Demons tracking for youthful AFL flag

·2-min read

Melbourne will become one of the youngest premiership teams of the AFL era if the Demons break through for their first flag since 1964.

The Demons are the hottest of favourites to end 57 years of pain for their long-suffering supporters.

A look at the age-profile of premiership teams since the VFL was renamed the AFL in 1990 has Melbourne on track to be the fifth youngest flag-winning side in that period.

If the Demons win the grand final with the same team that defeated Brisbane in last week's qualifying final, only Collingwood (2010), Essendon (1993), the Western Bulldogs (2016) and West Coast (1992) will have claimed a premiership with a younger group.

Coach Simon Goodwin fielded a team with an average age of 24 years and 180 days at the Adelaide Oval against the Lions.

The Magpies' flag 11 years ago remains the youngest of the modern-era, with Collingwood winning the 2010 grand final replay against St Kilda with a team boasting an average age of 24 years and 57 days.

But coach Mick Malthouse did make multiple changes from the famous drawn grand final a week earlier when the Magpies' group was 24 years and 148 days old.

Kevin Sheedy's celebrated 'Baby Bombers' (24 years, 105 days) and the Bulldogs (24 years, 144 days) and West Coast (24 years, 165 days) were only slightly older than the Magpies.

Melbourne would be even younger than Hawthorn (24 years, 218 days) in 2008, when Alastair Clarkson masterminded a massive grand final boilover against a red-hot Geelong team that had only lost one game for the season.

But winning a premiership with a youthful list does not always translate to sustained success and dynasties.

Collingwood are still searching for their 16th premiership, after falling short in the 2011 grand final to Geelong and then rebuilding under Nathan Buckley when Malthouse departed.

The Bombers had to wait another seven years for a flag after their 1993 triumph, while the Bulldogs missed finals altogether for the next two seasons after saluting in 2016.

But the Eagles did add another flag to their 1992 breakthrough, defeating Geelong once again in the 1994 grand final.


1. Collingwood (2010) - average age of 24 years, 57 days

2. Essendon (1993) - 24 years, 105 days

3. Western Bulldogs (2016) - 24 years, 144 days

4. West Coast (1992) - 24 years, 165 days

5. Hawthorn (2008) - 24 years, 218 days

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