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2018 AFL lists: age and experience

Nathan Schmook  November 30, 2017 4:14 PM

ADELAIDE has backed experience in its quest to atone for this year's Grand Final defeat, assembling what will be the oldest list in the competition in 2018.

The Crows had the seventh oldest group in 2017 but have rocketed to the top through the recruitment of midfielders Sam Gibson, 31, and Bryce Gibbs, 28, and two mature-age rookies.

It has lifted their average age as of round one next season to 24 years and 192 days, ahead of Hawthorn (24 and 179), Collingwood (24 and 98), Geelong (24 and 95) and Greater Western Sydney (24 and 16).

The Crows have a League average of three players over 30, but they lead the competition for players aged 25-29, with 19 (equal with Geelong).

Hawthorn has the Crows covered for average games experience, with 74, also leading the competition for average goals (59) and players with 100-199 games played (14).

Premiers Richmond are sitting in a strong list position after investing in the NAB AFL Draft rather than reloading with experience for 2018. 

Clubs ranked from oldest average age to youngest

 RANKING  CLUB AVERAGE AGE (YEARS, DAYS)
1. ADEL Adelaide 24 192
2. HAW Hawthorn  24  179 
3. GEEL Geelong 24  95 
4. COLL Collingwood 24  92 
5. PORT Port Adelaide  24  50 
6. SYD Sydney 23  343 
7. MELB Melbourne  23 335 
8. FRE Fremantle  23  292 
9. WCE West Coast 23  282 
10. WB Western Bulldogs  23  259 
11. GWS Greater Western Sydney  23  253 
12. STK St Kilda  23  201 
13. ESS Essendon  23  179 
14. BL Brisbane Lions  23 128 
15. NMFC North Melbourne  23  117 
16. RICH Richmond  23  93 
17. CARL Carlton  23  77 
18. GCFC Gold Coast 23  22 

Only five clubs – the Brisbane Lions, Carlton, Gold Coast, North Melbourne and St Kilda – have younger lists than the Tigers, with ruckman Shaun Hampson the only player who will enter the season aged 30 or older.

After entering 2017 having played 65 finals collectively – compared to Hawthorn's 313 and Sydney's 267 – last year's premiership run has given the Tigers 114 games of September experience.

Gold Coast is the least experienced team in finals, with captain Gary Ablett taking his 17 games of September experience with him to Geelong and dropping the Suns' total to 31.

St Kilda (32) and Melbourne (44) are also very green when it comes to playing finals and both will be expecting to add experience in 2018.

Only six clubs have fewer than 100 games finals experience, with Carlton (56), Essendon (63) and the Brisbane Lions (65) the others.

Three clubs will go into next season with five 200-game players – Geelong, Port Adelaide and Sydney – while St Kilda will have none after the retirements of Nick Riewoldt, Leigh Montagna and Sean Dempster.

West Coast has the most players on its list yet to debut with 16 after adding six players through the national draft and three new rookies. 

First-year players Daniel Venables, Josh Rotham, Willie Rioli and Jake Waterman, second-year tall forward Matthew Allen, and category-B rookies Tarir Bayok and Francis Watson didn't play in 2017. 

Summary of 2018 AFL club lists

 CLUB AVERAGE AGE (YEARS, DAYS) AVERAGE GAMES FINALS 100+ GAMES YET TO DEBUT FROM OTHER AFL CLUBS
ADEL Adelaide 24 192 68 165 14 13  8
BL Brisbane Lions 23 128 54 65  11 11
CARL Carlton 23 77 56 56 7 8 17
COLL Collingwood 24 92 70 116 13 12
ESS Essendon 23 179 58 63 9 9 10
FRE Fremantle 23 292 63 144 13 12 9
GEEL Geelong 24 95 65 209 13  12 9
GCFC Gold Coast  23 22 60 31 7 9 9
GWS Greater Western Sydney 23 253 64 143 10 11 11
HAW Hawthorn 24 179 74 265 17 9 10
MELB Melbourne 23 335 57 44 8 9 11
NMFC North Melbourne 23 117  52 107 10 11 7
PORT Port Adelaide 24 50 73 109 17 10 13
RICH Richmond 23 93 62 114 11  8 8
STK St Kilda 23 201 53 32 10 10  12 
SYD Sydney  23 343  66 303 11 12 4
WCE West Coast 23 282 64 169 15 16 7
WB Western Bulldogs 23 259 56 129 9 7 6
AVERAGE 23 278 62 126 11 10 10