Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Version 1.5 Part 2 of 4 Last Updated: 12 January 1998

The first HTML Version (1.5) was modified by Darryl Harvey - 12 January 1998 and was based on original work by Adam East at the University of Western Australia

What is the Australian Football League ?

The Australian Football League or AFL is the national league for Australian Rules Football in Australia. It consists of 16 clubs that compete in a regular competition. The AFL is also used sometimes to denote the AFL Commission.

How did the AFL start ?

Eight clubs formed the Victorian Football League on 2 Oct 1896. These clubs (Carlton, Collingwood, Essendon, Fitzroy, Geelong, Melbourne, South Melbourne and St Kilda) formed the basis of the league, with further teams joining in later years. By 1925 Victoria boasted a 12 team competition widely acknowledged as the strongest state league in Australia. Known as the VFL it remained in this format until 1982, when the South Melbourne Football Club relocated to Sydney,NSW. A new era of expansion came as more teams were admitted, however, these teams were from other states than Victoria. The VFL changed its name in 1990 to become the Australian Football League (AFL).

Why did the VFL admit interstate teams and expand ?

Despite the success of the VFL, many teams were suffering financially. Much of this is blamed on "cheque-book recruiting", that is where teams attempted to buy successful players from other teams in the VFL or playing in other states. This lead to many clubs being technically bankrupt, with some being investigated by the Department of Corporate Affairs. In addition, crowds were falling, as were club memberships. Transfer fees were excessive and the competition was operating at a loss, whilst ground facilities were falling into disrepair. The new teams provided income to save the failing Victorian teams by firstly paying substantial licence fees to join the competition, and secondly by providing increased income from television rights. The money from these two areas helped refinance the teams in the VFL.

Why did the VFL change its name to the AFL ?

In admitting the inter-state teams, the view of the direction of the VFL changed. This is best summed up in the first underlying principle of the AFL's 5 year plan. "... we take a national view of football, simply not an expanded VFL view. The AFL emerged from the VFL and a Victorian focus was inevitable given the beginning. This plan, however, is based on the view that football followers throughout Australia are of equal importance." Hence the VFL became the AFL to reflect the change in focus from just Victoria, to Australia as a whole.

Who runs the Australian Football League ?

On December 4, 1985, the then VFL Board of Directors resolved to appoint a Commission with specific powers to administer the competition. The Commission was entrusted with the powers of the League, but required explicit approval by the League (teams) for major items, such as further Expansion, Mergers, Relocations, Major Capital Works and similar items. On August 11, 1992 the AFL Board of Directors recommended an independent review of the AFL structure. On March 1,1993 Mr David Crawford of KPMG Peat Marwick presented his report to the AFL Board of Directors and Commission. On July 19, 1993 the Board of Directors approved a new Memorandum and Articles of Association for the AFL , reflecting the recommendations of the Crawford Report. These being :

Commissioners - up to 8 commissioners be appointed
Chairman - appointed by Commission and not being the CEO, to Chair meetings of the Commission, as well as those between the Commission and the Clubs, and to act as a sounding board for the CEO.
Chief Executive Officer - appointed by Commission, must be a commissioner. Role is to : be responsible for operating performance of the AFL, for implementation of Commission policy, being the public face of the commission.
Admission, Relocation or Merger of Clubs - AFL Commission has power to do all three. Can be reversed by 2/3rds majority of clubs within 14 days of decision. Three clubs required to call for meeting to vote on reversal of decision. Clubs cannot be merged unless relevant parties agree first.
Expulsion of Clubs - Commission can suspend or expel clubs but the decision must be ratified by a simple majority of clubs.
Other Powers - all powers to run AFL transferred to AFL Commission and AFL Board of Directors abolished.


The current AFL Commission is :

John Kennedy (Chairman)
Wayne Jackson (Chief Executive Officer)
Colin Carter
Terry O'Connor
Ron Evans
Graeme Samuel
David Shaw
Craig Kimberley

What Teams are part of the AFL ?

For full team details see section 4.0.

