Salary cap, players poached to international leagues, the coaching round-a-bout, and the added pressure that comes with a trophy in the cabinet. There are plenty of reasons why finishing first on the A-League ladder in consecutive seasons has so far been an impossible achievement.
Even throughout the era of Brisbane Roar dominance, two premierships and three championships in four campaigns, not even the great Ange Postecoglou could guide his unstoppable team to consecutive Premiers Plate’s.
Only once in A-League history has a reigning premier won their opening match and the 2011/12 Brisbane Roar side are the only team in history to have backed up a Premiership with more than a single win in their first three games the following season.
The race to the finish line, at least, has been close on several occasions. From Adelaide United in A-League II to the Western Sydney Wanders in A-League IX, five separate teams have come agonizingly close to pulling off the double by finishing second on the regular season ladder.
Let’s not pretend it’s all about the premiers, though. Here in Australia we love a Grand Final.
It’s much the same story for our champions though with only the Brisbane Roar of 2011/12 – 2012/13 seasons managing to clinch back-to-back championships.
Traditionally it’s been difficult for teams to build on Grand Final victories with four of the last seven champions finishing outside the top four in the season after their triumphs.
The lowest finish of any team was Sydney FC who placed 9th in 2010/11 after winning both the championship and premiership in 2009/10, this loss also made them the only team in history not to make the finals after winning the Premier’s Plate the previous season.
The Newcastle Jets have the undesirable record of being the only team in A-League history to finish with the wooden spoon (2008/09) the season immediately after winning the Grand Final (2007/08).
Melbourne Victory have twice finished as both premiers and champions managing to make the finals the following year on both occasions. A fifth place finish in 2007/08 and a second place finish in 2009/10 could be pushed one further up the ladder after a solid start to the 2015/16 season.