Should the AFL get rid of VFL Premierships and only count AFL?

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Boston tiger

Norm Smith Medallist
May 10, 2010
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Look on the bright side, Richmond would be closer to the top of the tree if they were only counted from 1990 onwards.

I thought anything to make Richmond seem better would be a good thing.
There is no tree. There is no prize. Just count your premierships from when you join the comp. It’s not hard.
 

Windhover

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Mar 16, 2010
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There are 3 possibilities.

1. We apply a historical approach and note that from 1897 to date there has been an Aussie Rules competition which has changed over time with different teams, different rules but can be traced continuously, year on year, back to the VFL which started in 1897.

The purpose of history is to understand what is relevant in the past that informs the present. The fact that some teams have joined and some teams have departed, the fact that the rules have altered, considerably, the fact that the way the game is played now is almost unrecognisable from its form even 20 years ago does not change the steady fact that the VFL/AFL has been a continuous competition from year to year back to 1897.

If you want to know, historically, how many flags have been won by any particular team in that continuous competition then it is necessary to count up all the flags won since 1897.

2. We ignore history. We arbitrarily start counting premierships from 1990 because that is when the competition changed its name from VFL to AFL. Or we arbitrarily start counting from 2012 when the most recent team joined the competition (and will have to start counting anew if/when another team joins the competition. Or we arbitrarily start counting from when the rules last changed since "the game" as played by the current rules is what is important right. (I assume that there will be rule changes before 2020 and on this counting method every club has won zero flags!).

3. We ignore all of the above and select a date to start counting that places our own club in the best possible light (coincidentally or not 1 and 3 give me the same result:)).

But the question "How many flags has team X won in this competition?" is an historical question. History answers it one way.
 

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Back One Out

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Mar 2, 2015
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Only including AFL stats about flags would make them far more relevant, interesting and meaningful...
But we can't have that, can we? Lets all pretend that Carlton are the equal most successful AFL club in history and not think any more about it.
Where do we start counting from?



From 1982 when the Swans moved to Sydney and live footy on TV commenced...

9 - Hawthorn
8 -
7 -
6 -
5 -
4 - West Coast, Essendon
3 - Geelong, Brisbane, Carlton
2 - Richmond, Sydney, Collingwood, North Melb, Adelaide
1 - W.Bulldogs, Port Adelaide
0 - St Kilda, Melbourne, Fremantle, Gold Coast, GWS, Bears, Fitzroy





From 1987 when the comp "went national" with expansion teams, West Coast & Brisbane
(plus the introduction of the salary cap and the national draft)

7 - Hawthorn
6 -
5 -
4 - West Coast
3 - Geelong, Brisbane
2 - Richmond, Sydney, Collingwood, Essendon, North Melb, Adelaide, Carlton
1 - W.Bulldogs, Port Adelaide
0 - St Kilda, Melbourne, Fremantle, Gold Coast, GWS, Bears, Fitzroy





From 1990 when the league changed the logos on it's letterhead

5 - Hawthorn
4 - West Coast
3 - Geelong, Brisbane
2 - Richmond, Sydney, Collingwood, Essendon, North Melb, Adelaide
1 - W.Bulldogs, Port Adelaide, Carlton
0 - St Kilda, Melbourne, Fremantle, Gold Coast, GWS, Bears, Fitzroy






From 1991 when a team from South Australia finally joined the comp

5 - Hawthorn
4 - West Coast
3 - Geelong, Brisbane
2 - Richmond, Sydney, Essendon, North Melb, Adelaide
1 - W.Bulldogs, Collingwood, Port Adelaide, Carlton
0 - St Kilda, Melbourne, Fremantle, Gold Coast, GWS, Bears, Fitzroy






From 1994 when the AFL moved to a "final 8" system

4 - Hawthorn
3 - West Coast, Geelong, Brisbane
2 - Richmond, Sydney, North Melb, Adelaide
1 - W.Bulldogs, Collingwood, Port Adelaide, Essendon, Carlton
0 - St Kilda, Melbourne, Fremantle, Gold Coast, GWS, Bears, Fitzroy