     Admitted     Team                Logo (Current)
      1897        Carlton             Blues
                  Collingwood         Magpies
                  Essendon            Bombers
                  Fitzroy             Lions
                  Geelong             Cats
                  Melbourne           Demons
                  South Melbourne     Swans (Relocated in 1982)
                  St Kilda            Saints
      1908        Richmond            Tigers
                  University          Students (Disbanded 1914)
      1925        Footscray           Bulldogs
                  Hawthorn            Hawks
                  North Melbourne     Kangaroos
      1982        Sydney              Swans  (ex South Melbourne)
      1987        Brisbane            Bears
                  West Coast          Eagles
      1991        Adelaide            Crows
      1995        Fremantle           Dockers
      1996        Brisbane            Lions  (Fitzroy Lions amp&; Brisbane Bears Merged)
      1997        Port Adeliade       Power

When is the AFL season played ?

Games usually start in the Premiership season in the last weekend of March, and continue through until the end of August. The Finals then Start, culminating in the Grand FInal being played on the last Saturday in September. A pre-season knock-out competition (the Ansett Australia Cup) with the majority of games being held as night fixtures is played in late February to the last week before the Regular Season Games are played. (1995 Ansett Australia Cup will be played from 24 Feb to 25 Mar 1995) Exhibition games are sometimes played overseas after the Grand Final. Actual games are played on Friday nights, Saturday afternoons and Sunday afternoons. Some Saturday and Sunday evening matches are being scheduled to cater for the increased number of matches in 1995. Games are occasionally scheduled on Monday afternoons on Public Holidays.

How is the draw for the season determined ?

Each team plays 22 games in the regular (or Home and Away) Season. The majority of teams will play 11 games at home, and 11 games at away venues. The League for the purposes of scheduling games for the next season is split into 2 divisions, being the top and bottom eight teams (expansion team Fremantle is considered team number 16). Each team will play the teams in their division twice, whilst playing those in the other division once. There are some exceptions due to the AFL policy of maximising the number of potentially large audience games, such as West Coast vs Fremantle derbies.

How is the Premiership Ladder worked out ?

The weekly results of games produce a Premiership ladder. The top eight teams at the end of the 22 Home and Away Games go through to the finals.The final 1994 Ladder was:

       Team             P  W  L  D     F     A      %       Points
      WEST COAST       22 16  6  -   2078  1572   132.9      64
      CARLTON          22 15  7  -   2351  1774   132.5      60
      NORTH MELBOURNE  22 13  9  -   2383  1848   129.0      52
      GEELONG          22 13  9  -   2403  2104   114.2      52
      FOOTSCRAY        22 13  9  -   2106  1905   110.6      52
      HAWTHORN         22 13  9  -   2188  2005   109.1      52
      MELBOURNE        22 12 10  -   2190  1879   116.6      48
      COLLINGWOOD      22 12 10  -   2017  2019    99.9      48
      Richmond         22 12 10  -   2033  2167    93.8      48
      Essendon         22 11 11  -   2075  2119    97.9      44
      Adelaide         22  9 12  1   1876  2159    86.9      38
      Brisbane         22  9 13  -   1940  2195    88.4      36
      St Kilda         22  7 14  1   1809  2415    74.9      30
      Fitzroy          22  5 17  -   1726  2456    70.3      20
      Sydney           22  4 18  -   1987  2545    78.1      16

The ladder indicates the number of games played (P), the number of games won (W), lost (L) or drawn (D) and the Premiership Points the team has (Points). A team receives 4 points for a win and 2 points for a draw. This is the first way that teams are ranked on the ladder (according to Premiership Points). If teams have the same number of points , then the teams are ranked according to their percentage (%). The percentage is the average percentage of the oppositions score that the team makes. (e.g. a team with a percentage of 200.0 would double the oppositions score on average, a team with a percentage of 50.0 would only score half of what the opposition team does.) The percentage is worked out by taking the total points the team has scored (F) in the season to date, and dividing it by the total points that the opposition teams have scored in games against that team to date (A), and then multiplying the result by 100. The two points totals are referred to as the For and Against Points respectively.

