Revealed: the most successful club in Australian football

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A quick scan of the history books will reveal your club’s A-League, W-League and Y-League honours but how do they weigh up when all of these records are combined?

Many football fans naturally strive for bragging rights by grasping at straws in a desperate attempt to declare their club number one.

Unfortunately, more often than not these discussions fall on deaf ears and fail to offer any straightforward outcome.

But fear not, we will now determine once and for all who is truly the greatest team that Australian football has ever seen (at least since the advent of the A-League in 2005 and W-League in 2008).

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The following three measures have been devised to provide a definitive ranking of 11 clubs currently active in the top flights of Australian football:

  • Trophies per season (A-League, W-League and Y-League)
  • Points per game (A-League and W-League)
  • Finals qualifications per season (A-League and W-League)

Average scores have been calculated based on games played or years since establishment to allow for a valid appraisal of non-foundation clubs Wellington Phoenix, Melbourne City and Western Sydney Wanderers.

Western United have not been included as their matches played to date do not quite weigh up against their opposition.

So without further ado, here is how each club stacks up in the combined stakes.

Measure 1: Trophies 

If you ask a football fan ‘what is the significance of silverware?’ their response will likely be swayed by the fortunes of their team.

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Yet all should agree to some extent that trophies act as an indicator of achievement and thus our quest to declare the most successful active Australian club commences with the following tally:

In this category, Sydney FC are head and shoulders above the rest as the only club to average over a trophy per season.

Brisbane Roar’s strong W-League record sees them pip Melbourne Victory in second spot and Melbourne City are the only other club to have picked up a trophy at least every two campaigns.

Wellington Phoenix are the only club on record who are yet to pick up a trophy during their 12-year history.

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Measure 2: Competition Points

Every season teams are ranked based upon their overall points total, so it is only fair to compile an overall sum of competition points gathered over time.

Here is the all-time league table which includes a combined tally of A-League and W-League points alongside an averaged points per game (PPG) score.

  *excludes finals matches and is accurate as of the 27th November 2019

Sydney are joined at the summit by W-League club Canberra United while the rest of the table provides similar results to our trophy tally.

Interestingly there is an even divide when observing each club’s best performing team.

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Sydney FC, Brisbane Roar, Perth Glory and Melbourne City’s W-League outfits boast stronger PPG records than their male counterparts.

On the other hand Melbourne Victory, Adelaide United, Newcastle Jets and Western Sydney Wanderers have experienced more success with their A-League sides.

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Measure 3: Finals Qualification

As Australian football follows a format where finals qualification is rewarded with a shot at the championship, clubs are often judged on their ability to qualify for the top six (A-League) and top four (W-League) respectively.

Here is a summary of each club’s success in achieving just that:

The Sky Blues find themselves on top yet again, boosted by a remarkable record of securing a finals berth in every W-League season they have participated in.

Brisbane Roar return to second spot above Melbourne City who are in third position, narrowly above their cross-town rivals Melbourne Victory.

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Adelaide United are pinned down in seventh due to a lack of W-League finals experience, while Western Sydney Wanderers have tasted finals football the least but still sit above cellar-dwellers Wellington Phoenix after their late entry into the competition is considered.

An intriguing side-statistic is that Sydney FC and Melbourne City both pose the highest finals appearances to championships conversion rate, having won the title on one-third of the occasions they have qualified for the playoffs.

Perth Glory, on the other hand, have suffered the poorest conversion rate as they still await their maiden championship despite qualifying for the finals on ten separate occasions.

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The final verdict

So here we are.

By combining our three measures the following leaderboard presents a definitive ranking of Australian football’s existing clubs.

Sydney FC are unsurprisingly crowned top dogs and the statistics indicate they will retain that position for some time.

Brisbane Roar hold onto second spot despite a general dip in recent fortunes with the two Melbourne clubs capping off the top four.

From Canberra United in fifth there is a substantial drop off to the bottom six clubs who have all struggled for consistency over the years.

Despite a torrid few seasons Central Coast Mariners earn bragging rights over their F3 rivals Newcastle – the least successful club with both an A-League and W-League side.

Feature image credit: Ngau Kai Yan 

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Chris Curulli
Chris Curulli
Passionate Sports Media student and all round football obsessive, covering the Western Sydney Wanderers for the 2019/20 season.

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