Australian Football League

Full name Australian Football League
Home and away season 3rd week March - last Week of August
Pre-season Cup February to mid-March
Founded 1896
Colours Navy Blue Blue Red Red, White

Home and Away Ladder, AFL Finals System


2015 Minor Premiers

'2015 Premiers'

Andrew Demitriou

Adelaide Crows

Collingwood Magpies

The AFL is amidst its 115th season of competition. Collingwood are the reigning premiers and Hawthorn were the minor premiers. The Coleman Medalist for leading goal kicker was Joel Selwood and the Brownlow Medalist for best and fairest player was Gary Ablett Jr.


The New VFL (1897-1924)

The Victorian Football Association was in full stride come 1896, but eight of its clubs were interested in forming their own federation based on their dominance over the other VFA clubs. Carlton, Collingwood, Essendon, Fitzroy, Geelong, Melbourne, St. Kilda, and South Melbourne became the inaugural members of the Victorian Football League to start in 1897.

Absorption (1925-1986)

Despite various attempts prior to the start of the 1925 season, four clubs were admitted into the VFL. Footscray, Hawthorn, North Melbourne, and Richmond managed to be accepted from the VFA. Under the most challenging circumstances, North finally were brought in after a failed merger with Essendon in 1921 which had resulted in a loss of recruiting territory and thus sparked a rivalry among the clubs.

Contraction and a New Name (1987-2004)

While the 1987 season saw the addition of the Brisbane Bears, the Victorian state was having difficulties with clubs competing for recruiting territory off-the-field. This duly prompted the merger of several teams mostly inner-Melbourne, with the exception of Brisbane who absorbed parts of the Melbourne Demons in 1994. Just before the re-named Australian Foootball League resumed in 1990, Carlton and North Melbourne in 1989 had merged first. They were known as the Carlton Kangaroos and were successful in their early years. They had minor premierships in 1987, 1995, and 1998. They also went on to win two Grand Finals in 1994 and 1995. This included a stretch of seven appearances in eight years (1993-1996, 1998-2000). In addition, they had a third place ladder finish in 1998 and three successive back to back second place ladder finishes 1993-94, 1996-97, and 1999-2000. They never finished above fourth after that or reached a Grand Final before they un-merged in 2015.

For most of the next decade, the league would add then subtract one team. Adelaide would enter in 1991, then the Demons/Bears merger went about in 1994, and Fremantle then came the following season. In 1997, we saw the addition of Port Adelaide in response to the Sydney/St.Kilda merger. Finally, Richmond and Essendon merged for 1999 and won three straight Grand Finals, the first team in the modern era to win three consecutive flags though four clubs have come close including three out of four from Hawthorn.

Expansion (2005 and onward)

The league was at fifteen clubs at the start of Victorian contraction. Then there were twelve teams coming into 2004. That was until the league announced that a new team will be admitted in 2005 - in Melbourne of all places. Port Melboure would be a brand new club and the first of six and the only one in Victoria. After several failed experiment test games there, Hobart finally got it's AFL team in 2008 with a great attendance between Port Melbourne and Sydney in Round 12 the previous season. Then followed four seasons in a row of expansion. Next came the Gold Coast and then GWS in the2011 and 12 seasons. New Zeland got its first pair of teams in succeeding seasons - Auckland in 2013 and Wellington in 2014. Wellington, unlike their native rivals, did not arrive with a successful first game as it took a second regular season fixture the following season in 2013 to seal their existence. It seems that all the expansion clubs both currently and earlier in the modern era tend to see some partial success early on (within say six seasons) from finishing in the bottom three ladder positions.