View the current Ladder

How do the Finals work ?

The top eight teams after the regular season go through to the finals. The ranking of teams according to how they finished the season and then which Finals games they have won is all important. The McIntyre Final Eight System was introduced in 1994 and operates as follows:


First weekend - 4 games (played either Friday night, Saturday, Saturday night, Sunday or Sunday night.)
- At least one game to be played at the MCG, other venues to be determined
- Games to be played in sequence
1st Qualifying Final Fourth vs Fifth
2nd Qualifying Final Third vs Sixth
3rd Qualifying Final Second vs Seventh
4th Qualifying Final First vs Eigth

After Qualifying Finals, teams are ranked as follows :
The first or highest ranked winner is designated......Winner 1 (Bye)
The 2nd or 2nd highest ranking winner is designated...Winner 2 (Bye)
The 3rd or 3rd highest ranking winner is designated...Winner 3
The 4th or 4th highest ranking winner is designated...Winner 4
The first or highest ranking loser is designated......Loser 1
The 2nd or 2nd highest ranking loser is designated....Loser 2


Second Weekend - 2 games - One played at MCG, other venue to be determined.
1st Semi Final Winner 4 vs Loser 2
2nd Semi Final Winner 3 vs Loser 1

The two losing teams from the semi finals are eliminated.
The two winning teams advance to the Preliminary Finals played on the 3rd weekend.


Third Weekend - 2 games - One played at the MCG, other venue to be determined.


Fourth Weekend - 1 game - Game played at MCG

Tied Finals Games

How do the teams acquire players ?

There are several ways in which teams can acquire players, but the system is heavily regulated to foster the strengthening of weaker teams. The major ways of being registered with an AFL team are as follows:

The National Draft

A draft compulsory for teams to participate (for at least two picks - more are available if a greater number of players have been delisted after the end of the season). Players eligible to be drafted must be 17 YO or older by the 1st Jan of the following year and:

The Pre-Season Draft

A non-compulsory draft for AFL clubs. Is primarily used for the transferral of players previously delisted from AFL clubs. To be eligible to be drafted in the Pre-Season Draft a player must:

Pre-Draft Trading

for a week sometime prior to the National Draft, teams can trade players as well as Draft Picks in the National Draft.

The Father/Son Rule

A club can select a player if his Father:

Free Agency

Such as when a player comes out of contract usually requires a player to be picked up in the Pre-Season Draft, however, he has the rights to specify his required financial terms and conditions which a drafting club must meet.


Other Australian Football Leagues

What other leagues exist ?

Each state has its own elite level of competition. As stated previously, the VFL, which was the strongest competition, has expanded and become the AFL, however, the previous VFL Reserves competition has now become the Victorian State Football League (VSFL), which renamed itself Victorian Football League (VFL) for this season. There are two other leagues which have provided the majority of non-Victorian players. These are Westar Rules (the former Western Australian Football League (WAFL)) based in Western Australia, and the South Australian National Football League (SANFL) based in South Australia. ("National football" and "Victorian Rules" were archaic names for Aussie Rules.) Contact addresses for each of these leagues as well as the other state leagues are provided below:

South Australian National Football League (SANFL)

       Mr L. Whicker  (General Manager)
       South Australian National Football League
       GPO Box 1
       West Lakes
       SA 5021
SANFL currently has 9 teams, being:
Central Districts
North Adelaide
Port Adelaide
South Adelaide
West Adelaide
Woodville-West Torrens Eagles (2 recently merged clubs)

Westar Rules

       Mr J. Ovens  (Chief Executive)
       Western Australian Football League (Inc)
       PO Box 275
       WA  6008
WAFL currently has 9 teams, being:
East Fremantle
East Perth
South Fremantle
Swan Districts
West Perth (recently relocated to Joondalup)

Australian Capital Territory Australian Football League (ACTAFL)

       Mr S. Dobbie (General Manager)
       ACT Australian Football League
       PO Box 364
       ACT  2606

New South Wales Australian Football League (NSWAFL)

       Mr C. Davis  (General Manager)
       NSW Australian Football League
       PO Box 333
       Strawberry Hills
       NSW  2012

Northern Territory Football League (NTFL)

       Mr H. Johns  (General Manager)
       Northern Territory Football League
       PO Box NTFL 1
       NT  0811

Queensland Australian Football League (QAFL)

       Mr P. Cummiskey  (General Manager)
       Queensland Australian Football League (Inc)
       PO Box 1211
       Coorparoo DC
       Qld  4151

Tasmanian Football League (TFL)

       Mr B. Breen  (General Manager)
       Statewide Tasmanian Football League
       GPO Box 427E
       Tas  7001

Victorian Football League (VFL)

       Mr Ken Gannon  (General Manager)
       Victorian State Football League
       GPO Box 1449N
       Vic  3001

Other helpful addresses :

Australian Football League

         GPO Box 1449N                         MCG
         Melbourne                             Brunton Avenue
         Vic  3001                             Jolimont, Vic, 3002

         Telephone: (03) 654 1244
         Media Dept. Fax: (03) 650 3189

National Australian Football Council (NAFC)

         Mr E. Biggs  (Executive Officer)
         National Australian Football Council
         120 Jolimont Road
         Vic  3002

Non-Australian Australian Football Leagues

The AFL provides financial or practical assistance to Leagues in Britain, Canada, Denmark, Japan and New Zealand. Respective details of several of these leagues are:

British Australian Rules Football League (BARFL)

               Greg Everett / BARFL
               c/o The Redback Club
               264 Acton High Street
               Acton W3 9BH
               Telephone/Fax: 081 752 1823 
        Intl: +44 181 752 1823

Canadian Australian Football Association (CAFA)

         Andrew Lonsborough (League President)
         Phone: (416) 926-5759

Season runs from end of May to start of October, for 14 rounds (play each other teams twice and 2 byes.) Final Four system is used for finals.

Games held on Saturdays, at one of two grounds;
Centennial Park, Etobicoke (CAFA Main Oval)
Mohawk Park, Hamilton (Hamilton Team home oval)

Hamilton home games begin at 11AM. Two games every Saturday at Centennial Park, 8.30 AM and 10.30 AM.

Japan Australian Football Association (JAFA)

          Takashi Kariya (JAFA Coordinator)


Christchurch Australian Rules Football League (CARFL) New Zealand

          c/- Simon Kinniburgh
          ph. 64-3-325-3180

Probability of an Aussie Rules 'Super League"

The Australian Rugby League has undergone massive upheaval as a corporation (News Ltd) has attempted to start a new Rubgy League competition - the Super League, by offering massive contracts to Rugby League players. Massive division has resulted with a threatened expulsion of teams from the ARL, and threatened extinction of others. News Ltd's motivation is in broadcasting this Super League over its Pay-TV empire. (News Ltd's Head Rupert Murdoch has already done this in the US with the NFL, and in the UK with the Premier League.) There is mounting speculation that the AFL may be the next target for a 'Super League'.

This is unlikely for many reasons:
a) Australian Rules Football is very much a tribal game - the allegiances are to your specific team.
b) Teams leaving the AFL can't use their Name, Logo, Uniform,etc for two years afterwards - the AFL retains these rights.
c) The AFL has *exclusive* playing licenses for practically all major Football grounds in the country.
d) Murdoch already has part control of the Seven Network that broadcasts AFL games.
e) AFL doesn't have the broad International Appeal on Pay-TV that would justify the massive expenditure of setting a Super League up.
f) AFL teams receive much higher dividends from the AFL than in the similar ARL cases ($1.4 million cf. to $400,000).
g) Player contracts revert to the AFL if a team happens to leave the League (originally in place to protect players should a team fold).


To Part 1 of the FAQ
To Part 3 of the FAQ
To Part 4 of the FAQ

Previous PageEmail me
Curator: Darryl Harvey email: {}
Last Updated: 12 January 1998
This site is sponsored by Footy Tipping Software