AFL Teams | Everything You Need To Know Ahead of AFL 2022

AFL Teams: Everything You Need to Know About Each Team From The Ladder

The 2022 AFL season is rapidly creeping up on us, and with the league arguably as closely contested as it ever has been, there are a number of teams capable of making their mark this year. With that in mind, let’s take a look at each and every team in the AFL, and how they stand heading into the upcoming season.

Adelaide Crows

Since being founded in 1990, the Crows have prided themselves on being the biggest club in Adelaide, regularly going close to filling the almost-54,000 capacity Adelaide Oval at which they play their home games. Consecutive Premierships in 1997 and 1998 were the highlight of their 32-year existence, but since then they’ve failed to claim another flag. The Crows will enter 2022 looking to improve on their 15th place finish from the year prior, but they’ll have their work cut out if they want to get anywhere near finals contention.

Brisbane Lions

The sole representative of the eastern seaboard’s northernmost capital, the Lions were formed in 1996 following a merger between the Brisbane Bears and the Fitzroy Lions. From 2001-2003 they were one of the most dominant teams in history, winning three consecutive flags, and though they haven’t replicated that success since, they have been a consistent presence at the top end of the AFL ladder in recent years. Multiple heartbreaking finals losses have seen them fail to advance to another Grand Final since 2004, but they have every chance to do so this year.

Carlton Blues

The Blues are one of the oldest and proudest AFL teams, having won a league-high 16 Premierships since the league began in 1897. Unfortunately for their fans, the most recent of those came in 1995 and they have only rarely even made an appearance in the finals since the turn of the century. The once powerful club now regularly plays in front of more empty seats than filled ones at the 100,000-capacity MCG, though that will likely change very quickly if their undeniably talented top-end can carry them into their first finals series since 2013 this year.

Collingwood Magpies

The Magpies have long been one of Carlton’s main challengers for the biggest club in the league, something which 13 Premierships in the first 62 years of VFL football certainly helped with. In the 63 years since, they have won just two more, though they have had more than their fair share of chances to add to their trophy cabinet. One of the MCG’s oldest inhabitants, the Magpies have had a rough few years since their 2018 Grand Final loss, and enter 2022 tipped to finish nearer to the bottom of the ladder than the top.

Essendon Bombers

The third member of the VFL/AFL’s traditional Big Four, the Bombers are tied with the Blues as the most successful club in league history, having won 16 Premierships throughout the course of their existence. The most recent of these came in 2000 during a dominant season in which they lost just a solitary game, but the Marvel Stadium-based side has failed to replicate anything like that for a long time. They are currently in the midst of an extraordinary 17-year streak without a finals win, though a significant improvement last year suggests such a win might not be too far away.

Fremantle Dockers

Aside from the AFL’s two expansion clubs in Gold Coast and GWS, the Dockers are the only active side in the league to have never won a Premiership. The closest they came was in 2013, but they lost that game and have failed to return to the big dance since. One of two teams to play at the 60,000-capacity Optus Stadium, the Dockers have missed the finals in six straight seasons but have been ever so slowly creeping up the ladder during that time, and if that improvement continues they should be hovering around the edge of the top eight in 2022.

Geelong Cats

The Cats are in the midst of one of the most extraordinary runs in VFL/AFL history, having made it to at least the Preliminary Final in 11 of the past 15 seasons. Each of 2007, 2009 and 2011 resulted in Premierships, though since then they’ve developed a frustrating habit of being knocked out in the penultimate week of the season. The only rural-based team in the league, the Cats play their home games in front of a parochial crowd of close to 50,000 at GMHBA Stadium, and despite their aging list they should be there or thereabouts again this season.

Gold Coast Suns

The Suns were the AFL’s 17th club, joining the league in 2011, but in their 11 seasons they have failed spectacularly to live up to whatever expectations were placed upon them. They’ve never finished higher than 12th and this lack of success has meant that their 25,000-capacity home ground of Metricon Stadium rarely gets even close to full. There’s no doubt that they have some talent on their list, but with the league as competitive as it currently is it’s tough to see them competing for an inaugural finals appearance in 2022.

GWS Giants

The Giants entered the league a year after the Suns, and have managed to avoid the pitfalls which have plagued their slightly older counterpart. Though they’ve never achieved the ultimate triumph, the Giants have enjoyed three Preliminary Finals and a Grand Final in the past six years, and the seats at Spotless Stadium have very slowly been filling up as a result. The last couple of years have been slight disappointments, though with the raft of injuries they endured last year they did well to make their way to a semi-final. Expect them to be finals contenders again this season.

