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…

COLLINGWOOD

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

FB: Heath Shaw, Simon Prestigiacomo, Nick Maxwell
HB: Scott Burns, James Clement, Ben Johnson
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

 

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – MARCH 26: Mick Malthouse, coach of the Magpies, looks on before the round one AFL match between the Collingwood Magpies and the Port Adelaide Power at Etihad Stadium on March 26, 2011 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

ESSENDON

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.

ESSENDON TEAM OF THE CENTURY

FB:
Cale Hooker, Dustin Fletcher, Adam McPhee
HB: Brendon Goddard, Michael Hurley, Brett Stanton
C: Zach Merrett, Jobe Watson, Jason Johnson
HF: David Zahakaris, Scott Lucas, Mark McVeigh
FF: Paddy ryder, Matthew Lloyd, Angus Monfries
FO: David Hille, James Hird (c), Dyson Heppell
IC: Mark Johnson, Sean Wellman, Dean Solomon, Adam Ramanauskas

Coach:
Kevin Sheedy
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – APRIL 25: Kevin Sheedy coach of the Bombers and James Hird captain and Anzac Day Medallist hold the Anzac Day Cup after winning the round five AFL Anzac Day match between the Collingwood Magpies and the Essendon Bombers at the Melbourne Cricket Ground April 25 2004 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Mark Dadswell/Getty Images)

FREMANTLE

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.

FREMANTLE TEAM OF THE CENTURY

FB:
Antoni Grover, Michael Johnson, Shane Parker
HB: Shaun McManus, Luke McPharlin, Paul Duffield
C: Paul Haselby, David Mundy, Lachie Neale
HF: Michael Walters, Matthew Pavlich (c), Stephen Hill
FF: Hayden Ballantyne, Justin Longmuir, Jeff Farmer
FO: Aaron Sandilands, Nat Fyfe, Peter Bell
IC: Ryan Crowley, Chris Mayne, Garrick Ibbotson, Michael Barlow


Coach:
Ross Lyon

GERALDTON, AUSTRALIA – FEBRUARY 25: Nathan Fyfe of the Dockers leads the team onto the ground during the AFL 2017 JLT Community Series match between the West Coast Eagles and the Fremantle Dockers at Wonthella Oval on February 25, 2017 in Geraldton, Australia. (Photo by Daniel Carson/AFL Media/Getty Images)