End of decade analysis – AFL and NRL team success

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With the ‘noughties’ now behind us, it seemed timely to breakdown team performances across the decade for both the Australian Football League (AFL) and the National Rugby League (NRL).

(Actually, to be honest, we saw people doing it for other sports and shamelessly copied the idea).

Not sure if it has been done elsewhere, but if not, hopefully it is a little enlightening.


The Cats get the gong for the ‘winningest’ team of the decade, amassing 158 (regular season) wins in that time. The Hawks and Swans finish second and third respectively.

At the other end of the scale you will find the two Queensland sides, namely the Suns (nine seasons only) and the Lions.

That leads into finals performances, which naturally correlates to a large extent with the information above.

The Cats, Swans and Hawks lead the way here, with the Suns, Lions and Demons bringing up the rear.

Next we look at grand final appearances and again it is the same teams (Casts, Swans and Hawks) at the top of the list.

Overall there were seven teams that didn’t make a grand final, while another six teams appeared in just one.

That leads into the most flag winners.

Interestingly the team with the most flag is the Hawks, who clearly make the most of their appearances on the ‘big stage’ – winning three of their four grand finals.

The Tigers also get an honourable mention, winning both of the times they’ve appeared in a grand final.

To close out the AFL we’ve looked at two other measures, namely points scored and points conceded.

The Hawks again find themselves at the top of the pops, with the Crows and Kangaroos arguably performing above expectation.

The Lions are the team who have conceded the most points, although their fellow QLD team the Suns would have gotten this award too had they played all 10 seasons in the AFL.


It’s hard to compliment the Storm enough in terms of their performance – they’ve won 2.9 (regular season) games more per season than any other team.

(Note that this does include their 2010 wins which were part of the salary cap scandal however)

The other teams in the top three were the Roosters and Broncos, while the Knights, Titans and Eels brought were at the tail.

Moving on to finals performances, the Storm were again at the top of the tree, missing just the one year due to the salary cap related penalty.

The Broncos are another team that have done well, making the finals eight times in the last decade, with the Roosters, Sea Eagles Cowboys and Sharks all making the finals on seven occasions.

The fans of the Knights, Titans, Eels and Tigers have only seen their teams in the finals twice in the last decade.

In terms of grand finals appearances there are two teams that dominate. Not surprisingly one is the Storm, but credit also to the Roosters, as both of these sides have appeared in the big game four times.

Despite the much discussed ‘five year plan’, as well their Centre of Excellence, the Panthers have not made a grand final in the last decade, as well as the Knights, Titans, Eels and Tigers.

Looking at Premiership wins, it is the Roosters that get the nod here, winning three times in the last decade, ahead of the Storm with two and five other times with one win.

Remarkably the Broncos, with all of their finals appearances, have not won a premiership in the last decade.

(In fairness they were damn close though with that last gasp Cowboys try costing them a win).

In total, nine teams did not get to hold the Provan-Simmons trophy aloft.

A quick look at scoring and defensive performances.

In terms of scoring, the Storm again lead the way, followed closely by the Roosters, Rabbitohs and Raiders.

Sadly, for Parramatta fans, they scored the least points of the decade.

On the defensive side of the ball, far and away the most impressive performance has come from the Storm, who have conceded 860 points less than their nearest opponent, the Roosters.

The honour for the ‘leakiest’ defence goes to the Knights, just ahead of the Gold Coast Titans.

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