From 1995 when Fremantle joined the comp

4 - Hawthorn
3 - Geelong, Brisbane
2 - Richmond, West Coast, Sydney, North Melb, Adelaide
1 - W.Bulldogs, Collingwood, Port Adelaide, Essendon, Carlton
0 - St Kilda, Melbourne, Fremantle, Gold Coast, GWS, Bears, Fitzroy





From 1997 when Fitzroy was shafted, Brisbane became the Lions and Port Adelaide joined the comp

4 - Hawthorn
3 - Geelong, Brisbane
2 - Richmond, West Coast, Sydney, Adelaide
1 - W.Bulldogs, Collingwood, Port Adelaide, Essendon, North Melb
0 - Carlton, St Kilda, Melbourne, Fremantle, Gold Coast, GWS





From 2011 when the expansion team from Gold Coast joined the comp

3 - Hawthorn
2 - Richmond
1 - West Coast, W.Bulldogs, Sydney, Geelong
0 - Collingwood, Port Adelaide, Brisbane, Essendon, North Melb, Adelaide, Carlton, St Kilda, Melbourne, Fremantle, Gold Coast, GWS





From 2012 when the Greater Western Sydney Giants joined the comp

3 - Hawthorn
2 - Richmond
1 - West Coast, W.Bulldogs, Sydney
0 - Geelong, Collingwood, Port Adelaide, Brisbane, Essendon, North Melb, Adelaide, Carlton, St Kilda, Melbourne, Fremantle, Gold Coast, GWS






Maybe we should wait until Tasmania finally gets their own team?
Only then, we can truly have a fair premiership tally for all clubs.

0 - Richmond, West Coast, W.Bulldogs, Hawthorn, Sydney, Geelong, Collingwood, Port Adelaide, Brisbane, Essendon, North Melb, Adelaide, Carlton, St Kilda, Melbourne, Fremantle, Gold Coast, GWS





Or how about we just count the premierships from the first year of the competition (1897) up to the most recent (2019) ?
That way we include every club's entire history in this league.

You don't have look at the other clubs if you don't care about their history.
Just focus on the West Coast Eagles if that's what makes you happy.

16 - Essendon, Carlton
15 - Collingwood
14 -
13 - Hawthorn
12 - Richmond, Melbourne
11 -
10 -
_9 - Geelong
_8 - Fitzroy
_7 -
_6 -
_5 - Sydney/S.M.
_4 - West Coast, North Melb
_3 - Brisbane
_2 - W.Bulldogs, Adelaide
_1 - Port Adelaide, St Kilda
_0 - Fremantle, Gold Coast, GWS, Bears, University
 
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Father Jack

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Where do we start counting from?



From 1982 when the Swans went to Sydney and live footy on TV commenced...

9 - Hawthorn
8 -
7 -
6 -
5 -
4 - West Coast, Essendon
3 - Geelong, Brisbane, Carlton
2 - Richmond, Sydney, Collingwood, North Melb, Adelaide
1 - W.Bulldogs, Port Adelaide
0 - St Kilda, Melbourne, Fremantle, Gold Coast, GWS, Bears, Fitzroy





From 1987 when the comp "went national" with expansion teams from Perth & Brisbane
(plus the introduction of the salary cap and the national draft)

7 - Hawthorn
6 -
5 -
4 - West Coast
3 - Geelong, Brisbane
2 - Richmond, Sydney, Collingwood, Essendon, North Melb, Adelaide, Carlton
1 - W.Bulldogs, Port Adelaide
0 - St Kilda, Melbourne, Fremantle, Gold Coast, GWS, Bears, Fitzroy





From 1990 when the league changed the logos on it's letterhead

5 - Hawthorn
4 - West Coast
3 - Geelong, Brisbane
2 - Richmond, Sydney, Collingwood, Essendon, North Melb, Adelaide
1 - W.Bulldogs, Port Adelaide, Carlton
0 - St Kilda, Melbourne, Fremantle, Gold Coast, GWS, Bears, Fitzroy





From 1991 when a team from South Australia finally joined the comp

5 - Hawthorn
4 - West Coast
3 - Geelong, Brisbane
2 - Richmond, Sydney, Essendon, North Melb, Adelaide
1 - W.Bulldogs, Collingwood, Port Adelaide, Carlton
0 - St Kilda, Melbourne, Fremantle, Gold Coast, GWS, Bears, Fitzroy