It had been announced in the 2014 pre-season by North Carlton Football Club (the team's official name during the merger) that the team was looking to un-merge, putting any unconfirmed rumors to rest. The move was subsequently approved by the League office on June 1st and was expected to occur on September 2nd unless the club had qualified for the Finals. Unless the team made it at least to the Preliminary Finals, the move would be postponed from it's September 15th date for one full season to 2016. If the club had won the 2014 Grand Final it would be postponed at least three more seasons. It would also be confirmed that after seven seasons of competition, the Hobart Beagles would drop out of the competition to join the lower Tasmanian Football League to help with club finances instead of folding or merging. Hobart was refusing to allow for a merger while not wanting to fold, thus joining the TFL was opened as an alternative option. This eased the split of North Melbourne and Carlton as it wouldn't be necessary to add a twentieth team ​or merge two other existing clubs. However, when a team is established for the Northern Territory and a subsequent twenty club scheduling matrix is finalized, Hobart would be given first consideration to re-enter the competition, if it feels ready to continue at the sport's top flight. There were test matches played in Darwin and Alice Springs across 2015 as a part of the NT17 campaign to land a team in the Northern Territory by 2017, which appears that it would be instead be by 2018 and reorganized as NT18. The league did manage to prepare a franchise for Alice Springs late in 2017, but are expected to compete in 2018 despite the short turnaround. The Boomerangs will play at TIO-Traeger Park. It was also speculated that the National Australian Football League's Victoria River Eagles of Katharine would join, though this was disputed by the West Coast on grounds that no name change was well developed despite intent of VRFC. Victoria River has since discussed developing a larger entity club elsewhere to be a parent club following the inclusion of Alice Springs into the competition.

20 in 2020 & 22 in 2022

Though it appears that a Northern Territorial bid is coming along and pushing the reinclusion of Hobart, they may not be the teans that come in. It has been suggested that possibly in place of one of the aforementioned clubs be put on hold for another Sydney-based club. This was the reason GWS were brought into the AFL, following the departure of the Swans to merge with St. Kilda in the mid-90s.There has also been conversation into either un-merging inner-Melbourne clubs or adding new ones, sparked by the addition of Port Melbourne in 2005 then the un-merger of Carlton and North Melbourne. The biggest devolopment in this all was that the fate of the Canberra Bulldogs hung in the balance not having fully regained strength since before the merger more than a quarter century ago. Some have tried to suggest that no new team should go to the NT, but rather the Bulldogs. The league has made it a point to keep a team in the nation's capital through at least 2016, stating it would not want to lose the team in any capacity and that Canberra cannot afford to move again to prevent folding as far as brand identity is concerned for the club that has quite a rich history prior to the merge.


Team Colors Ground Founded Admitted Last Premiership Premierships Won Nickname


navy, gold, red AAMI Park 1990 1991 1993 1993 Crows Natus Ad Magna Gerenda ("Born to Great Things")
Alice Springs ANZAC Hill purple, Outback orange, desert gold TIO Traeger Park 2017 2018 - - - - - - - - Boomerangs

Ad Inceptum Tuum Radices ("Return to Your Roots")


orange, navy, sky

Eden Park 2012 2013 - - - - - - - - Sailfish A Via Vitae ("A Way of Life")
Brisbane crimson, blue, gold The Gabba 1859 1897 2004

2002, 2004

13 as Melbourne:

1900, 1926, 1939, 1940, 1941, 1948, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1959, 1960, 1964, 1987

Demons Vasa Legends ("The Stuff of Legends")



red, white, blue StarTrack Oval Canberra 1883 1897 1998

(As Fitzroy Bulldogs)


9 as Fitzroy Lions:

1898, 1899, 1904, 1905, 1913, 1916, 1922, 1944, 

1 as Footscray Bulldogs:


Bulldogs Tempus Postea ("No Time for Later")


Palman Qui Meruit Ferat (“Let Him Who Deserves the Palm of Victory Bear It”)


Cede Nullis ("Yield to None")

Carlton navy, white Etihad Stadium 1864 1897 1995*

1906, 1907, 1908, 1914, 1915, 1938, 1945, 1947, 1968, 1970, 1972, 1979, 1981, 1982, 1994*, 1995*


Mens Sana in Corpore Sano

(“A Sound Mind in a Healthy Body”)

​Carlton Kangaroos:

Liberum Esse Vexillum ("Free to Be the Standard")

Collingwood black, white Melbourne Cricket Ground 1892 1897 2015

1902, 1903, 1910, 1917, 1919, 1927, 1928, 1929, 1930, 1935, 1936, 1953, 1958, 2012, 2015

Magpies Floreat Pica ("May the Magpie Prosper")
Fremantle purple, white Domain Stadium 1994 1995 - - - - - - - - Dockers Nam ili Quidem Communis Hominis ("For the Common Man")
Geelong navy, white Simmonds Stadium 1859 1897 2014 1925, 1931, 1937, 1951, 1952, 1963, 1988, 1992, 2014 Cats A Ferocissimosque ad Arma Uocat ("A Call to Arms")
Gold Coast red, gold, white, blue Metricon Stadium 2009 2011 - - - - - - - - Suns Consurget in Uigilarum ("Rise in the Wake")
Greater Western Sydney orange, charcoal Spotless Stadium 2009 2012 - - - - - - - - Giants Think Big. Live Big. Play Big
Hawthorn gold, brown Melbourne Cricket Ground 1902 1925 2011 1961, 1971, 1976, 1978, 1983, 1986, 1989, 2008, 2010, 2011 Hawks Fugere Accipitres

Simul ("Hawks fly together")

Hobart brown, tan, white Blundstone Arena 2007 2008-2014 (to TFL) - - - - - - - - Beagles Ad Satiant Animam ("To Satisfy the Soul")
Launceston hunter green, pale, yellow, Launceston blue Aurora Stadium 2017 2019 - - - - - - - - Wolves ​Meruit Verbera Experti Sumus Nostro ("We've Earned Our Stripes)
North Melbourne blue, white Melbourne Cricket Ground 1869 1925 1995* 1975, 1977, 1994*, 1995* Kangaroos

Victoria Amat Curam ("Victory Demands Dedication")

Carlton Kangaroos:

Liberum Esse Vexillum ("Free to Be the Standard")

Port Adelaide black, teal, silver, white Adelaide Oval 1996 1997 2007 2003, 2007 Power Genus est Permanens ("Class is Permanent")
Port Melbourne navy, gold Etihad Stafium 2004 2005 - - - - - - - - Midshipmen Ad Mare Usqui ad Mare Lucens ("From Sea to Shining Sea")



black, gold, red Melbourne Cricket Ground 1871 1897 2001

1999, 2000, 2001

15 as Essendon Bombers:

1897, 1901, 1911, 1912, 1923, 1924, 1942, 1946, 1949, 1950, 1962, 1965, 1984, 1985, 1990

10 as Richmond Tigers:

1920, 1921, 1932, 1934, 1943, 1967, 1969, 1973, 1974, 1980


Sumus in Via ("We Are the Way")


Suaviter in Modo, Fortiter in Re (“Gently in Manner, Resolutely in Execution”)


St. Kilda


red, white, black Etihad Stadium 1873 1897 2009


1 as St. Kilda Saints:

1969, 1997

4 as Sydney Swans:

1906^, 1918^, 1933^, 1996


Este Fidelis Usqeu in Sempiternum ("Be Faithful Forever")

St Kilda:

Fortius Quo Fidelius ("Strength Through Loyalty")

South Melbourne/Sydney:

Aut Vincere Aut Mori ("Either to Conquer or to Die")


forest, lime, black

Westpac Stadium 2013 2014 - - - - - - - - Lizards Omnis Ambitio ("Every Ambition")
West Coast blue, orange, white WACA Ground 1986 1987 2013 1991, 1995, 1996, 2013 Eagles
Mundio Scio ("The World I Know")
  • Carlton and North Melbourne merged for 1987 and unmerged for 2015.
  • ^As South Melbourne Swans until 1982

Notable Fixtures

Intrastate Derbies

  • Kiwi Cup {interchangeable with Clash/Derby} (Auckland/Wellington)
  • Q-Clash (Brisbane/Gold Coast)
  • Showdown (Adelaide/Port Adelaide)
  • Western Derby (Fremantle/West Coast)

Special Ties

  • Anzac Day Round 4 (Collingwood/Richmond; Auckland or Wellington vs. other AFL team)
  • Dreamtime at the G Round 9 (Hawthorn/Richmond)
  • Queen's Birthday 2nd Mon. in June (Brisbane/Collingwood and/or Canberra/Carlton)