Flags in my lifetime

Greetings Tipsters


For a long time I thought I wouldn’t see 50.  When I hit 45 it started to seem likely.  Now that it’s a few weeks away – I share a birthday with Jeff Beck, he’ll be 72 – I guess I will crack the half-century after all.


I got to thinking about which teams had won flags in my lifetime and tallied it up in a sort of chronological order


St Kilda               1966                                                               1

Richmond           1967, 69, 73, 74, 80                                          5

Essendon            1968, 84, 85, 93, 00                                          5

Carlton               1970, 72 79, 81, 82, 87, 95                                7

Hawthorn           1971, 76, 78, 83, 86, 88, 89, 91, 08, 13, 14, 15    12

North Melbourne 1975, 77, 96, 99                                               4

Collingwood         1990, 10                                                        2

West Coast         1992, 94, 06                                                   3

Adelaide             1997, 98                                                        2

Brisbane             2001, 02, 03                                                   3

Port Adelaide       2004                                                              1

Sydney              2005, 12                                                        2

Geelong              2007, 09, 11                                                   3


The first thing that leapt off the page was that five teams shared 23 flags from ’67 to ’89 and ten teams have shared 26 flags since 1990.


Eight of the ‘flag debutants’ in my life are expansion teams, had endured lengthy premiership droughts or, in the case of the Brisbane Lions, both.  With this piece from The Age – http://www.theage.com.au/afl/afl-news/saving-football-new-documents-reveal-how-close-the-vfl-came-to-shutting-down-20160408-go1x0m – revealing how financially moribund the VFL was in 1986, the plan for the AFL was far-sighted .  Wildly successful as it’s been, it was a hard sell back then.


Then there’s Hawthorn.  In 2012 they won a flag every five years.  Now the average is every four.  That’s a mighty record.  The longest drought is sixteen seasons and a few years into that they figured they might as well merge with Melbourne.  For all their success in the last decade, they owe a lot to Don Scott’s speech with the merger jumper at that meeting twenty years back.


Mergers were in the air in those days.  As Don rightly saw, it’s not the nickname, it’s the name that counts.


It’s an interesting table, that, extrapolate, expand, Almanackers.  Kill some time before the team selections come out.  I’ve gotta put up a dog fence, my little mate dug up some rat poison a few days ago.  Don’t get me started on the neighbours lack of attention to their backyard.


Cheers, Tipsters


P&C, a Stop Privatisation Of Footy Production, a division of Trans-Dementia In

FAlmanac banner sq

About Earl O'Neill

Freelance gardener, I've thousands of books, thousands of records, one fast motorcycle and one gorgeous smart funny sexy woman. Life's pretty darn neat.


  1. Peter Clark says

    Earl, Essendon 4 and Carlton 8, have another look at ’68.

  2. Earl O'Neill says

    Right you are, Peter. It’s a thrashing for the proofreader come Monday!

  3. I saw Noel Gallagher of Oasis on tele once speaking about U2, and he said, “They’re so good this lot, they make you sick.”

    He also may have been referring to Hawthorn.

  4. george smith says

    Interesting that bespectacled Geoff Blethyn, who missed his one chance of glory with Essendon in 1968 by four points, was able to mount the victory dais 9 years later – with Port Adelaide. Many Collingwood champions have this road to victory in their CV – including Choco Williams, Nathan Buckley, Mark Dreher and Russell Johnston.

Leave a Comment