MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 01: Mitch Duncan and James Podsiadly of the Cats celebrate with the Premiership Cup after winning the 2011 AFL Grand Final match between the Collingwood Magpies and the Geelong Cats at Melbourne Cricket Ground on October 1, 2011 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Mark Dadswell/Getty Images)

It’s one of footy’s greatest debates, which team in which era was the most dominant and how do today’s teams rank with them. Was it the Tigers of late 60’s, early 70’s? Was it a team from the early 1900’s when there were fewer teams in the league? Or is it a more modern team like the Hawks who won three from four premiership in the early 2010s?

Thankfully, it’s not all based on each fans’ biased opinion. Tony Corke, who is a freelance data scientist takes time to look into the stats and the situations of every team for Footballistics; taking into account which venues they played at and which teams they had to face.

Basically, Corke’s equations look at the team’s record of scoring points as well as the quality of defence it is facing.

The greatest attacks in history, according to Tony Corke’s statistical analysis are as follows:

Team (year) Rating
Richmond (1967) +29.6
Geelong (1989) +29.2
Essendon (2000) +27.4
Hawthorn (1991) +27.2
Hawthorn (2012) +27.2
Geelong (2011) +25.7
Carlton (1932) +24.2
Adelaide (2016) +23.8
North Melbourne (1998) +23.3
South Melbourne (1934) +23.2

Based on the 10 highest-rated teams, it’s clear that no one era had more dominant forward lines than any other.

It’s all relative and dependent on the defence they had to face weekly. According to the data, the Richmond team in 1967 which went on to win a premiership was the most dominant alongside with Geelong of 1989 who sit nearly two points ahead of the 2000 Essendon squad in third.

Of the 10 teams, four went on to win the premiership and five were runner-up. The other team is Adelaide who failed to even make the preliminary final in 2016.

Although looking at the best offensive teams is always enjoyable, we also need to kill the vibe a little as we take a look at the worst attacks in the history of the game according to Corke’s numbers.

They’re as follows:

Team (year) Rating Standardised rating
Greater Western Sydney (2012) -28.9 -2.96
St Kilda (1948) -20.9 -2.71
St Kilda (1955) -10.1 -2.47
Melbourne (2014) -24 -2.45
St Kilda (1945) -18.4 2.38
North Melbourne (1943) -18 -2.33
North Melbourne (1930) -19.2 -2.33
Melbourne (2013) -22.6 -2.31
Greater Western Sydney (2013) -22.3 -2.27
Melbourne (2008) -21.7 -2.21

Clearly, due to the lack of variety in the ‘team and year’ column, it takes longer to get good than it does to drop off. In the highest-rated historical attacks, the same team doesn’t appear twice without 20 years in between, proving it’s more difficult to stay dominant and on top. For the lowest-rated attacks, there are only four different teams, of which we see GWS in back-to-back seasons as well as St Kilda and Melbourne in there three times in 10 years.