You’ve got your Wests Tigers in the NRL and St Kilda in the AFL. But if we're being fair dinkum about Australian sport's great under-achievers – at least in recent times – it’s hard to go past the Melbourne Stars BBL franchise.
For the fourth season running they will be on the outside looking in when the BBL play-offs start on Friday night. Perennial finalists the Sydney Sixers and Perth Scorchers are there once again, joined by the Adelaide Strikers and Brisbane Heat.
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The Stars have competed in all 13 editions of the BBL without winning the title, making the grand final twice only to bite the dust on both occasions. They made the finals in the first six years of the competition but have missed out in five of the last seven seasons.
They are one of only two franchises – Hobart Hurricanes is the other – to have never lifted the trophy. That's despite boasting some of the world's best T20 exponents, including the incomparable Glenn Maxwell, T20 specialist Adam Zampa, Kevin Pietersen and, in the early days, leg spin legend Shane Warne.
Cricket fans sick of Melbourne Stars' excuses
This season they lost their first three games before recovering to win four straight to put themselves in prime position to snatch a top fourth berth. But three consecutive defeats quickly ended any hope of a title run.
The Stars have tried roster shake-ups, coaching re-structures and ownership changes in the past – and it's all turned to mud. Year after year the same excuses are trotted out.
"I don't think there's a missing link," Stars all-rounder Marcus Stoinis said after the 2023/24 campaign came to a crushing end. "I could have played better throughout the season. Off the back of me playing better, you might win an extra game.
"It’s only little things. I don’t think there's anything that needs to happen from outside – it’s just our own consistency and own improvement."
Maxwell added: "We left our run in someone else's hands, which is never what you want to do in this game. We put ourselves in that position and we have to live with that now. After the first couple of years, having so much dominance and not being able to get over that final hurdle, the last four years out of finals contention is quite frustrating. We feel like we've had a good enough list…probably haven't had enough luck with injuries and timing and it all seems to compound on itself."
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