Top 10 of Australian sporting droughts


1. North Sydney, NRL, 77 years (1922-1999)

The Bears never got to enjoy the sweet taste of victory at the end of their 77-year drought. Instead, they faced an ill-fated merger with Manly and then extinction. They reached just one more grand final in 1952, where they lost 26-12 to South Sydney, and were beaten in another three preliminary finals in their last six years.

2. Sydney Swans, AFL, 72 years (1933-2005)

The Swans’ changed their identity and state between their third and fourth premierships. But South Melbourne fans finally had something to cheer about again when Leo Barry leaped high above a pack of West Coast forwards to win the 2005 decider by four points, and end the longest drought in AFL history.

3. St Kilda, AFL, 69 years (1897-1966)

If anyone knows how Cronulla fans are feeling heading into this weekend, it’s the St Kilda faithful. The Saints hold the unwanted record for the longest wait for a club’s first major title in Australian sport, being forced to watch on for 69 years before they finally claimed the flag.

4. Queensland, Sheffield Shield, 63 seasons (1926-27 – 1994-95)

Queensland finished runners-up 12 times between 1957 and 1994. But a maiden Shield title eluded them until Matthew Hayden, Allan Border, Martin Love, Stuart Law and Jimmy Maher amassed 664 in the first innings of 1994-95 Shield final against South Australia to finally claim the title.

5. Western Bulldogs, AFL, 62 years (1954-present)

The Dogs hold the longest current drought in any major Australian competition. It’s been 62 years since Charlie Sutton lifted the VFL trophy for Footscray in 1954. Premiership successes aside, the club has only made one other grand final in their 82-year history, a loss to Hawthorn in 1961.

6. Melbourne Demons, AFL, 52 years (1964-present)

The Demons weren’t short of success in their early years, but that has since deserted them. Bridesmaids in 1988 and 2000, Melbourne fans have now been waiting 52 years to again taste premiership success … and given they haven’t been in the finals since 2006, they could be waiting a while longer yet.

7. Fitzroy, AFL, 52 years (1944-1996)

Much like North Sydney’s drought in the AFL, Fitzroy fans never saw their team taste success again after their last title in 1944. A shambles by the end of their existence, supporters were given some reprieve when their merger with Brisbane bore fruit and the Lions won the title in 2001.

8. St Kilda, AFL, 50 years (1966-present)

The only club to appear twice on this list. As if the 69-year wait for their first title wasn’t bad enough, Saints fans are still waiting for any further success. The club has now reached six grand finals – most recently in 2010 – but have not lifted flag since their only title in 1966.

9. North Melbourne, AFL, 50 years (1925-1975)

In a feat Cronulla will aim to repeat in Sunday’s NRL grand final, the Kangaroos finally claimed their elusive first title in their 50th year. Reaching just one decider in their first 48 seasons, North Melbourne played five in a row between 1974 and 1978, winning two, and losing the other three.

10. Cronulla, NRL, 49 years (1967-present)

No professional Australian rugby league team has been forced to wait until their 50th year for their first premiership. The Sharks have had their chances though. They lost the 1973 and 1997 deciders, and even took the 1978 grand final to a replay after drawing with Manly. Yet they still have nothing to show for it. Sunday is their best chance to change that.

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