THE CURSE isn't what it once was.
In the past, sides could be forgiven for lamenting an 0-2 start as 'season over' territory. But now, it's a challenge that can be relished and quickly overcome.
This year, six sides stand winless after the season's first fortnight. Of those, the Western Bulldogs, Greater Western Sydney, Essendon and Port Adelaide would still harbour genuine ambitions to play finals football later this year.
Their race is certainly not done.
Coming into this season, 63 teams had made 0-2 starts since 2010. Of those, just eight had made the finals. It's a daunting stat to look in totality. But recent history would suggest a new trend is emerging.
In fact, in five straight campaigns, a side has still made the finals after going 0-2. On two occasions – Sydney in 2014 and Collingwood in 2018 – teams have gone on to make the Grand Final after being 0-2.
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Last season, five teams started 0-2. Three of them – Brisbane, GWS and Essendon – went on to play finals. The Lions won eight of their next nine to finish in the top four, the Giants played in a semi-final, and the Bombers still progressed despite going 2-6.
GWS and Essendon will need to conjure such comebacks again this year. The Bulldogs only have to look back just two seasons for inspiration, when they went 0-2 in 2020 but still played finals football despite the truncated campaign.
Port Adelaide hasn't started 0-2 since 2015. Even then – despite finishing ninth and missing the finals by just a game to North Melbourne – the club still ended the season 12-10 and finished with a winning record.
So, while an 0-2 start isn't how six sides would have wanted to start the year, it's not the end of their chances of securing success in 2022. Just ask Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge for how much he reads into the apparent 'curse' of a losing first fortnight.
"I can't even remember if we were 0-2," Beveridge said of the side's 2020 campaign.
"Whether or not the analytics, or even the commentary around it, looks at history and says that teams who start the year like this don't necessarily do this at the end of it or whatever it may be … I'm not a great believer in the now being shaped by history."