Hawthorn Hawks

The heyday of the Hawks which saw them win an 11th, 12th and 13th Premiership in three years between 2013 and 2015 is well and truly finished, and in the last two seasons they have won just 12 games. Another MCG-based AFL team, the Hawks bungled last season off the field more than on it, parting ways with legendary coach Alastair Clarkson in far-from-ideal circumstances, and though they should have more stability with Sam Mitchell at the helm this season, it’s hard to see them winning much more than the seven games they managed last year.

Melbourne Demons

The Demons were everyone’s second favourite team last year, ultimately going on to record a famous Grand Final win – their first Premiership since 1964. Prior to that they had won 12 in 65 seasons, but those glory days which helped them become one of the biggest teams in the league have well and truly passed. More recently they have struggled to put bums on the seat at the MCG, where they have played their home games for over 100 years, but last year’s performance and another expected Premiership tilt in 2022 should certainly help in that regard.

North Melbourne Kangaroos

To the other end of the table now, and the reigning Wooden Spooners in North Melbourne. The Kangaroos have never been the biggest club in the league, winning just four flags in nearly 100 years and typically sitting towards the bottom of the membership tallies. Despite their last-placed finish last season, however, there were plenty of positive signs in the back half of the year. They’re unlikely to improve enough to challenge for finals, but expect the Marvel Stadium-based side to peel themselves off the bottom of the ladder in 2022.

Port Adelaide Power

Port Adelaide have a long and storied history as the most successful club in the SANFL, but upon joining the AFL in 1997 they have become a much smaller fish in a much bigger pond. It took less than a decade for them to taste Premiership success at the top level, which came courtesy of a 2004 Grand Final win over the Lions, but they’ve been unable to replicate that in the years since. They have, however, finished in the top two on the AFL ladder in the past two years, and though they’ve been unable to translate that into a Grand Final appearance, they will once again be in the thick of things this season.

Richmond Tigers

Once a powerhouse of the league, an overwhelming lack of success which spanned over three decades from 1982 saw the MCG turnstiles gradually stop ticking over at Richmond games. That all changed in 2017, when the sleeping giant won their first flag in 37 years, and having repeated that feat in 2019 and 2020 they are once again one of the biggest sides in the league. Last year they failed to make finals as a result of a raft of injuries and an aging list, but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them bounce back in 2022.

St. Kilda Saints

The Saints are far and away the most unsuccessful founding team in the league, having won just a solitary Premiership – in 1966 – since the league began in 1897. In 2020 they showed vast improvement to finish sixth, but they failed to carry that momentum into the next season and failed to make the finals last season. The small but dedicated fanbase which makes their way out to the Marvel Stadium for home games will be hoping for more in 2022, though which St. Kilda turns up this season is anyone’s guess.

Sydney Swans

The Swans competed as South Melbourne from the VFL’s inaugural season in 1897 up until 1982, when they became the first interstate team in the nation’s biggest competition following their move to Sydney. For nearly 30 years they carried the torch as Sydney’s only side, enjoying a decent period of success throughout the early parts of the century when they won flags in both 2005 and 2012. After a lean few years they skyrocketed back into the top eight last season, and their young list is capable of improving further this season.

West Coast Eagles

Four years after the Swans moved to Sydney, West Coast became Perth’s first AFL representative, and relatively quickly stamped their mark on the competition. They won Premierships in 1992 and 1994 before again saluting in 2006 and 2018, and this success has seen them develop into one of the biggest teams in the league. Regularly filling their 60,000-capacity home ground of Optus Stadium, they’ve been disappointing the last couple of years but should still be challenging for a finals spot this season.

Western Bulldogs

The Bulldogs have long been one of the minnows of the VFL/AFL, though that began to change when they came from the clouds to win a famous 2016 Grand Final and break a 62-year drought in the process. They nearly repeated that effort last year but fell short against the Demons, but nonetheless their competitiveness has certainly fanned the flames of passion at Whitten Oval. With almost certainly the deepest midfield in the competition, expect them to again be there when the whips are cracking in 2022.

The 2022 AFL season kicks off on Wednesday, the 16th of March with a Grand Final rematch between the Demons and Dogs. Following that, 23 weeks of home and away action and four weeks of finals follows, and with so many teams capable of competing it’s set to be a thrilling season of footy.

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