From 1994 when the AFL moved to a "final 8" system

4 - Hawthorn
3 - West Coast, Geelong, Brisbane
2 - Richmond, Sydney, North Melb, Adelaide
1 - W.Bulldogs, Collingwood, Port Adelaide, Essendon, Carlton
0 - St Kilda, Melbourne, Fremantle, Gold Coast, GWS, Bears, Fitzroy




From 1995 when an expansion team from Fremantle joined the comp

4 - Hawthorn
3 - Geelong, Brisbane
2 - Richmond, West Coast, Sydney, North Melb, Adelaide
1 - W.Bulldogs, Collingwood, Port Adelaide, Essendon, Carlton
0 - St Kilda, Melbourne, Fremantle, Gold Coast, GWS, Bears, Fitzroy




From 1997 when Fitzroy was shafted, Brisbane was rebranded as the Lions and Port Adelaide joined the comp

4 - Hawthorn
3 - Geelong, Brisbane
2 - Richmond, West Coast, Sydney, Adelaide
1 - W.Bulldogs, Collingwood, Port Adelaide, Essendon, North Melb
0 - Carlton, St Kilda, Melbourne, Fremantle, Gold Coast, GWS





From 2011 when the expansion team from Gold Coast joined the comp

3 - Hawthorn
2 - Richmond
1 - West Coast, W.Bulldogs, Sydney, Geelong
0 - Collingwood, Port Adelaide, Brisbane, Essendon, North Melb, Adelaide, Carlton, St Kilda, Melbourne, Fremantle, Gold Coast, GWS





From 2012 when the Greater Western Sydney Giants joined the comp

3 - Hawthorn
2 - Richmond
1 - West Coast, W.Bulldogs, Sydney
0 - Geelong, Collingwood, Port Adelaide, Brisbane, Essendon, North Melb, Adelaide, Carlton, St Kilda, Melbourne, Fremantle, Gold Coast, GWS






Or maybe we should wait until Tasmania finally gets their own team?
Only then, we can truly have a fair premiership tally for all clubs.

0 - Richmond, West Coast, W.Bulldogs, Hawthorn, Sydney, Geelong, Collingwood, Port Adelaide, Brisbane, Essendon, North Melb, Adelaide, Carlton, St Kilda, Melbourne, Fremantle, Gold Coast, GWS





How about we just count the premierships from the first year of the competition (1897) up to the most recent (2019) ?
That way we include every club's entire history in this league.

You don't have look at other clubs if you don't care about their history.
Just focus on the West Coast Eagles, if that's what makes you happy.

16 - Essendon, Carlton
15 - Collingwood
14 -
13 - Hawthorn
12 - Richmond, Melbourne
11 -
10 -
_9 - Geelong
_8 - Fitzroy
_7 -
_6 -
_5 - Sydney/South Melb
_4 - West Coast, North Melb
_3 - Brisbane,
_2 - W.Bulldogs, Adelaide
_1 - Port Adelaide, St Kilda
_0 - Fremantle, Gold Coast, GWS, Bears, University
I think 1990 is the date that makes the most sense, plus it's the year that the league itself recognised that it had changed to the point where a name-change was in order.
 

PostPaolo

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Sep 4, 2013
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From 1987 when the comp "went national" with expansion teams, West Coast & Brisbane
(plus the introduction of the salary cap and the national draft)

7 - Hawthorn
6 -
5 -
4 - West Coast
3 - Geelong, Brisbane
2 - Richmond, Sydney, Collingwood, Essendon, North Melb, Adelaide, Carlton
1 - W.Bulldogs, Port Adelaide
0 - St Kilda, Melbourne, Fremantle, Gold Coast, GWS, Bears, Fitzroy

I've felt that the most important year was 1987 when the Bears and Eagles entered the comp. I understand an argument for 1982 when South Melbourne became Sydney, but with two teams starting from scratch 1987 seems right, rather than 1982. The league was the same from 1987-1989 as it was in 1990 other then a commercial branding change.
 

Virgin Dog

Norm Smith Medallist
Oct 29, 2017
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Everyone is going to have different opinions on the subject, and there are so many dates we can theoretically cut things off.

