WINNING on the last Saturday in September is what each AFL team strives for.

This weekend will see Adelaide and Richmond take to the MCG to decide the 2017 premiership and to get into the spirit, has looked at how all 18 clubs have fared in recent times.

Last GF 1998, versus North Melbourne
Last flag 1998, Adelaide 15.15 (105) d North Melbourne 8.22 (70)
Last finals win 2017, preliminary final, versus Geelong
Grand Final players None. Heading into this season, the Crows had 130 finals games between them, but their oldest player – Scott Thompson, 34 – debuted in 2001 (for former club Melbourne), which was three years after Adelaide’s last Grand Final appearance.
From other clubs None
Premiership players None
From other clubs None
What do they have to do to get there? They've already done it. A qualifying final win over Greater Western Sydney was followed up with the systematic first-quarter destruction of Geelong last week in the preliminary final. They'll now line up against Richmond on Saturday in this year's decider.
How far off is it? If not this year, their list says they can reload. - Jennifer Phelan

Last GF 2004, versus Port Adelaide
Last flag 2003, Brisbane Lions 20.14 (134) d Collingwood 12.12 (84)
Last finals win 2009, elimination final, Brisbane Lions 16.15 (111) d Carlton 15.14 (104)
Grand Final players No finals in eight years and no Grand Finals in 13 means no current player has worn a Lions guernsey in a decider
From other clubs Two. Dayne Beams and Allen Christensen
Premiership players None that have worn a Lions guernsey
From other clubs Two. Dayne Beams and Allen Christensen
What do they have to do to get there? The building blocks are there but the Lions are still years off. They need to recruit more top-end talent and develop what they already have.
How far off is it? With some luck, four years. - Michael Whiting

Last GF: 1999, versus North Melbourne
Last flag: 1995, Carlton 21.15 (141) d Geelong 11.14 (80)
Last finals win: 2013, elimination final, versus Richmond
Grand Final players: Ex-Pie Dale Thomas has played in three Grand Finals, including the 2010 replay. But no-one else on the list has experience on the big stage, with Marc Murphy, Bryce Gibbs, Ed Curnow, Matthew Kreuzer, Kade Simpson and retiree Dennis Armfield playing in the Blues' last finals win four years ago. Former Docker Alex Silvagni also has finals experience.
From other clubs: One. Dale Thomas
Premiership players: None
From other clubs: One. Dale Thomas
What do they have to do to get there? The Blues should remain aggressive with recruiting quality talent from other clubs and continue to get games into their collection of young players, led by Charlie Curnow, Sam Petrevski-Seton and Jacob Weitering.
How far off is it? Carlton has to make finals again first, but a premiership tilt looks at least three, if not four, years off. - Marc McGowan 

1999 was the last Grand Final appearance for both Carlton and North Melbourne. Picture: AFL Photos

Last GF: 2011, versus Geelong
Last flag: 2010, Collingwood 16.12 (108) d. St Kilda 7.10 (52) 
Last finals win: 2012, semi-final versus West Coast
Grand Final players: The Magpies had a major clean out of their list after the club won the 2010 Grand Final and finished runner-up to Geelong in 2011. Collingwood has just six players left on its list that competed in those Grand Finals.
From other clubs: Two. Chris Mayne, Travis Varcoe
Premiership players: Five players remain on the Magpies' list (Alex Fasolo played in the 2011 Grand Final loss) that won the 2010 premiership.
From other clubs: One. Travis Varcoe.
What do they have to do to get there? It has been a slow grind for Collingwood, which has not made finals since 2013. With coach Nathan Buckley remaining at the helm, the Magpies will make substantial changes to the demographic of its list in the coming years.
How far off is it? A long way. Collingwood has to make the finals first and, based on its efforts over past seasons, it's not likely to happen next year. - Ben Guthrie 

