“We are Geelong, The Greatest Team of All”

These are the first eight words of the theme song of the Geelong Football Club, who yesterday won the Australian Football League (AFL) Grand Final in front of 97,000 fans at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Geelong (24 goals, 19 behinds = 163 points) defeated the Port Adelaide FC (6 goals, 8 behinds = 44 points) by 119 points to win their 7th Premiership, the last coming 44 years ago in 1963.

How’s this for an impressive season: Geelong were the best performed club in the home & away season, winning 18 of 22 to finish three wins clear of Port Adelaide (who finished second in the home & away season). In the AFL Finals Series (comprising the top 8 of 16 clubs), Geelong posted victories of 106, 5 and 119 points against clubs that finished 4th, 6th and 2nd in the home & away season.

Geelong players won the Brownlow Medal for best & fairest AFL player in the home & away season, the Leigh Matthews Trophy for the most valuable player in the home & away season, Ron Evans Medal for the best first or second year player in the home & away season, the Norm Smith Medal for best on ground in the AFL Grand Final and there were 9 (of 22) Geelong players in the AFL All-Australian Team. Statistically, Geelong had the most potent attack and the most stingy defence in the AFL. Furthermore, the Geelong Reserves team won the Victorian Football League premiership by 74 points and Geelong players won the JJ Liston Trophy for best & fairest in the VFL and the Norm Goss Medal for best on ground in the VFL Grand Final. That’s not bad for the only AFL club based in a regional city (regional population approx 270,000).

In 2007, annual AFL revenue has been estimated at around $274 million (a record), aggregate attendance to the 185 AFL games broke the 7 million mark (a record), and more than 530,000 people were club members/season ticket holders (also a record). The Australian population is about 21 million. Such numbers make the AFL the most popular sporting league in the nation. 2008 will be 112th AFL season, in the year marking the 150th anniversary of the birth of the code of Australian Football.

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Author: Robert Macdonald

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