McKay leading the charge up forward and a capable key defensive pairing of Liam Jones and Jacob Weitering, there are some signs that things are about to change at Visy Park, but Carlton fans will understandably need to see it before they can believe it.
St. Kilda Saints
It wasn’t all that long ago that the Saints were a Grand Finalist in back-to-back seasons, but in the past ten years the mediocrity which has plagued the club for over a century has well and truly returned. St. Kilda finished sixth in 2011 and ninth in 2012, but a dark period ensued thereafter as they failed to make the finals in seven consecutive seasons, winning six games or less in four of those. In the past couple of years they’ve begun an ascent up the ladder and in 2020 broke their finals drought with a sixth-place finish, but 2021 hasn’t started as planned. There’s no doubting that they have the talent, as evidenced by last season’s performance, but success-starved Saints fans will be understandably wary about the club’s ability to capitalise on it.
The final verdict
A number of teams have struggled at various points throughout the past decade, but few have managed to maintain a consistent level of mediocrity like those listed above. The Suns, in particular, have defied the numerous advantages which they’ve been given. A lack of success was understandable early on in the club’s existence, but in recent years they’ve had ample opportunity to turn high draft picks into on-field success, and their failure to do that means they earn the undesirable title of the AFLs worst team of the past decade.