Last GF: 2001 versus Brisbane Lions
Last flag: 2000, Essendon 19.21 (135) d. Melbourne 11.9 (75) 
Last finals win: 2004, Elimination final, Melbourne
Grand Final players The Bombers haven't won a final for 13 years, so there aren't any original Essendon players who have played in a Grand Final for the club. 
From other clubs: Two. Brendon Goddard, Craig Bird
Premiership players: Nil
From other clubs: One. Craig Bird.
What do they have to do to get there? Win an elimination final, to start with. They have lost their past four attempts in disastrous circumstances  so that is a monkey they need to get off their back. 
How far off is it? There's talent there but a flag tilt doesn't seem imminent next year. - Callum Twomey

Last GF 2013, versus Hawthorn
Last flag Yet to win a premiership.
Last finals win 2015, qualifying final, Fremantle 10.9 (69) d Sydney 7.18 (60)
Grand Final players There are still 13 of the 22 who played in the Dockers' only Grand Final on the list, 14 if you include recently retired defender Zac Dawson, while 15 in total have appeared on the biggest stage.
From other clubs One. Danyle Pearce.
Premiership players The Dockers are still chasing their maiden flag, but Bradley Hill played in the Hawks' three-peat, while fellow recruit Joel Hamling kept Swans superstar Lance Franklin quiet in the Dogs' epic 2016 flag triumph.
From other clubs Two. Bradley Hill and Joel Hamling.
What do they have to do to get there? Find a tall forward to build their attack around and boost their overall firepower. Freo's engine room can match it with any opponent and a new-look defence is taking shape.
How far off is it? A fair way yet. The Dockers are only in the early stages of a four-year rebuild. - Travis King

The Dockers are one of three clubs yet to win a premiership. Picture: AFL Photos

Last GF 2011, versus Collingwood
Last flag 2011, Geelong 18.11 (119) d Collingwood 12.9 (81)
Last finals win 2017, semi-final, versus Sydney.
Grand Final players With Andrew Mackie and Tom Lonergan retiring, the Cats have four players who have appeared in Grand Finals; Mitch Duncan (one), Tom Hawkins (two), Joel Selwood (four) and Harry Taylor (three). 
From other clubs None
Premiership players Duncan, Hawkins, Joel Selwood and Taylor all played in 2011, while Hawkins and Taylor also appeared in 2009. Selwood is the Cats’ only remaining triple-premiership player (with Mackie retiring), having also played in 2007.
From other clubs None
What do they have to do to get there? Sort out their slow starts in preliminary finals. They've been blown away two years running in the first quarter, which will require some psychological overcoming if they get there again next year. The nucleus is there, they just need some minor tweaks.
How far off is it? Maybe next year with the right recruiting and mental application. - Jennifer Phelan

The Suns have not qualified for finals in their seven seasons in the AFL.
Grand Final players from other clubs The Suns have three players who have competed in deciders – Gary Ablett (Geelong), Michael Barlow (Fremantle) and Matt Rosa (West Coast).
Premiership players Only Ablett has tasted the ultimate success, winning with the Cats in 2007 and 2009.
What do they have to do to get there? Quite a lot. Once they've found a coach, the Suns need midfield depth, particularly ball-winners that are also strong runners, to complement their key position talent.
How far off is it? An optimist could say three years, but probably four to five. 

Last GF Nil
Last flag Nil
Last finals win 2017, semi-final versus West Coast
Grand Final players Nil
From other clubs Four. Heath Shaw (Collingwood), Shane Mumford (Sydney), Matt de Boer (Fremantle) and the now retired Steve Johnson (Geelong) all played in Grand Finals before they arrived at GWS.
Premiership players Nil
From other clubs Shaw (2010) and Mumford (2012), along with the departed Johnson (2007, 2009, 2011).
What do they have to do to get there? A fit and healthy list would be the first thing on Leon Cameron's Christmas list, so some luck with injury would be more than handy.
How far off is it? GWS fans need to be patient, 2018 could well be the year. - Adam Curley

