It’s a long way to the top: your full AFL songlist

Sympathy, and maybe celebrations, for the Demons.
Music editor Eddie Russell picks one song to sum up the season for each AFL club

With full 20/20 hindsight, here are 18 songs to encapsulate your AFL club’s home and away season and general culture, as it might been seen by the rest of us.  

Adelaide Crows: Dumb Things by Paul Kelly

Adelaide native Paul Kelly’s thumping pub rock classic will be sure to get fans crowing. 

The song’s title might remind some of the disastrous 2018 training camp debacle which caused the club to implode, but what better way to confront your demons than head on.

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Brisbane Lions: (Baby I’ve Got You) On My Mind by Powderfinger

The Lions have been on everyone’s minds after a few years of near misses in September, but is this year the one? Residents of Brisvegas will never turn down an excuse to hear their pride and joy, Powderfinger, arguably the city’s most successful band.

Carlton Blues: Blue Monday by New Order

This ‘80s dance classic reminds fans of the last time the Navy Blues were winning flags. The song samples the theme from legendary Spaghetti Western film For A Few Dollars More, conducted by Ennio Morricone – a perfect homage to the club’s largely Italian supporter base and salary cap issues.  

Collingwood Magpies: Paint It Black by the Rolling Stones

It’s also been a tough ride for Pies fans, who might want to paint it black after the tumultuous events of 2021. A series of major off-field dramas and poor form has not given fans much joy, but it is the darkest days that bring the best out of the Pies.

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Essendon Bombers: Danger Zone by Kenny Loggins

The baby Bombers are back, and they are emulating the attitude and style of Maverick and Goose – bratty, cocky and flashy. The run-and-gun style is exciting, but it will take some maturing before they are on the radar for premiership contention.

Fremantle Dockers: Purple Haze by Jimi Hendrix

The mystery of Freo is shrouded in the purple haze, with the Dockers living under the shadow of the dominance of their older brother, West Coast, for some time now. But with a few valiant but ultimately unsuccessful seasons, will the Dockers lift the veil?

Geelong Cats: Nine Lives by Turbowolf

This year will mark the Cats ninth finals appearance since their last premiership in 2011 – they have now lost every final possible. Is this their last shot at premiership glory before their nine lives run out? Only time will tell for football’s perennial bridesmaids.

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Gold Coast Suns: Sunny by Boney M

This disco track perfectly encapsulates the two things Gold Coast is known for – good weather and constant partying. However, the Suns, like disco music, seem to be a flash in the pan with not much substance that attracts plenty of young guns.  

Greater Western Sydney Giants: West End Girl by Pet Shop Boys

The Giants are the competition’s West End Girls described in the song – not just by namesake, but in their youthful exuberance, deep talent pool and support from their rich father (the AFL). Everyone wants what the Giants have – you only have to check the trade season to see that.

Hawthorn Hawks: Golden Brown by The Stranglers

Genius Lyrics describe this song as “unconventionally punk” – that’s a label that can be attributed to the gold-and-brown dynasty built by legendary coach Alastair Clarkson. Even though Clarkson is gone, the remnants of the three-peat linger with ex-player Sam Mitchell set to take the reins.

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Melbourne Demons: Sympathy for Devil by the Rolling Stones

The lack of success for the Dees over the decades has attributed some sympathetic attitudes towards them from other clubs, however they are looking menacing and fiery in season 2021. The real question is – will it be Melbourne’s opponents asking for sympathy come September?

North Melbourne Kangaroos: Gonna Fly Now (Theme from Rocky) by Bill Conti

The protagonist, a young, down-and-out upstart in an industrial part of town, starts out as a written-off loser. However, with the help of their new tough-nosed coach, the protagonist begins to take it to the big leagues – and while they don’t succeed, they earn universal respect for their determination and grit. Is North Melbourne halfway through their very own Rocky Balboa story?

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Port Adelaide Power: Power and the Passion by Midnight Oil

There’s no lack of passion at Port, with one of the most dedicated fan bases to back up a playing team full of grit. Midnight Oil’s political activism is a perfect encapsulation of Port’s “stick-it-to-the-man” attitude that has seen them in many off-field disputes with the footy establishment.

Richmond Tigers: Eye of the Tiger by Survivor

Cliché: A phrase or opinion that is overused and betrays a lack of original thought. This operates on two levels – the obvious connotation with the Tigers, but also the universally acknowledged Rocky analogy to describe any conflict in the sporting arena.

St Kilda Saints: Saint Pablo by Kanye West

On the surface, there may not be a lot of similarities between Kanye West and the St Kilda Football Club. However, the rapper’s outbursts share some of the Saint’s hot and cold form, and the lyrical content harks back to that famous photo of Nicky Winmar.

Sydney Swans: Sunday Bloody Sunday by U2

The Swans are marching to the beat of their own drum this year with the revival of the Bloods’ culture. Tough, determined and united, the young list has ruffled the feathers of some genuine contenders this year.

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Western Bulldogs: Fortunate Son by Creedence Clearwater Revival

It just wouldn’t have been right for the Dogs to finish in the top four – it would be disrespectful to the working-class ethos of the club and surrounding suburbs for them to be fortunate sons. Expect a scrappy, blue collar from some folks: they are made to wave the flag… red, white, and blue!

West Coast Eagles: Icarus by the Big Push

The Eagles’ fall from grace this year is hard to fathom – with one of the strongest and deepest lists in the league and a big home ground advantage, no one can quite pinpoint what went wrong for West Coast, but it seems their wings have melted.

Listen to the playlist here: