10 AFL Grand Final Facts

1. No player having a surname beginning with the letter U or X has played in a premiership side. In the case of the letter X, this is perhaps not as surprising as it might have been, given that none of the 12,232 VFL/AFL players to date has had a surname beginning with that letter. There have been 21 “U” players, but none have tasted premiership success.

2. The most common grand final margins are 1, 4, 5, 9, 33 and 35 points, with each having been recorded four times. There have been three drawn grand finals, and three each with margins of 6, 10, 11, 12, 15, 18, 20, 27, 28, 29, 30, 39 and 53 points. Under the six-goal mark, no grand finals have been decided by margins of 8, 16, 21, 22, 23, or 34.

3. The highest score recorded in a grand final is 177 by Carlton in its win over Richmond in 1972. The Tigers’ losing total that day, 150, would have been enough to win any other grand final from 1897 to 1979. Richmond’s 1.7 (13) against Collingwood in 1927 is the lowest grand final score, just behind the Magpies’ 2.2 (14) kicked against Melbourne in 1960.

4. 68, 85 and 89 are the most common grand final scores, each having been registered seven times; 68 was a successful score once, with 85 and 89 a winning total on three occasions.

5. John Longmire broke one of footy’s longest droughts on grand final day last year, becoming the first coach with a surname beginning with the letter L to win a premiership. Fremantle coach Ross Lyon will be looking to make it two in two years. Perhaps the Lions were onto something in appointing Justin Leppitsch as their coach.

6. A reassurance for non-Collingwood fans who still can’t come to terms with the fact that the Magpies broke their premiership drought in 1990 is the fact that the club still has not won on the last Saturday in September since 1958. Earlier drawn finals meant that the Pies’ 1990 flag was won on October 6, while their 2010 win came on October 2.

7. Essendon’s longest premiership drought was bookended by grand final wins in which the Bombers registered exactly the same score. The Dons won the 1965 flag by kicking 14.21 (105) to St Kilda’s 9.16 (70) and their next flag, in 1984, came when they registered 14.21 (105) against Hawthorn’s 12.9 (81).

8. It won’t surprise many to discover that Smith is the most common surname in VFL/AFL history, with 119 players of that surname having taken the field. But when it comes to winning premierships, the Smiths run a distant fourth behind Johnsons, Collins and Browns. While 51 Johnsons have played the game at the highest level, 14 of them have won premierships, while 13 of 65 Browns have achieved the ultimate, as have 11 out of just 36 players with the surname Collins. Only nine Smiths have achieved premiership glory.

9. If Fremantle gets up to win the 2013 flag, a record set in the 1960s will be equalled. The 1963-1968 premiership teams were coached to victory by six different first names: Bob (Davis), Norm (Smith), John (Coleman), Allan (Jeans), Tom (Hafey) and Ron (Barassi). A Dockers win would see that record matched with Alastair (Clarkson), Mark (Thompson), Mick (Malthouse), Chris (Scott), John (Longmire) and Ross (Lyon).

10. Omen punters might be well advised to note that Hawthorn has never lost a grand final against a team beginning with the letter “F”. The Hawks took out their first flag by beating Footscray by 43 points in the 1961 premiership decider.