Last GF: 2015, versus West Coast
Last flag: 2015, Hawthorn 16.11 (107) d West Coast 8.13 (61)
Last finals win: 2015, Grand Final, versus West Coast
Grand Final players: Fifteen Hawks, excluding retired stars Luke Hodge and Josh Gibson, have won at least one premiership, and 11 of them were also part of the team that lost to Sydney in the 2012 decider. Shaun Burgoyne, Ben McEvoy and Tom Mitchell played in one Grand Final each for their previous clubs.
From other clubs: Three. Shaun Burgoyne, Ben McEvoy and Tom Mitchell (2016 with Sydney)
Premiership players: Grant Birchall (2008, 2013, 2014, 2015), Luke Breust (2013, 2014, 2015), Shaun Burgoyne (2013, 2014, 2015), Taylor Duryea (2014, 2015), James Frawley (2015), Jack Gunston (2013, 2014, 2015), Will Langford (2014), Ben McEvoy (2014, 2015), Paul Puopolo (2013, 2014, 2015), Cyril Rioli (2008, 2013, 2014, 2015), Jarryd Roughead (2008, 2013, 2014, 2015), Ryan Schoenmakers (2015), Liam Shiels (2013, 2014, 2015), Isaac Smith (2013, 2014, 2015), Ben Stratton (2013, 2014, 2015)
From other clubs: One. Shaun Burgoyne.
What do they have to do to get there? Hawthorn rallied well after a horrendous start to 2017, but there is still some scepticism about where it is placed. More top-quality youth would help, although a raid on mature-age talent from other clubs was the Hawks' go in recent years. Either way, an injection of star power is required.
How far off is it? You should never doubt Clarko, but Hawthorn may need a couple of years, or more, to reload again. - Marc McGowan

The Hawks had a pretty good run from 2013-15. Picture: AFL Photos

Last GF: 2000, versus Essendon
Last flag: 1964, Melbourne 8.16 (64) d. Collingwood 8.12 (60)
Last finals win: 2006, elimination final, versus St Kilda
Grand Final players: The Demons have not played in the finals since 2006, with Nathan Jones the only player remaining on their list from the semi-final loss to Fremantle.  
From other clubs: One. Jordan Lewis.
Premiership players: Nil
From other clubs: One. Jordan Lewis.
What do they have to do to get there? Melbourne appears to be on the right track, but must overcome the hurdle of making finals in the first place.
How far off is it? Not that far away. If the development continues as expected, the Demons should be contending for a flag in the next few years. - Ben Guthrie 

Last GF: 1999, versus Carlton
Last flag: 1999, North Melbourne 19.10 (124) d Carlton 12.17 (89)
Last finals win: 2015, semi-final, versus Sydney
Grand Final players: No Grand Final experience, but 18 listed Roos – including 26-and-unders Shaun Atley, Ben Brown, Ben Cunnington, Taylor Garner, Ben Jacobs, Jamie Macmillan, Luke McDonald, Kayne Turner and Jack Ziebell – played in at least one of the 2014 and 2015 preliminary finals.
From other clubs: None
Premiership players: None
From other clubs: None
What do they have to do to get there? Exactly what North is doing. Go big, and try to land a (super)star or two. The list is severely lacking in that regard. Otherwise, load up with young guns in the draft in the next two years, and hopefully Josh Kelly can be prised from GWS when he next comes out of contract.
How far off is it? Much will depend on the Roos' recruiting persuasion, but it's hard to envision a flag assault within four years. - Marc McGowan

Last GF 2007, v Geelong
Last flag 2004, Port Adelaide 17.11 (113) d Brisbane Lions 10.13 (73).
Last finals win 2014, Semi Final, v Fremantle
Grand Final players Two players remain from the 2007 loss – skipper Travis Boak and versatile tall Justin Westhoff.
From other clubs None
Premiership players No players remain from Port's 2004 flag.
From other clubs None
What do they have to do to get there? The Power are close enough. Some help for Charlie Dixon – whether developed from within or traded in from the outside – and another class midfielder or two would have them knocking on the door.
How far off is it? A bit more development needed yet – two years. - Michael Whiting

