PERTH, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 10: Patrick Dangerfield of the Cats reacts after being defeated during the AFL First Preliminary Final match between the Melbourne Demons and Geelong Cats at Optus Stadium on September 10, 2021 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

With a majority of clubs having finalised their list spots ahead of the new year, each side's demographics in age and experience have taken shape.

Looking to align your club's youth with a rebuild, or adding more senior figures when a premiership window is open are different paths clubs choose to take when looking to define their status on the season ahead.

With this in mind, we look at how each club ranks in age and experience in 2022.

Data via Draft Guru

Adelaide 

Average Age: 23.4 years (18th oldest)
Average Games: 46.7 games (18th in experience)

The Crows are placed as the youngest and most inexperienced side in the competition, with Adelaide leading the way by some margin in the latter metric. The Suns are the next least experienced side, however they average 6.6 more games per player than the Crows.

Amid a list rebuild, delisting veterans and adding a string of young talent through the draft, Adelaide fell from being the 16th most experienced side this year to the least ahead of the 2022 season.

Brisbane

Average Age: 24.5 years (9th)
Average Games: 67.9 games (9th)

The Lions are the most balanced as far as their list demographic, ranking ninth for both average games and age ahead of the new season.

Veteran defender Grant Birchall called time on his career, which has lowered the Lions' rankings, while only three players were recruited via the National Draft and Darcy Fort was acquired through the trade window.

Dayne Zorko during the round 10 AFL match between the Brisbane Lions and the Sydney Swans at The Gabba on May 26, 2018 in Brisbane, Australia.

Dayne Zorko, Daniel Rich and Mitch Robinson are the only three players to currently be 30 years or older at the Lions.

Carlton 

Average Age: 24.2 years (11th)
Average Games: 60.0 games (14th)

The Blues enter 2022 with a young list and high expectations, having added Adam Cerra, George Hewett and Lewis Young through the exchange period.

Only one draftee was signed to Carlton through the National Draft, while veterans Marc Murphy, Eddie Betts, Levi Casboult and Liam Jones all departed the club, vastly lowering the average age of their list.

Collingwood

Average Age: 24.1 years (13th)
Average Games: 62.5 games (10th)

Despite a 17th placed finish in 2021, the Magpies enter the new year in the midriff of age rankings, landing as the 10th most experienced side in the competition.

Their average age is three spots lower when compared to other clubs, which is a positive sign for Craig McRae's prospects of soon returning Collingwood to premiership contention.

AFL Rd 4 - Collingwood v GWS
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 10: Taylor Adams and his Magpies team mates look dejected after losing the round four AFL match between the Collingwood Magpies and the Greater Western Sydney Giants at Melbourne Cricket Ground on April 10, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Essendon

Average Age: 24.2 years (12th)
Average Games: 56.8 (15th)

Despite having the fourth-least experienced side in the AFL, the Bombers are the 12th oldest club, with a number of players above their median age having played under 100 games.

The arrival of mature-aged recruit Garrett McDonagh is also set to have prominently impacted the Bombers' age-experience standings, arriving at Tullamarine at the age of 25 years old without an AFL game to his name.

Fremantle

Average Age: 24.1 years (14th)
Average Games: 60.1 games (12th)

The Dockers are home to the AFL's oldest player in 2022, with midfielder David Mundy set to turn 37 in July.

AFL Rd 5 - Adelaide v Fremantle
ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 18: David Mundy of the Dockers runs away from Ben Keays of the Crows during the 2021 AFL Round 05 match between the Adelaide Crows and the Fremantle Dockers at Adelaide Oval on April 18, 2021 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Sarah Reed/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

Only Nat Fyfe, Michael Walters and Travis Colyer join Mundy in having surpassed the age of 30 next year, with Fremantle having 17 players 21 or under - many of whom are in consideration for their best 22.

Geelong

Average Age: 25.7 years (1st)
Average Games: 96.6 games (1st)

To little surprise, the Cats are both the oldest side and the most experienced in the league, which has been a product of their recruitment over the course of the past several seasons.

That was no different in this year's off-season, with veteran Hawks ruckman Jonathon Ceglar joining Geelong, while the likes of youthful duo Nathan Kreuger and Jordan Clark were moved on.

The Cats will have 12 players 30 or older throughout the 2022 season.

Gold Coast

Average Age: 23.9 years (15th)
Average Games: 53.3 games (17th)

The Suns are among the most inexperienced and youngest sides in the competition, which has been a key reason for their shortcomings.

Having struggled to retain developed stars and often having to trade them on for draft selections, Stuart Dew's side has been placed in a list rebuild cycle across the course of their existence in the AFL.

GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 21: Ben King of the Suns and Darcy MacPherson celebrate a goal during the round 3 AFL match between the Gold Coast Suns and the Adelaide Crows at Metricon Stadium on June 21, 2020 in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Jono Searle/AFL Photos/via Getty Images )

Greater Western Sydney

Average Age: 24.4 years (10th)
Average Games: 60.0 games (13th)

The Giants are in the unfortunate position of having their experience toward the lower end of the league while their average age is placed a few rungs higher.

