Double dipping for premiership success

By Miles Wilks

Heading into the 2012 finals, there is a great opportunity for players from five clubs (Sydney, Hawthorn, Collingwood, West Coast & North Melbourne) to obtain their 2nd premiership medal.

There are as many as 20 players at Collingwood and as few as one player at North Melbourne (Brent Harvey) with the chance of seizing that highly valued 2nd premiership medal at the one club.

Of the other finalists, Geelong already have dual and triple premiership winning players, whilst Fremantle and Adelaide have no premiership winners from their club right now.

Taken from a club perspective, the majority of premiership teams from the last 50 years feature player/s who have won two or more premierships. The number of times a team has secured just one premiership victory within the last 50 years with no cross-over of players into a 2nd premiership team (for the same club) is minimal.

It has occurred just seven times. The teams that feature no dual premiership players for the one club are Geelong (1963), St Kilda (1966), Collingwood (1990), Port Adelaide (2004), Sydney (2005), Hawthorn (2008) and Collingwood (2010).

We can learn from history that that once a club produces a premiership team the odds favour them to double dip for a second premiership victory within the lifetime of their playing group. This statistical fact should warm the hearts of supporters of Sydney, Hawthorn, West Coast and the Collingwood football clubs as they search for a 2nd premiership team within the lifetime of their present playing group. Yet only one of these teams will have a chance to “double-dip” in 2012, and based on the incidence of dual premiership victories the odds favour teams with a smaller gap between premiership victories than a larger gap between victories.

The most common gap is 2 years between premiership victories (11 teams in the last fifty years had a 2 year gap including West Coast 1992/94, Geelong 2007/09 and Geelong 2009/11). And the longest gap between premiership victories in the last fifty years with at least one player featuring in both wins was West Coast’s 12 year gap between 1994 and 2006. Drew Banfield was the sole representative of both teams.

The gap between premierships if these teams win the flag in 2012:

Collingwood 2010-2012 – 2 year gap.

Hawthorn 2008 -2012 – 4 year gap.

West Coast 2006-2012- 6 year gap.

Sydney 2005 –2012 – 7 year gap.

Collingwood 2010 -2012- a two year gap – is history on their side?

As mentioned, the most common gap between premiership winning teams for one club is two years.

This would seem to place Collingwood in a good position, as they won in 2010 and are aiming to obtain another premiership in 2012.

Collingwood, however, won a premiership in 2010 and was runner-up in 2011. Other teams in this 50 year period to lose a grand final in between two victories are Carlton (1968-70), North Melbourne (1975-77), Hawthorn (1986-88) and Geelong (2007-09). As it stands right now, Geelong is the only team in the last 24 years to win a flag, lose the grand final the following year and then win the next year.  On these grounds, it would be a remarkable achievement for Collingwood to follow in the footsteps of the Geelong Cats team of 2007-09.

On the positive side, there are at least 20 players from Collingwood in 2012 who have the opportunity to “double-dip” with another premiership victory. The players not eligible this year are Luke Ball (long-term injury) and Leigh Brown (retirement).

Hawthorn – a four year gap- is history on their side?

The only club within the last 50 years that has won the premiership with a four year gap between titles is Richmond 1969-73. It can also be mentioned that Melbourne won the premiership in 1964 and that was was four years after their 1960 victory, but that is just outside this 50-year period.

Unlike Hawthorn in 2012, however, Richmond in 1973 had the sting of being humiliated in the previous year’s grand final . Richmond in 1973 were out for revenge after suffering a loss in the 1972 grand final to a rampant Carlton, as the Blues  kicked a record score of 177 points against the Tigers.

On these grounds, the Hawks of 2012 don’t have the same type of motivation that Richmond had in 1973. Some might argue, however, that a bitterly close preliminary final loss for the Hawks in 2011 is motivation enough.

Richmond had just seven players that obtained premiership success in both 1969 and 1973. The Hawks in 2012 have as many as 14 players with the potential of becoming dual premiership-winning players.

West Coast in 2012 – and history’s six years gap premiership team:

West Coast will be hoping to repeat the example of the 1980 Richmond Tigers by having a gap of six years between one flag and the next. In the last 50 years, the only example of there being a six year gap between flags at the one club is with Richmond in 1974 and 1980. Players who made the 1974 and 1980 combinations included club legends Kevin Bartlett, Francis Bourke and also David Cloke, the father of Collingwood’s star forward Travis Cloke.  In total, five premiership players made the transition from ’74 to ‘80.

West Coast in 2012 have more players in contention of becoming dual premiership players than what Richmond had in 1980. There are at least eight players with the opportunity in 2012 of becoming dual premiership players at West Coast. Nevertheless, it will be difficult to see all of these players on West Coast’s list from 2006 make the grand final going by their run with injuries and form. Andrew Embley missed 18 weeks with a shoulder injury, Butler has played just 12 matches, and Lynch hasn’t to date been able to match his output from the premiership year of 2006.

Sydney in 2012 – and history’s seven year gap premiership teams:

Sydney in 2012 will be hoping to repeat the feat of Carlton’s team of 1979 and Essendon’s team of 2000 by having a seven year gap between flags. Of all the players who represented the Blues premiership in ’72 a total of just seven made the 1979 combination. Essendon also had a total of seven players make the transition from the 1993 combination to the 2000 winning team.

In contrast to the above two examples, Sydney in 2012 are searching for another premiership with just four players who have the potential of becoming dual premiership winning players. They are the dual-Brownlow medallist Adam Goodes, the durable and determined Ryan O’Keefe, the frenetic Jude Bolton and the underrated Lewis Roberts-Thomson.

North Melbourne’s Brent Harvey and the 13 year gap between flags:

If Brent Harvey’s North Melbourne won the flag in 2012, it would create a remarkable piece of history. No player has represented the same club in the last 50 years and had a 13-year gap between flags.  Brent Harvey’s achievement would be considerable if this victory came to fruition.


  1. Jeff Dowsing says

    Great research and a very interesting analysis Miles.

  2. The Swans players would now be a chance.

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