With the loss against the Swans on Saturday night at Docklands, North Melbourne are 6 premiership points off Adelaide in last place with a game to go (Ironically they’ll play each other in Round 23), confirming the Kangaroos for their first Wooden Spoon since 1972, their 14th overall, which means they’ll also have the No.1 draft pick for the first time in their history, which means that Port Adelaide will be the only club in the league to have never held the 1st overall pick in the Draft.
The other unique part of their season is that the Kangaroos will also become the first team in 13 years to sit on the bottom of the ladder after every round of a season (A wire to wire Wooden Spoon), and in the modern era of the game, that’s a very prestigious achievement, on a par with spending every round of a season on top of the ladder, considering it’s now only happened twice in the AFL era.
Still, I’d comfortably say this year’s Roos team is the best of this sorry band of suckers.
‘Wire To Wire‘ Wooden Spoon winners
North Melbourne in 2021 (4-1-16 with 1 game to go) lost their first 8 games under David Noble, including a 128-point hiding on Good Friday against the Western Bulldogs, before showing solid improvement late in the year, although they couldn’t avoid the club’s first wooden spoon in 49 years.
Even with 1 game to go in the year, this year’s Roos team have the most wins of any ‘Wire To Wire’ Wooden Spooner, and if they defeat the Crows they’ll become the ‘best’ Wooden Spoon team of the 21st Century, so they’ve got something going for them, which is nice.
Melbourne in 2008 (3-19) lost by 104 points in Round 1 against eventual premiers Hawthorn and never got out of 16th, with the Demons becoming the first team in the AFL era to complete a Wire to Wire Wooden Spoon.
St Kilda in 1985 (3-19) lost to Sydney by 110 points in Round 1, followed by a 140 point hiding from Carlton at Moorabbin a week later, and they stayed in 12th all year, although they did have Tony Lockett up forward to enjoy.
The winless Hawthorn team of 1950 (0-18) spent the entire year in 12th out of the 12 teams in the VFL, some 5 games behind South Melbourne in 11th, which was the Hawks’ second consecutive Wooden Spoon.
North Melbourne also completed a wire to wire Wooden Spoon with their winless 1931 team (0-18), forming the bulk of a 33 game losing streak that didn’t end until Round 3 of 1932.
That 33 game losing run stood as North’s worst losing streak for all of 3 years, because they went on to lose 35 in a row between 1933 and 1935, although even during the Shinboners’ winless 1934 season, they didn’t spend every round on the bottom.
The winless University team of 1913 (0-18), the third consecutive Wooden Spoon for The Students, and after finishing last again in 1914, they withdrew from the VFL due to issues surrounding amateurism…
And St Kilda never got off the bottom in 1898 (0-14), as the Saints were still in the midst of losing their first 48 games in the VFL, a league record that continues to stand up to the ravages of time.
On another note, the 1993 Sydney Swans could also scrape onto this list, as they had a Bye in Round 1 of the season, and it was Richmond who were last out of the 14 teams that played in the opening round, but the Swans sat in last (15th) after Round 2 thanks to losing their opening game against Hawthorn by 54 points, and never got off the bottom after losing their opening 11 games, ultimately winning the second of their Hat-trick of Wooden Spoons before the AFL stepped in and set them on the right path.