Despite their demographic and standing, Leon Cameron's side are primed for another tilt toward the September action in 2022, having managed a finals win this year after having the fourth-least experienced side in the competition.

Hawthorn

Average Age: 23.8 years (16th)
Average Games: 61.3 games (11th)

The Hawks have been able to blood plenty of games into their youthful stocks across the course of the past several seasons, while also being able to shed any ageing weight.

The retirement of Shaun Burgoyne has certainly seen Hawthorn's average age lower, while a larger focus on draft recruitment is also sure to have lowered their average games of experience per player.

AFL Rd 4 - Fremantle v Hawthorn
PERTH, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 11: The Hawks walk from the field after being defeated during the round four AFL match between the Fremantle Dockers and the Hawthorn Hawks at Optus Stadium on April 11, 2021 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

The Hawks will have five players over 30, however, 17 players will be 21 or younger in 2022, offering plenty of balance to Sam Mitchell's squad.

Melbourne

Average Age: 24.5 years (8th)
Average Games: 71.4 games (7th)

The reigning premiers are strongly placed in being both outside of the top bracket for age but remaining in the top half for experience across their list averages.

Having had the likes of Neville Jetta and Nathan Jones depart, Melbourne's average age has lowered, while their youthful depths are sure to have their premiership window open for the long haul.

North Melbourne

Average Age: 23.5 (17th)
Average Games: 55.0 games (16th)

The Kangaroos are no shock to be ranked among the bottom three for both average age and games played per player, having claimed the wooden spoon in 2021 as they continue to revamp their list.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 07: Aaron Hall and Tarryn Thomas of the Kangaroos look dejected after losing the round 21 AFL match between Richmond Tigers and North Melbourne Kangaroos at Melbourne Cricket Ground on August 07, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Another strong draft haul is sure to see further youth injected into their best 22 for next season, with the club still having a few more years of rebuilding before returning the the top half of the competition.

Port Adelaide

Average Age: 24.8 (5th)
Average Games: 74.7 games (4th)

The Power are among the older clubs in the league, and in being so are also one of the more experienced sides, with the likes of Travis Boak and Robbie Gray leading the way.

Ken Hinkley does boast some promising talents on the rise however, with the likes of Zak Butters, Mitch Georgiades and Connor Rozee adding to their youthful stocks.

Richmond

Average Age: 25.1 years (3rd)
Average Games: 80.6 games (3rd)

Despite an off-season that saw the Tigers farewell ageing stalwarts and acquire several young prospects through the draft, Damien Hardwick's side remain as one of the older and most experienced in the competition next year.

AFL Rd 7 - Richmond v North Melbourne
GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - JULY 18: Shai Bolton of the Tigers runs the ball during the round 7 AFL match between the Richmond Tigers and the North Melbourne Kangaroos at Metricon Stadium on July 18, 2020 in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

The arrival of Robbie Tarrant is a key factor in the Tigers keeping their experience afloat, while the departures of Mabior Chol and Callum Coleman-Jones certainly hinder their younger ranks.

St Kilda

Average Age: 24.8 years (6th)
Average Games: 71.9 games (6th)

The Saints were the second oldest club in 2021, with a number of veterans sidelined throughout the year often keeping Brett Ratten's side looking more youthful than senior.

Having since parted ways with the likes of Jake Carlisle, James Frawley, Shaun McKernan, Paul Hunter and Jack Lonie, the Saints have seen their average age and experience numbers lowered significantly for 2022.

Sydney

Average Age: 24.7 years (7th)
Average Games: 71.2 games (8th)

Despite the Swans still looking to finalise their list rebuild, the Harbour City side are among the top eight clubs for both average age and experience.

Veterans Lance Franklin and Josh Kennedy are pulling plenty of that weight, while the Swans see an extensive range of players placed among the 22 to 25-year-old bracket next year.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 14: Errol Gulden (L) and Hayden McLean of the Swans celebrate during the 2021 AFL Round 22 match between the North Melbourne Kangaroos and the Sydney Swans at Marvel Stadium on August 14, 2021 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Michael Willson/AFL Photos via Getty Images)

West Coast

Average Age: 25.3 years (2nd)
Average Games: 89.2 games (2nd)

Alarming signs for the Eagles, who are second to only Geelong for both age and experience next year and will enter 2022 following a missed finals campaign.

Should the Eagles fail to bounce back in the next 12 months, it could be a lengthy list recovery to see Adam Simpson's side back in premiership contention.

Western Bulldogs

Average Age: 25.0 years (4th)
Average Games: 72.4 games (5th)

The Bulldogs' premiership window is ajar, with the club's average age and experience ranking among the top bracket in the league.

With plenty of youthful assets still emerging and a majority of their top echelon still having plenty of years left in their peak, the coming years are bright for the Bulldogs.

 

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