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Aussie Rules: Biggest flops of the AFL season

There have been some surprise packages in the 2022 AFL campaign so far but also some big flops as a host of teams have let their standards slip this season.

Now the home and away season is done and dusted we are about to enter the business end of the season with finals getting underway in the first week of September.

Some teams have excelled and surprised a few. Most notably Fremantle and Collingwood, who will both play finals and harbour hopes of going deep into them.

Geelong have also overthrown reigning premiers Melbourne to win the minor premiership and are now looking to go all the way and win the flag.

But with the winners, come the losers and there have been a handful of sides that have had seasons to forget. In some cases the fall from grace has been dramatic to say the least.

So who have been the biggest flops of the 2022 AFL campaign?
 

West Coast Eagles

The Eagles had a disappointing season in 2021 when finishing ninth on the ladder and missing out on finals, but that is nothing compared to the disappointment of 2022.

West Coast have won just two games all season and finished second bottom on the ladder, only avoiding the wooden spoon courtesy of having a better percentage than North Melbourne.

In fairness the Eagles have had a nightmare when it comes to players being ruled out of the side through sickness and injury.

Coach Adam Simpson was struggling to put a squad together at one point with a host of youngsters being brought in to make up the numbers.

Simpson has ruled out a rebuild but it will be interesting to see what develops during the off-season and how they respond in 2023.

Essendon

The Bombers made finals in 2021 and although they fell at the first hurdle, expectations were high heading into the new campaign.

An eighth-place finish was the minimum requirement with some expecting more. However it has been quite the opposite as Ben Rutten’s side have dropped like a stone.

They have picked up seven wins this season compared to 11 last season and ended the campaign with another home defeat against Richmond.

Essendon briefly rallied and it looked as though they had turned a corner, but three defeats on the bounce have put them back in turmoil and there is a huge question mark over the future of Rutten.

Expect a huge shake-up at the club over the summer.


 

Port Adelaide

The Power finished second on the ladder last season and although they were drubbed by the Western Bulldogs in the preliminary final, not many would have predicted what lay ahead in 2022.

They got off to the worst possible start when losing the opening five games of the season to all-but end any hopes of getting into finals. No side had recovered from a start like that to make the eight before.

They did rally mid-season but drifted away again over the remaining games to finish way down the ladder.

There is now talk of a change at the top and it would be no surprise if head coach Ken Hinkley moved on during the off-season as a coaching merry-go-round looks to be on the cards.

Greater Western Sydney

The Giants were another side to make finals in 2021 and made it through to the semi-finals before losing to Geelong.

Again their drop down the ladder came as something of a surprise and following a poor start to the season they parted company with long-serving coach Leon Cameron.

Unfortunately for GWS, things did not improve under interim coach Mark McVeigh with the club winning just six games to finish third from bottom.

Now the Giants face a huge off-season as they look to appoint a new head coach to get them back up the ladder.

North Melbourne

The Kangaroos finished bottom of the ladder in 2021 and finish there again in 2022. However they have still managed to go backwards after winning just two games this season, compared to the four they won in 2021.

They would have been hoping to make some progress but it was another season of disaster and It resulted in head coach David Noble losing his job.

There is hope for the long-suffering North Melbourne members though as four-time premiership winning coach Alastair Clarkson has just been handed the job of finally turning around their fortunes from 2023.

Landing the former Hawthorn coach is huge for Roos and the future could be bright after all.

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