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.
We begin our series today with the Adelaide Crows, Brisbane Lions and Carlton…
Coming off a strong end to the 20th century, the Crows would enter 2000 with a formidable side and carry a presence in the finals for many years to come.
The club would finish in the top eight in 12 of its last 20 seasons – producing just one Grand Final appearance – and would only fall below 12th on the final ladder once.
Adelaide’s stars of their 1997/98 dynasty would turn to veterans come the first decade of the 21st century and would pave the way for a number of household names down the line.
The Crows’ minor premiership in 2017 saw arguably their strongest side of the century rise to one mark short of premiership glory, with the squad brimming with A-grade talent.
Entering the third decade of the 21st century and the Crows can muster a side with great balance, professionalism and skill from their last 20 seasons in the AFL.
ADELAIDE CROWS TEAM OF THE CENTURY
FB: Rory Laird, Brett Rutten, Ben Hart
HB: Simon Goodwin, Daniel Talia, Michael Doughty
C: Andrew McLeod, Rory Sloane, Tyson Edwards
HF: Brett Burton, Taylor Walker, Patrick Dangerfield
FF: Eddie Betts, Josh Jenkins, Scott Welsh
FO: Sam Jacobs, Mark Ricciuto (c), Scott Thompson
IC: Brodie Smith, Richard Douglas, Graham Johncock, Nathan Van Berlo
Coach: Neil Craig
Perhaps the club with the greatest dynasty of the 21st century, Brisbane made their mark on the competition early with appearances in four of the first five Grand Finals, winning three in a row from 2001-03.
However, the Lions have featured in the top eight on just two occasions since 2004 and have struggled to find a side even remotely close to its early 2000’s dominance.
Despite their ongoing struggles throughout a majority of the last 20 seasons, the Lions have produced some of the league’s finest, including two Brownlow Medalists, one Coleman Medalist and 14 All-Australian players for a total of 28 selections
Collectively, a Brisbane squad from the past two decades produces a dynamic side full of accolades, milestones and charisma.
BRISBANE LIONS TEAM OF THE CENTURY
FB: Chris Johnson, Mal Michael, Chris Scott
HB: Brad Scott, Justin Leppitsch, Jed Adcock
C: Daniel Rich, Luke Power, Tom Rockliff
HF: Jason Akermanis, Jonathan Brown, Nigel Lappin
FF: Daniel Bradshaw, Alastair Lynch, Dayne Zorko
FO: Stefan Martin, Michael Voss (c), Simon Black
IC: Joel Patful, Ashley McGrath, Daniel Merrett, Harris Andrews
Coach: Leigh Matthews
An up and down ride for Blues fans this century, with most of their journey way, way down.
The club reach the 2020 season with just six trips to September while collecting five wooden spoons (the club’s only wooden spoons since 2000.
Unfortunately, the club struggled to mirror the strength of their former sides who wore the navy blue in the twilight years of the 20th century, with constant coaching turnovers and struggling high draft selections.
If you are a Blues fan hoping to see a strong side full of their best to pass over from the late 1990’s, you’re sadly mistaken – with the likes of Stephen Silvagni, Brett Ratten and Andrew McKay failing to make the 22-man side given their limited amount of games past 2000.
That’s not to say the side isn’t riddled with household names, with the Blues attracting some of the most notable stars of the century so far.
CARLTON TEAM OF THE CENTURY
FB: Kade Simpson, Michael Jamison, Heath Scotland
HB: Bryce Gibbs, Brett Thornton, Andrew Walker
C: Scott Camporeale, Patrick Cripps, Andrew Carrazzo
HF: Anthony Koutoufides, Jarrad Waite, Matthew Lappin
FF: Eddie Betts, Brendan Fevola, Lance Whitnall
FO: Matthew Kreuzer, Chris Judd (c), Marc Murphy
IC: Nick Stevens, Sam Docherty, Ryan Houlihan, Ed Curnow
Coach: Brett Ratten