Brief History Of Australian Football
origin of this distinctive game is not clear, though
a game vaguely resembling football was played in
Melbourne as early as the 1840's.
theory is that it originated from an Aboriginal
game, whilst others believe it may have been modelled
on Gaelic Football. Historians such as Geoffrey
Blainey have disputed the latter theory on the
grounds that there is evidence that the Australian
game predates the Irish one.
believes that Australian Rules Football was a colonial
Australian invention which blended Soccer and
Rugby and added some nuances of its own.
its origins, Australian Football has evolved dramatically
during the course
of its history and is still seeing innovations introduced
on a regular basis.
the 1850's a few football teams formed in
Victoria, originally to keep cricketers fit
during the off season. The 1859 season saw
standardised rules being introduced and the
following season saw the exclusive use of an oval
1877 the game had evolved considerably and
the Victorian Football Association was formed
with the following teams.
Park (later South Melbourne, then Sydney)
Hotham (later North Melbourne),
VFA took control of the rules and organised Intercolonial
matches, with the game flourishing in Western
Australia, Tasmania, South Australia
and even for a time, New Zealand. It was
unsuccessful however, in establishing the game in
New South Wales, Queensland, or the home country,
1896 dissatisfaction with the way the competition
was being run led to the formation of the breakaway
Victorian Football League, made up of teams
in the vicinity of metropolitan Melbourne.
This league, which became the dominant force in
football and ultimately evolved into the national
competition, was made up of the following teams.
(initial 1897 season)
1908 Richmond and University joined
the competition, but after a demoralising 51 consecutive
losses, University was absorbed by Melbourne at
the end of the 1914 season.
1925 Hawthorn, North Melbourne and Footscray
entered the competition and it retained that 12
team format for 57 years.
1982 the VFL competition, easily the most
wealthy in Australia, began its expansion into the
other states. The financially strapped South Melbourne
club was transplanted into Sydney and renamed the
was followed in 1987 by the creation of a
Queensland club, the Brisbane Bears, and a Western
Australian club, the West Coast Eagles.
saw the VFL finally change its name to reflect its
growing national character, becoming the Australian
saw the creation of an Adelaide club, the Adelaide
1995, a second Western Australian team, the
Fremantle Dockers, was added to the competition.
saw the ailing Fitzroy team merged with (or
more accurately absorbed by) the Brisbane Bears,
who changed their name to the Brisbane Lions
to reflect the deal.
in 1997 a second South Australian team, Port
Adelaide Power, were admitted to the competition,
bringing us to the current 16 team AFL structure.
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