I am glad you agree. I mean even going back to 1980. There were only 12 teams in the competition, two of which have now relocated. Not to mention zones which distorted the competition massively. It was also an era where it was not a full time job, and all the less talented players needed jobs outside of the sport, and even many of the bigger named players needed jobs outside the sport.Totally agree with you even though I'm going against some fellow Tiger posters.
In my opinion anything from 1990 which was the official date of the AFL should be counted. Prior to that it wasn't even full professional let alone a national comp.
I understand the VFL was the foundation league but fu** me dead how can you compare a team that won a flag with 15 to 17 other teams in a full professional & national league with compromised drafts + salary cap to a 6 to 8 team comp with open wallets & some years of round robins during the wars & great depression.
Its actually laughable.
Since 1980 the competition became national, not just a local Victorian league, all the best players now come to the AFL, rather than many of them staying in Western Australia or South Australia. There has been the introduction of a draft so teams in good zones don't just dominate the competition and importantly now every player that is drafted in the AFL is a full time professional who does not need a second job.
1980 VFL was essentially amateur even compared to 10 years later, and especially 40 years later.
1990 is the changing of the guard, the moment where the AFL was able to become the most popular team sport in the country. Had the VFL stayed like it was 40 or 50 years ago chances are other sports would have wiped Australian Football out.