West Perth and South Fremantle may have been separated by considerable distance on the 2013 premiership ladder but there was little to split their dire financial performances last year.
The Falcons won the 2013 flag and are doing many things right in the expanding northern suburbs but still lost $288,000.
South Fremantle, who came seventh, were the only club to post a worse result after losing nearly $300,000 and further depleting their once-massive cash reserves.
They were amongst four WAFL clubs to lose money last year.
And two others - Claremont and East Fremantle - finished in the black only after the allocation of Foxtel Cup prize money.
The collation of the club results by thewest.com.au paints a bleak picture of the WAFL's financial landscape and underlines why clubs clamoured for the extra $1 million to be distributed under the AFL club alignments.
Financial powerhouse Subiaco, whose ability to sell tickets at Patersons Stadium provides them with an annual windfall of $1 million, lead the ladder with a surplus of nearly $175,000. East Perth were the only other club to make a significant profit - just under $100,000.
But both Falcons and Bulldogs were adamant that they were in strong shape and had budgeted to make profits this year.
Both clubs will receive greater AFL draft fees this year after success at the 2013 draft and they both used the arrivals of new chief executives to make changes to their accounting methods or balance sheets.
West Perth included two years of expenses in last year's results, while South wrote down a series of ageing assets as well as catching up with belated but expensive maintenance work.
West Perth president Brett Raponi said the premiership defence was a priority but the club's future would not be risked.
And he identified AFL drafting as the lottery that could make or break a club's financial season.
"This club exists to win premierships, which do not come cheaply, but we will not put the long-term viability of the club at risk in our quest for back-to-back flags," he said.
"We have had a couple of years of doing it tough but we try to make good business decisions, we budget well and we don't spend what we can't afford. We don't have any bank debt and there is light at the end of the tunnel because we'll soon be able to generate our own passive income (at Arena Joondalup). We haven't been in position to do that ever."
Despite a third consecutive loss that caused South's cash reserves to drop nearly half a million dollars, president Haydn Raitt was positive about the club's future.
"We cleaned out the cupboards completely," he said. "We have a new era now. We wanted to clean up before the money came in for the new partnership arrangement.
"This is (chief executive) Stuart Kemp's era now and he has a chance to shine and the club to move forward."
Swan Districts have also budgeted for a modest profit after years of savage cost-cutting required after the big spending which underwrote the 2010 premiership and the loss of more than $1 million over three years.
The club lost $102,000 in 2013 to follow two horror years when it lost a WAFL record $913,000 in 2011 and $24,000 last year.
Peel expect to come close to a balanced budget in 2014 after losing $30,000 last year.
"This result shows a significant improvement on 2012 and will continue to significantly improve," chief executive Bill Kostandas said.
"The club is fully meeting its current commitments and its previous outstanding commitments."
Peel still owe $300,000 to the WA Football Commission but have made the first $50,000 repayment on the loan.
East Perth chief executive Dean Turner identified several significant financial benefits from the club's relationship with West Coast, including coach Brian Dawson's salary being fully paid by the Eagles while the club did not need to recruit players.
"We have worked hard to increase the club's fundraising by $200,000 but we are also now operating at 65 per cent of the commission grants of the other clubs," Turner said.
The Royals are planning a major overhaul of their Medibank Stadium headquarters.
WAFL Profit and Loss 2013
$98,229 East Perth
$15,257 East Fremantle
-$102,401 Swan Districts
-$288,691 West Perth
-$299,290 South Fremantle