Deep Dive Into 300 Gamers
Updated: Jun 4, 2020
We find it interesting that when the topic of AFL club inequality comes to the surface, the first to grow tiresome of the talk are those who not only raised the issue but are the same who greatly benefit from the very claimed biases. Furthermore it seems the sudden bout of equity citing fatigue coincidentally hits the same moment the weary realise they didn’t quite think through their confusing accusations of unfairness. At least the consequential egg on their faces was fresh from their own homecoming roosting chickens. The point is if you want to bring up pedantic biases, you probably should have your own impartiality belief ledger independently audited before proceeding.
The interstate clubs have to deal with incredible disadvantages, some that could be mitigated and many, geography related, that cannot. While we’d love to think otherwise, it’s no secret that behind the razzle dazzle the AFL is unfortunately simply another profit driven corporation. Consequently the on field arm of the business, despite the state of the art grounds having been engineered to the nth degree, is never going to be a level playing field.
A few weeks back when certain interstate clubs were given the green light by their respective governments to gather and subsequently train in groups of ten, the Victorians put the self-obsessed outrage cart before the calm, logical thinking horse and screamed “Unfairness” from the rooftops!
The VFL hierarchy colours shone through and within eight minutes, the state government directives were overridden and the pedantic, irrelevant little advantage was crushed! I mean it’s probably a fair call because, how dare the interstate clubs get to train in groups of ten for half an hour longer than the Victorians in this Mickey Mouse, ever asterisk marked season!
So that one ridiculous episode showed the country how unaware the Victorians are of their home state bubble existence. The simple fact they cried foul over such an insignificant factor tells us that the WA Premier, Mark McGowan, was bang on the money when he called them pampered, overindulged and spoilt. To be fair though, McGowan’s “Frankly I don’t give a damn” Clarke Gable jibe was probably a theatrical step too far.
The result of all this is now the punters are actually thinking about the differences and the advantages some teams get over others. Like it not when you look into the figures and the stats, it’s difficult not to think that the interstate teams face an incredibly higher percentage of adversity than their Victorian colleagues to achieve any level of success.
In fact the biases are so damning there’s probably good parochial reasoning to have an asterisk next to all Victorian premierships and individual Victorian based player awards. The West Coast Eagles have to forever live with the asterisk alongside their 2006 tainted cup so, while its for different reasons, if it's good for the West Coast Gooses, it's good for the Victorian Ganders!
Think about it? Would Richmond have won two premierships with that team had they been based in WA? Could the Bulldogs have won from eighth place on the ladder as a Brisbane based outfit? Rhetorical questions they will remain but I think we all know where the percentages sit.
In 2011 Collingwood left the state of Victoria just four times. Geelong left the state just six times. They finished first and second on the ladder, neither side left the state during the finals with Geelong just shading the Pies for the premiership. That is just one of endless examples.
So we took it a step further and looked at some 300 game players and it’s safe to say, while we have admiration for any footballer than can pull on the boots 300 times, it takes an extra special human that can play 300 plus games in the AFL entirely from an interstate based club. The constant travelling, the covered kilometres and the endless hours spent in a plane, on transfers and in hotels, no doubt, have an ever compounding detrimental impact.
And there are even advantages and disadvantages within the interstate teams depending on which state you’re from and the proximity the state is to Victoria. However, how some of these interstate footballers punch out the high level longevity that they do, it only adds to their footballing greatness.
But whether we care to meaningfully acknowledge the blatant and obvious biases or not, it’s a very interesting look into the statistics which we don’t really think about; but those which go into shaping a 300 game career.
The one result that stands out like a sore thumb from all this information is that Matthew Pavlich’s 353 game career just got ridiculously more impressive! And, while we may well be ironically biased, his teammate David Mundy isn’t far behind. There are 300 game careers and then there are Matthew Pavlich’s and David Mundy’s 300 game careers!
Sydney is probably the next best state to be based, in relation to the least disadvantageous travelling regime, but Adam Goodes’ effort to debut and play 300 of the next possible 306 games is frighteningly good.
From the other end of this measurable scale, Jimmy Bartel traveled the least out of all twenty 300 gamers. 79% of his career games were played in Victoria and he finished up with an amazing 70% win ratio in his 305 career games, winning 213 times.
The players we looked at all played at least 300 games, they played all of them from the one state they were based in and they debuted no earlier than 1995. There were 20 players that met the criteria and their remarkable careers are as follows.