Australian Football League
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.
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.
|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.)
- Melbourne Cricket Ground - 100,000 (MCG's capacity will be 100,000 by April 2005)
- Telstra Stadium - 83,500
- Telstra Dome - 53,400
- AAMI Stadium - 51,500
- Sydney Cricket Ground - 44,000
- Subiaco Oval - 43,000
- Brisbane Cricket Ground - 42,600 (Recently upgraded from 37,000 to 42,600)
- Skilled Stadium - 27,000
Notable VFL/AFL records
- Highest score: Geelong; 37 goals, 17 behinds (239 points), Carrara Oval, May 3, 1992.
- Highest winning margin: Fitzroy, 190 points, Waverley Park, July 28, 1979.
- Largest Crowd: Carlton v Collingwood, 121,696, MCG, September 26, 1970. (Grand Final)
- Largest Crowd for game played outside Victoria: Sydney v. Collingwood, 72,393, Telstra Stadium, Sydney, Australia. 2003.
- Largest Crowd for game played outside Australia: Melbourne v. Sydney, 32,789, B.C. Place, Vancouver, Canada. 1987. (Australian Football Exhibition Match.)
- Most premierships: 16; Carlton (the most recent being 1995) and Essendon (2000).
- Most "wooden spoons" (Last placings): 29; St. Kilda (1897-1902, 1904, 1909, 1910, 1920, 1924, 1944, 1946, 1947-8, 1952, 1954-5, 1977, 1983-6, 1988, 2000).
- Most consecutive premierships: Collingwood, four, 1927-30.
- Most games won in a season: Essendon, 2000, 24 wins (and one loss).
- Most games played in a career: Michael Tuck (Hawthorn), 426 games.
- Most goals in a career: Tony Lockett (St Kilda/Sydney), 1,360 goals.
- 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)
- Traditional Rivals:
Melbourne vs Collingwood
- Local Derbies:
- Newer Rivals:
Melbourne vs Geelong
St Kilda vs Geelong
- Past Rivals:
St Kilda vs South Melbourne
Collingwood vs Fitzroy
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):
- Ron Barassi Junior
- Haydn Bunton Senior
- Roy Cazaly
- John Coleman
- Gordon Coventry
- Jack Dyer
- Graham Farmer
- Leigh Matthews
- John Nicholls
- Bob Pratt
- Dick Reynolds
- Bob Skilton
- Ted Whitten Senior
- Ian Stewart (added 1997)
- Gordon Coventry (1998)
- Peter Hudson (1999)
- Kevin Bartlett (2000)
- Barry Robran (2001)
- Bill Hutchison (2003)
- Jock McHale (2005)
Team of the Century
To celebrate the 100th season of the VFL/AFL, the "AFL Team of the Century" was named in 1996.
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.
- Australian Rules Football
- List of Australian Rules footballers
- List of Australian Football League premiers
- Brownlow Medal
- Coleman Medal
- 2005 AFL Finals Series
- Footy tipping
- AFL Premiership 2005 (Playstation 2 game)