COLLINGWOOD's premiership window appears to have only just opened but it will take the competition's second oldest list into the 2019 season, behind only the battle-hardened Hawks.
The Magpies seemed a rejuvenated outfit this year as they returned to the finals for the first time in five years, with youngsters such as Jordan De Goey, Jaidyn Stephenson, Tom Phillips and Brayden Sier emerging as influential players.
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In the Grand Final, the Pies' team was half a year younger on average than eventual premier West Coast's – 25.8 years compared to 26.3 – while they fielded 13 players 25 or younger compared to the Eagles' eight.
Although Collingwood remains well placed to build a new era of sustained on-field success under coach Nathan Buckley, the average age of its 2019 list will be 24.8 years at the start of the season, according to Champion Data.
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It's no surprise Hawthorn will take the competition's oldest list into next season, with an average age of 24.9 years, given the Hawks' strong focus on topping up with experienced talent under coach Alastair Clarkson.
However, it is somewhat surprising Collingwood's 2019 list is older than two other teams that, like the Hawks, have defied football gravity for more than a decade: Geelong and Sydney.
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Geelong has been as aggressive at the trade table in recent times as the Hawks, largely eschewing the early rounds of the draft, but its average player age next year will be 24.2 years, the fourth oldest in the competition.
The Swans, whose Academy has recently delivered elite youngsters such as Isaac Heeney, Callum Mills and Nick Blakey, will be younger still at an average of 23.9 years (equal ninth).
Youngster Nick Blakey is a new addition at the Swans. Picture: AFL Photos
The Eagles, whose premiership window looks narrower than Collingwood's given their reliance on star veterans Josh Kennedy and Shannon Hurn, will have the fifth oldest list (24.14 years), while 2017 grand finalist Adelaide will have the third oldest (24.76 years).
At the other end of scale, Gold Coast will have the youngest list (23.24 years) after parting with 2018 co-captains Tom Lynch and Steven May in the NAB AFL Trade Period, while Brisbane (23.43) and Carlton (23.55) will be next youngest.
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Collingwood will also take considerable experience into 2019 as it bids to avenge its Grand Final loss.
The Pies' list boasts an average of 78.9 games' experience, second again to the battle-hardened Hawks (80.4 games).
The Crows (71.4 games) and Richmond (70) are the next most experienced clubs, while the bottom three teams for games played are Gold Coast (50.2), Essendon (55.4) and Brisbane (56.6).
In terms of finals experience, Sydney (6.1 games on average), Hawthorn (6) and Geelong (5) head the list as you would expect, followed by West Coast (4.6), Collingwood (4.4) and 2017 premier Richmond (3.4).
Despite the widespread expectations the Bombers will carry into 2019 after winning the fierce battle for former GWS star Dylan Shiel's signature during the Trade Period, their relative inexperience is highlighted again here, with their list boasting a meagre average of 1.1 finals played, the third fewest in the competition.
Only Gold Coast (0.57 games) and St Kilda (0.96) have played fewer finals.
The figures provided above are current as of Tuesday's final list lodgments. However, they could change given nine clubs still have at least one rookie list spot open that they could fill during the pre-season supplemental selection period, which runs from December 1 to March 15.
|CLUB||(AVERAGE AGE AT START OF SEASON)|
|Greater Western Sydney||23.94|
|CLUB||(AVERAGE GAMES PLAYED)|
|Greater Western Sydney||61.2|
|CLUB||(AVERAGE FINALS PLAYED)|
|Greater Western Sydney||3.5|
Statistics courtesy of Champion Data