We’re going through all 18 AFL clubs and picking their best sides from the last 20 years.
A player’s body of work during the 21st century is a key part of our criteria, therefore someone like Carlton great Stephen Silvagni loses value as he only played two seasons.
EVERY CLUB’S TEAM OF THE CENTURY: Adelaide, Brisbane, Carlton
We continue our series with the Collingwood, Essendon and Fremantle…
For a club to reach 2020 with just one coaching change since the start of the century is a great feat, with the infamous ‘succession plan’ from Mick Malthouse to Nathan Buckley.
The Magpies came marginally close to winning a premiership during the earliest years of the 2000s, losing twice to the Lions along with a number of other heartbreaking finals exits later in the decade, yet they remained perseverant.
Collingwood’s determination paid off, being crowned premiers in 2010 in the most dramatic fashion against the Saints – drawing in the big dance then winning the replay to claim their first flag since 1990,
The boys in the black and white have been a staple for September throughout the last 20 years and collectively create one of the most staggering sides since the turn of the century.
COLLINGWOOD TEAM OF THE CENTURY
C: Steele Sidebottom, Nathan Buckley (c), Paul Licuria
HF: Dale Thomas, Travis Cloke, Tarkyn Lockyer
FF: Alan Didak, Anthony Rocca, Leon Davis
FO: Brodie Grundy, Scott Pendlebury, Dane Swan
IC: Chris Tarrant, Tyson Goldsack, Shane O’Bree, Ben Reid
Coach: Mick Malthouse
The Bombers started the century in a fashion like no side we have seen before, winning the premiership after one of the most dominant seasons in the game’s history.
Lead by the likes of Matthew Lloyd and James Hird, Essendon were off to a flyer, even reaching the Grand Final the following year to fall short of Brisbane.
The Bombers would appear in the finals in the first five season of the 21st century but would soon ride a difficult path to return to the successes, failing to win a game in September until this very day.
Included in this drought was the Essendon’s ugly peptides scandal, tarnishing the club and damaging their system for years to come
That’s not to say the Bombers haven’t produced star-studded lists and household names, their best side since 2000 may be up their as one of the strongest.
FB: Cale Hooker, Dustin Fletcher, Adam McPhee
Coach: Kevin Sheedy
The Dockers were induced into the AFL system in 1995, meaning by 2000 they had little to work with in the hopes of a strong start to the 21st century.
However, that won’t rule out a host of club stars, including a 700-goal superstar forward, a dual-Brownlow Medalist and arguably the game’s best ruckman in their short 25-year span.
Unfortunately for Fremantle, they’re yet to taste a Grand Final victory, but did make their debut appearance on the big stage in 2013.
The Dockers team of the 21st century is shared between a number of club legends and current stars who have driven the purple haze into a hungry contender.
FB: Antoni Grover, Michael Johnson, Shane Parker
Coach: Ross Lyon