Saturday, September 12, 2015

Victorian AFL Clubs: Isn’t There A ‘Big Five’?

Maybe I’ve missed it, but shouldn’t we be saying there are five big Victorian AFL clubs now: Collingwood, Carlton, Essendon, Richmond … and Hawthorn?

The Hawks have now won 12 premierships, making them one of the more historically successful clubs. They had the second-highest membership of any club in 2015, and have been near the top over the past few years. They had the third-highest average attendance of any club in 2015.

It seems to me the Hawks now have all the indicators of a ‘big club’. They have big rivalries with Essendon, Geelong, and to a lesser extent, Carlton and Collingwood. Indeed I’d say Hawthorn and Richmond sit alongside Collingwood as the ‘powerhouses’ in Victorian football at the moment, obviously helped by their on-field performances, while Essendon and Carlton have had their recent struggles.

Maybe it will change once Hawthorn starts to fall down the ladder again (I’m assuming that will happen someday). But there are at least two generations of Hawthorn fans now that have had great success, so I reckon their fan base will stick. Their pattern of success over those eras would now look fairly similar to the eras that built the fan bases of the other ‘big four’ Victorian clubs.

At the least, as much as I hate to say it, the Hawks are probably as big as Richmond now.

No comments: