GEELONG fell one half short of a premiership in 2020, did some big-game hunting in the off-season and is again primed for a tilt for a flag this season with the most experienced list in the competition.

Champion Data's analysis of each club's list shows the Cats have an average of 88 games experience for each player, despite losing veterans Gary Ablett (357 games) and Harry Taylor (280) to retirement.

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West Coast (80.5), St Kilda (78.3) and reigning back-to-back premier Richmond (76.6) round out the top four in terms of experience.

Clubs ranked by average games of experience

1

Geelong 

88.0

2

West Coast 

80.5

3

St Kilda

78.3

4

Richmond

76.6

5

Hawthorn

71.8

6

Port Adelaide

71.3

7

Melbourne

70.0

8

Carlton

68.5

9

Western Bulldogs

68.1

10

Sydney

66.0

11

Collingwood

65.6

12

Brisbane 

62.0

13

North Melbourne

59.5

14

Fremantle

58.2

15

GWS Giants

57.5

16

Essendon

57.4

17

Adelaide 

56.6

18

Gold Coast

53.0

The Cats have nine players currently aged 30 and over, with 12 players having played 170 games or more, including big-name recruits Shaun Higgins (237), Isaac Smith and Jeremy Cameron.

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They aren't the oldest team in the competition though, with Brett Ratten's Saints narrowly taking that mantle.

Their average age is 25.4 years, slightly ahead of Geelong (25.3), West Coast (25) and Richmond (24.8).

Interestingly, the average age of the top three in that category exceeds that of 2020's oldest team, Collingwood.

Clubs ranked by average age

1

St Kilda

25.4

2

Geelong Cats

25.3

3

West Coast Eagles

25.0

4

Richmond

24.8

5

Western Bulldogs

24.7

6

Melbourne

24.6

7

Hawthorn

24.6

8

GWS Giants

24.5

9

Port Adelaide

24.4

10

Sydney Swans

24.3

11

Carlton

24.3

12

Collingwood

24.2

13

Fremantle

23.9

14

Essendon

23.9

15

Brisbane Lions

23.9

16

North Melbourne

23.8

17

Gold Coast Suns

23.7

18

Adelaide Crows

23.7

At the other end of the spectrum are Adelaide and Gold Coast.

Both teams average 23.7 years of age to be the joint youngest in the AFL, while the Suns (53 games) are the least experienced, just edging Adelaide (56.6), Essendon (57.5) and the rebuilt Greater Western Sydney (57.5).

Matt Rowell and Noah Anderson gave the Suns plenty of reasons to be optimistic in 2020. Picture: AFL Photos

Brisbane is an interesting case.

Having made the preliminary final last year, and acquiring Joe Daniher in the off-season, the Lions are fancied to challenge for a premiership, but are largely inexperienced.

They are ranked 15th for average age and 12th for average experience.

Clubs' spread of ages at round 1, 2021

Club

18-21

21-24

24-28

28-30

30+

Total

Adelaide

14

12

9

4

5

44

Brisbane

12

13

12

3

4

44

Carlton

8

15

12

2

5

42

Collingwood

12

11

9

3

7

42

Essendon

13

12

11

4

3

43

Fremantle

12

12

11

5

3

43

Geelong

10

12

6

7

9

44

Gold Coast

18

9

13

6

3

49

GWS Giants

10

13

12

3

6

44

Hawthorn

12

10

12

4

5

43

Melbourne

11

6

14

6

4

41

North Melbourne

14

11

8

5

4

42

Port Adelaide

12

10

10

2

8

42

Richmond

10

11

9

7

5

42

St Kilda

4

12

18

3

5

42

Sydney

10

14

10

4

5

43

West Coast

9

11

10

7

5

42

Western Bulldogs

9

10

14

7

3

43

All stats supplied by Champion Data. All data correct at round one, 2021