The 1997 AFL Premiership season was the 101st annual VFL/AFL season contested between the sixteen teams of the AFL league, and was won by the third place Western Bulldogs following the 1997 Grand Final.
The first season following the merger of the Fitzroy and Brisbane football clubs to form the Brisbane Lions, the 1997 premiership season was one of the closest modern seasons in league history. With five rounds remaining, only three wins separated first placed Geelong (11 wins) and 13th placed Hawthorn (8 wins). St Kilda won the Minor Premiership with 15 wins and 7 losses; however, the competition was won by the Western Bulldogs who had come third after the home-and-away season, with 14 wins and 8 losses.
Six year Geelong coach and former-North Melbourne half forward Malcolm Blight replaced Robert Shaw as coach of the Adelaide Crows, lifting the team from 12th on the ladder in the previous season to 4th.
Prior to the beginning of the season, the Footscray Bulldogs changed the official club name to the Western Bulldogs.
Following a poor showing in the mid-season, Richmond coach Robert Walls was replaced with the former Footscray defender, Jeff Gieschen.
Following the folding of the Fitzroy Lions, the Port Adelaide Power was made able to make the transition into the AFL under SANFL coach John Cahill, the only team to make such a transition from a league outside the state of Victoria and the original VFL. They ultimately ended up in 9th position.
The Western Bulldogs played their final game at the Whitten Oval in Round 21 against the West Coast Eagles, winning by three goals.
With 15 wins, 7 losses and a percentage of 119.60, St Kilda where the 1997 Minor Premiers on top of the ladder.
With 4 wins and 18 losses, the Melbourne Football Club finished the season with the wooden spoon.
St Kilda player Robert Harvey, despite having one less vote than the Western Bulldogs forward Chris Grant, ultimately won the league's award for the seasons best-and-fairest; the Brownlow Medal, due to the fact that Grant had been made ineligible for the award following a one match suspension earlier in the year.
With 81 goals at the end of the home-and-away season, Adelaide full forward Tony Modra won the season's Coleman Medal.