Last GF 1982, versus Carlton
Last flag 1980, Richmond 23.21 (159) d. Collingwood 9.24 (78)
Last finals win 2017, preliminary final, versus Greater Western Sydney
Grand Final players Everyone who lines up for the Tigers on Saturday will be playing in an AFL decider for the first time.
From other clubs None
Premiership players None at the Tigers, although there could be 22 after Saturday.
From other clubs None
What do they have to do to get there? Make sure they beat the traffic on Saturday, because Richmond will be playing in this year's Grand Final.
How far off is it? Three days. Their star power and total commitment from the players mean the Tigers could give it another crack next year. - Dinny Navaratnam 

Last GF 2010, versus Collingwood
Last flag 1966, St Kilda 10.14 (74) d. Collingwood 10.13 (73)
Last finals win 2010, preliminary final, versus Western Bulldogs
Grand Final players Nathan Brown and Sam Gilbert are the only two left, with the retired Leigh Montagna and Nick Riewoldt having each played three in 2009-10, while Sean Dempster's total was five, with an extra two at Sydney in 2005-06.
From other clubs One, Nathan Brown
Premiership players Just the one, with Nathan Brown having been part of Collingwood's 2010 premiership team against St Kilda.
From other clubs One, Nathan Brown
What do they have to do to get there? After finishing on the fringes of the eight the past two seasons, some more class in the midfield would take this side to the next level.
How far off is it? Nabbing stars is tough work, but if it can be done, in the next three years. - Dinny Navaratnam 

The Saints' last Grand Final appearance was in the 2010 replay. Picture: AFL Photos

Last GF 2016, versus the Western Bulldogs
Last flag 2012, Sydney 14.7 (91) d. Hawthorn 11.15 (81)
Last finals win 2017, elimination final versus Essendon
Grand Final players The Swans have made three of the last six Grand Finals and as such, have 22 players with experience on their list.
From other clubs Two. Lance Franklin, Callum Sinclair
Premiership players Nine players remain from Sydney's 2012 flag win against the Hawks, while Lance Franklin (Hawthorn, 2008, 2013) makes it 10 in total.
From other clubs One. Lance Franklin
What do they have to do to get there? The Swans showed they have everything they need to make next year's Grand Final, but they can't afford another poor start.
How far off is it? John Longmire's men will again be around the mark next year. - Adam Curley

Last GF 2015, versus Hawthorn 
Last flag 2006, West Coast 12.13 (85) d Sydney 12.12 (84)
Last finals win 2017, elimination final, West Coast 12.6 (78) d Port Adelaide 10.16 (76)
Grand Final players The Eagles have 17 players on their list with Grand Final experience, 20 if you include retirees Matt Priddis, Sam Mitchell and Sam Butler. Sharrod Wellingham is included in the 17 but his future is up in the air.
From other clubs One. Sharrod Wellingham.
Premiership players Butler was the last remaining West Coast premiership player from 2006, while a couple of recruits played in flags at their previous club.
From other clubs Two. Lewis Jetta, Sharrod Wellingham.
What do they have to do to get there? You can't win premierships without a gun midfield and the Eagles' engine room was off the pace without Nic Naitanui. Finding dynamic, goalkicking onballers is the No.1 priority, marginally ahead of pressure small forwards.
How far off is it? Seemed miles off this year but things could turn relatively quickly if the Eagles trade and draft well in the next year or two. - Travis King

Last GF 2016, v Sydney
Last flag  2016, Western Bulldogs 13.11 (89) d. Sydney 10.7 (67)
Last finals win 2016, Grand Final v Sydney
Grand Final players The Dogs have 22 players on their list who played in the season's decider.
From other clubs Two. Matt Suckling and Travis Cloke  
Premiership players The Dogs have 22 players who have tasted the ultimate success.
From other clubs Two. Matt Suckling and Travis Cloke
What do they have to do to get there? The premiership defence this season bordered on a disaster, with the club missing the finals amid reports of disharmony throughout the club. If they can regain the hunger, and add a key defender and a class midfielder, that would be a big step out of the doldrums.
How far off is it? With a young and exciting list, don't discount a return to flag contention in 2018. - Ryan Davidson

Who could forget the Dogs' drought-breaking premiership last season? Picture: AFL Photos