When the AFL was founded as the Victorian Football League (VFL) in 1897, it consisted of eight breakaway teams from the Victorian Football Association (VFA). Originally comprising only teams based in the Australian state of Victoria, the competition's name was changed to the Australian Football League for the 1990 season, after the AFL took over and relocated the former team of the South Melbourne Football Club to New South Wales and renamed it the Sydney Swans in 1982, the planned 1991 addition of the Adelaide Crows and the admission of teams from Western Australia (the West Coast Eagles) and Queensland (the Brisbane Bears) in 1987.
Many of the current AFL teams date back to the beginnings of the sport of Australian rules football, including the very first club, Melbourne Football Club (1859), a foundation VFL/AFL club whose founders also first codified the sport in 1859. The Victorian Football League, commonly known as the VFL, started in 1897 with eight teams from the Victorian Football Association (VFA): Carlton, Collingwood, Essendon, Fitzroy, Geelong, Melbourne, South Melbourne, and St Kilda. Richmond and University entered in 1908, but University disbanded in 1915. In 1925, Footscray (later known as the Western Bulldogs), Hawthorn and North Melbourne entered the competition. It remained in this 12-team single-state configuration until 1982 when South Melbourne relocated to Sydney, New South Wales, to become the Sydney Swans.
The next phase of national expansion occurred in 1987, with the introduction of the West Coast Eagles from Western Australia and the Brisbane Bears from Queensland. The league was renamed the Australian Football League in 1990 to reflect the expanded nature of the competition. South Australia was first represented in 1991 when the Adelaide Football Club joined the league. The Fremantle Football Club joined as the second WA team in 1995. After the 1996 season the Brisbane Bears merged with Fitzroy, creating the Brisbane Lions in 1996 and the Port Adelaide Football Club joined to maintain the league at 16 teams. Port Adelaide is the only club recently admitted to the AFL to have formed from an existing club, the Port Adelaide Magpies in the South Australian National Football League (SANFL). During the 2008 season, North Melbourne (renamed to the Kangaroos in 2000), voted to relocate to the Gold Coast by the beginng of 2009, prompted by lacklustre economic and on-field performance, but it wasn't until the 2008-09 off season in which the AFL finally accepted the proposal.
List of Clubs
|Adelaide||Crows||Adelaide, South Australia||Adelaide Oval|
|Brisbane Lions||Lions||Brisbane, Queensland||The Gabba|
|Carlton||Blues||Melbourne, Victoria||Docklands Stadium|
|Collingwood||Magpies||Melbourne, Victoria||Melbourne Cricket Ground|
|Essendon||Bombers||Melbourne, Victoria||Docklands Stadium|
|Fremantle||Dockers||Fremantle, Western Australia||Subiaco Oval|
|Geelong||Cats||Geelong, Victoria||Kardinia Park|
|Gold Coast||Kangaroos||Gold Coast, Queensland||Carrara Stadium|
|Hawthorn||Hawks||Melbourne, Victoria||Melbourne Cricket Ground|
|Melbourne||Demons||Melbourne, Victoria||Melbourne Cricket Ground|
|Port Adelaide||Power||Adelaide, South Australia||Adelaide Oval|
|Richmond||Tigers||Melbourne, Victoria||Melbourne Cricket Ground|
|St Kilda||Saints||Melbourne, Victoria||Docklands Stadium|
|Sydney Swans||Swans||Sydney, New South Wales||Sydney Cricket Ground|
|West Coast Eagles||Eagles||Perth, Western Australia||Subiaco Oval|
|Western Bulldogs||Bulldogs||Melbourne, Victoria||Docklands Stadium|