It takes an AFL team downunder about 6 years to mature after a rebuilding – champions retired, draftees took time etc. – and that’s what happened around 2001 at Geelong until they were finally ready for an “era” from 2007 to 2011.
Militating against this was the socialist system the AFL Politburo brought in called the National Draft, which worked this way – the team coming last that year got first pick in the draft, the winners got nothing and no one could draft whom they wanted anymore.
All clubs thrive on new blood so, effectively, for Geelong to have been up there during 2007-11, it meant that they were only getting poor to mediocre recruits during that time. They did the best they could after 2011 with those choices, with the ageing champs carrying the team to moderate success, but not the ultimate success any more.
Looking at the teams which always win in the EPL here – the ManUs etc. – you might say it’s fair to run a socialist draft but there are two things against that view:
1. Club pedigree – some clubs are just better run, they have huge memberships and are expected to be up there every year, even without quality recruits coming through – it brings in TV audiences etc. The way they get around that is through direct trades between clubs within an allowed two week period once a year, not of new blood but of players nearing their sell-by date.
2. The clubs with traditionally poor records remain poorly run, even with prime new recruits, the clubs often engage in shoddy practices and cutting corners to try to get off the bottom of the table, but their pedigree is not good.
So those recruits are wasted and want to move on a.s.a.p.
What it comes down to is a club being either a “go to” club or a “get out quick” club. Liverpool under Rodgers became a get out quick, with Suarez and Sterling, among others, wanting out – even Coutinho.
But LFC’s recent success has moved them across that line now, with Suarez, for example, saying he’d like to come back. LFC has again become a destination club.
Downunder, the issue is that the socialists don’t let anyone freely trade – there are salary caps and all sorts of regulations and then regulations to compensate for the regulations going wrong, along with a plethora of silly rules, e.g. cutting down the number of substitutions allowed.
One sees the theory behind it all but it don’t work, matey.
Meanwhile, whilst those formerly dead clubs are now playing in a mediocre way, the top clubs who once dominated are caught in an endless loop – the flaw in the socialist thinking was that clubs would happily drop down to cellar dwellers when it was “their turn”.
No club wants that and so they pull all sorts of [legal] tricks to stay up near the top, with the result that champion clubs, e.g. Hawthorn and Geelong, perpetually stay third to seventh – neither winning premierships nor any other silverware, nor dropping to last and getting prime picks for the future.
This is both top teams during their golden years:
It’s a no man’s land and this year, Geelong is 2 and 2 after four games and there seems no way to become “champion” again under the system – neither in three years, nor after a decade or two decades – they are spinning wheels, despite that news story.
It’s true that middling clubs have been doing a Leicester of late and that’s nice, no one really begrudges them but it’s still unfair on the top teams who used to put backsides on seats in a big way, that they can never become a power again unless they agree to drop to perennial losers first.
This is how socialism works.