Australian Football League

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This is a page about the national league in Australian Rules Football. For information about the rules and history of the game see the Australian Rules Football page.

The Australian Football League is the elite, national competition in Australian Rules Football. It was formed through the expansion of the Victorian Football League, during the 1980s and 1990s.

General description

A 16-team, single division competition, the season is based around a 22-week "home-and-away" (regular) season starting in March through to August. The top eight teams play off in a series of finals culminating in the Grand Final, always held at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, and usually held on the last Saturday in September. Before the regular season commences, a knock-out Cup competition is played, over the years it has had several incarnations as the Escort Cup in the 1980's, the Fosters Cup in the early-mid 90's, the Ansett Australia Cup in the late 90's, the Wizard Cup from 2001 until 2005, and as of the 2006 season it will be known as the National Australia Bank Cup. In 2005, the premiership was won by Sydney Swans, beating West Coast Eagles 58-54.

In Victoria, where a majority of teams are still based and in the traditional Australian Rules football states of South Australia, Western Australia, and Tasmania, much of the citizenry takes an obsessive interest in the competition. Massive crowds attend many of the games.

All players are now full-time professionals; however, since only a few elite players can expect to earn enough to support themselves for the rest of their lives, many study during their playing careers. The clubs, whilst still owned by their large membership base, are large businesses.

Current teams

Club Logo City Home Ground*
Adelaide Crows 80px Adelaide, South Australia AAMI Stadium
Brisbane Lions 80px Brisbane, Queensland Brisbane Cricket Ground
Carlton FC 80px Melbourne, Victoria Telstra Dome/Melbourne Cricket Ground
Collingwood FC 80px Melbourne, Victoria Melbourne Cricket Ground
Essendon FC 80px Melbourne, Victoria Telstra Dome
Fremantle FC 80px Fremantle, Western Australia Subiaco Oval
Geelong FC 80px Geelong, Victoria Skilled Stadium
Hawthorn FC 80px Melbourne, Victoria Melbourne Cricket Ground
Kangaroos FC 80px Melbourne, Victoria Telstra Dome
Melbourne FC 80px Melbourne, Victoria Melbourne Cricket Ground
Port Adelaide FC 80px Adelaide, South Australia AAMI Stadium
Richmond FC 80px Melbourne, Victoria Melbourne Cricket Ground
St. Kilda FC 80px Melbourne, Victoria Telstra Dome
Sydney Swans 80px Sydney, New South Wales Sydney Cricket Ground, Telstra Stadium
West Coast Eagles FC 80px Perth, Western Australia Subiaco Oval
Western Bulldogs 80px Melbourne, Victoria Telstra Dome

(Note: Many clubs play several "home" matches at alternate grounds.)

Current Stadiums

Notable VFL/AFL records

Former teams

  • University (Withdrew in 1915)
  • Fitzroy (Merged with the Brisbane Bears after the 1996 season to form the Brisbane Lions)
  • South Melbourne (Moved to Sydney in 1981 to become the Sydney Swans)
  • Brisbane Bears (Merged with Fitzroy after the 1996 season to form the Brisbane Lions)

Team Rivalries

  • Traditional Rivals:

Carlton vs Collingwood

vs Collingwood

Melbourne vs Collingwood

  • Local Derbies:

Adelaide vs Port Adelaide

West Coast vs Fremantle

  • Newer Rivals:

Brisbane Lions vs Sydney

Melbourne vs Geelong

St Kilda vs Geelong

Essendon vs Hawthorn

  • Past Rivals:

St Kilda vs South Melbourne

Collingwood vs Fitzroy

Future Expansion

Occasionally, there is talk in the media and amongst fans of increasing the number of AFL teams from outside Victoria. Several areas have been discussed as possibilities, most often Tasmania, western Sydney, North Queensland, the Gold Coast, Canberra, Darwin and even New Zealand; but the AFL have a stated aim to keep the competition in its current 16-side form. It is generally thought that if the AFL expands into a new area, one of the less financially well-off Victorian clubs will re-locate, rather than an entirely new club being formed. The Western Bulldogs and Kangaroos are most often considered candidates for re-location, and some theorise that their respective name changes in the 1990s were in anticipation of such a move. Having experimented with "home" games in Western Sydney, the Kangaroos play regular premiership season games at Manuka Oval in Canberra, and the Bulldogs have played in Cairns and Darwin, leading to more speculation that they are attempting to build a supporter base in those areas for future re-location.

Mergers have also been an option for the AFL, as was seen with the Brisbane Bears and Fitzroy Lions in 1996. If two Victorian teams merge then it makes room for the 16th team to come from an interstate city. Amongst the likely candidates for this are the Southport Sharks (Gold Coast, Queensland) or a Tasmanian team based in Hobart or Launceston. Note, however, that since the backlash to the 1996 Melbourne Hawks merger attempt, the AFL has been significantly less willing to actively persue the amalgamation of two Victorian-based clubs as an option.

AFL/VFL Hall of Fame

For the centenary of the VFL/AFL in 1996, a Hall of Fame was formed. That year 136 Australian Rules identities were inducted, including 100 players, 10 coaches, 10 umpires, 10 administrators and 6 media representatives. "Legend of the Game" status was conferred on several players, with further players being named in the years since.

The original legends (in alphabetical order):

Later additions:

Team of the Century

To celebrate the 100th season of the VFL/AFL, the "AFL Team of the Century" was named in 1996.

Template:Aussie rules team Jim Elder was also named as umpire.

Since the naming of this side, all AFL clubs have nominated their own teams of the century. An Indigenous Team of the Century was also selected in 2005, featuring the best Aboriginal players of the previous 100 years.


The AFL run a chain of stores that sell various merchandise from all teams. The merchandise is also avaliable from other retailers.

See also

External links

Template:AFL cs:AFL scn:AFL