The Feudal Minor Premiers

In sport there is always a temptation for us fans to take a “Feudal” perspective and say that if you beat the current Number 1, then you assume the status yourself. It rarely actually works that way – transitive logic (if A > B and B > C, then A > C) and team sports are not exactly known for their close relationship – but I thought it would be interesting to see who the Feudal Minor Premier was. Secretly I hoped that somehow the Eagles would hold the position for at least a week and be able to salvage something from an annus horibilis.

The following then is the history of the defence of the head to head Number 1 mantle for season 2010, giving Geelong as defending Premiers the honour of starting at the top. Only seven teams all year held the title, while five others lost their ‘challenge’. Hawthorn held the position longest and most often, winning it from Carlton in round 10 and holding five successful defences before being beaten by Geelong in round 15. Port Adelaide finished the season 10th, but held the Feudal Number 1 position for five weeks across the year.

Adelaide got there twice. The first time was by beating Geelong in round 16. The second time they were like someone answering question 25 on the ABC Nightlife quiz and taking the prize after others have done all the work – by knocking off St Kilda in round 22 they finished the year as the Feudal Minor Premiers.

Defending premier: Geelong
1 Geelong 125 def Essendon 94
2 Geelong 100 def Hawthorn 91
3 Geelong 118 lost to Fremantle 125
4 Fremantle 93 lost to St Kilda 108
5 St Kilda 44 lost to Port Adelaide 54
6 Port Adelaide 97 def Adelaide 74
7 Port Adelaide 109 def Essendon 106
8 Port Adelaide 92 lost to Carlton 118
9 Carlton 60 lost to Hawthorn 110
10 Hawthorn 79 def Sydney 77
11 Hawthorn 74 def Port Adelaide 63
12 Hawthorn 124 def Adelaide 77
13 Hawthorn 102 def Essendon 86
14 Hawthorn 79 def Bulldogs 76
15 Hawthorn 83 lost to Geelong 85
16 Geelong 63 lost to Adelaide 74
17 Adelaide 69 lost to Port Adelaide 88
18 Port Adelaide 92 Def Hawthorn 84
19 Port Adelaide 57 Lost to St Kilda 151
20 St Kilda 115 Def North Melbourne 63
21 St Kilda 115 Def Richmond 94
22 St Kilda 37 Def by Adelaide 65

So it doesn’t really work does it? Adelaide aren’t the number 1 team in the comp by any definition other that this one. More importantly, of the six teams that didn’t feature in a game where the number 1 spot was on the line, one was the real Minor Premier in Collingwood. I guess that shows the futility of transitive logic in a competition with a set fixture – if the draw and results don’t fall your way there is no mechanism to stage a challenge, unlike, say, boxing where the direct challenge system makes a feudal system more meaningful.

Nonetheless, I thought it was a fun idea. Still didn’t salvage anything of the Eagles’ year though – they didn’t even feature in a game where could have won the title for a week.

I’m sure it won’t stop the odd argument along the lines of ‘we beat X last week and they beat Y, so therefore we are better than Y’, but it probably should.


  1. John Butler says


    I doubted you could use the term feudal in AFL discussion without the Pies featuring centrally, but you managed it. Great work.

  2. Freo win a flag? Yeeeesss.

    It certainly felt like it for a week.

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