When it comes to winning flags, rather than making finals I’m not sure AA is the right criteria.
What does seem to matter is having 4 or 5 players who are at least one of the following;
Absolutely elite / able to turn a game / can pants their opponent / consistently win contests they have no right to.
A clear example was Hawthorn - Hodge, Burgoyne, Rioli, Roughead, Mitchell.
Geelong had Selwood, Bartel, Taylor, Kelly.
Sometimes a bloke can be in the form of his life and provide this - eg Cotchin’s final series was the best I’ve ever seen him play by a long shot, and Easton Wood the year before was outstanding all year and particularly in finals.
Hawkins had one great finals series for the Cats.
I’d argue that in this category we’ve got Joe, Hurley, possibly Merrett (finals performance needs to lift),
And then a hole - Hepp could step up maybe.
We’re a couple of match winners, game changers short.
Hence the hope for Stringer, Parish, and McGrath, who I see as the most likely.
( Before exploding in outrage, Tippa, Fanta, Conor, Hooker, Zaharakis etc are very very good players - we need them and I love watching them but they’re not quite at that game defining level)