The only thing I am sure of is that the constant pissing contest that arises from some fans bringing up "16 flags" reeks of insecurity, and is not anywhere close to a true reflection of how successful a club is.
  • Richmond can be proud of being the largest club from a membership perspective, and having achieved recent success.
  • Hawks can be proud of being the undisputed most successful team in AFL history.
  • West Coast can be proud for having such a strong record since joining, especially given they fight an uphill battle against a Vic-centric competition.
The one thing I am sure of is that the 14 state league flags that Essendon and Carlton each won prior to the VFL resembling what is now the AFL are hardly worth anything close to the flags won by clubs in recent years. Their wins in 95 and '00 are worth far more given how much more competitive the competition was at the time compared to prior flag wins.

So much has changed in the last hundred years that makes it impossible and unfair to compare the history of clubs. There was no such thing as equalisation back in the day - salary caps were inconsistent and the draft simply didn't exist. It was also very difficult for interstate players to join what was supposedly the "main" state competition, so we ended up with all time greats like Barry Cable spending a grand total of 4 years in the VFL, and the remainder of his career in his home state.

If we're talking the official records, I think the easiest method we can look at is having two separate records:
> Most flags since the establishment of the VFL
> Most flags since 1987

Even then, it can arguably be broken down even further onto so many other dates, that the entire exercise becomes even more meaningless than it already is.
 

Back One Out

Brownlow Medallist
Mar 2, 2015
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I think 1990 is the date that makes the most sense, plus it's the year that the league itself recognised that it had changed to the point where a name-change was in order.
1987 makes far more sense than 1990. It was your club's first year, for f**k's sake! The comp went national & expanded from 12 teams to 14 with teams from Vic, NSW, Qld and WA

Also, clubs could no longer buy & sell players after 1987 as first National Draft was implemented and the Salary Cap took effect.
This was a BIG BIG rule change.


Nothing of significance changed in 1990. The league quietly changed the name & logo from VFL to AFL. It caused barely a ripple of discussion at the time. Nobody cared. It was just cosmetic. People were more concerned about the MCG's Southern Stand roof being removed!

There was never any sense of "Year Zero" between the 1989 and 1990 seasons. If anything, that occurred between the 1986 and 1987 seasons when the Eagles and Bears joined. That year, the league also scrapped their 25 year handshake partnership with Channel 7 and sold their TV rights to the highest bidder (a middle-man entity named Broadcom who onsold them to ABC).

That was the beginning of TV dollars taking over our game.


You have to understand, from 1987 to 1997 was a period of ENORMOUS change. Not only did the league become a national comp, but AFL footy became a business. Players became fully professional. Salaries went through the roof and players' skill levels and fitness improved massively. Corporate sponsorship became the dominant focus from the mid 80's with air-conditioned boxes, luncheons and "naming rights" to everything. Clubs scrapped their old committees and appointed board members. They started to be run as fully-fledged businesses with huge payrolls, admin and support staff.


AFL footy ceased to be played at many of Melbourne's historic suburban grounds: Hawthorn and St Kilda moved to Waverley Park. North Melb and Essendon started playing all their home games at the MCG. Collingwood shifted away from Vic Park. This was more important than many people realise. It was a HUGE cultural shift. No more going to your local home ground (or away) with your mates and standing on the terraces, drinking tins, smoking ciggies, yelling abuse and then walking home or to the pub. It was when footy became sanitised and homogenised with everyone seated, no smoking, lite beer, instant replay scoreboards.

This also applies to the WAFL and SANFL, which the VFL/AFL killed off as the primary interest for footy fans in Perth and Adelaide. The crowds dwindled at their suburban grounds and the masses flocked to sold-out Eagles & Crows home games at Subiaco and Football Park. They went from 8 team/10 team towns to 1 team towns. A big cultural shift....

The Under 19's and Reserves were scrapped after the 1991 season. No more curtain raisers at the ground! No point getting there early.

Clubs lost their unique identities, their souls in a sense. They basically became AFL franchises, one and the same as each other.

Saturday afternoon footy was phased out as TV took over with live footy on Friday night, Saturday night and Sunday arvo. All games started to be shown live or on delay from 1988 onwards. This had a massive impact on attendances of country footy games around the nation - it was the beginning of the end for many smaller country clubs. You can include the Tassie leagues under this point. TFL and NTFL fans stopped going. They stayed home to watch AFL footy.


Important rules were changed. e.g. the 50m penalty rule in 1988.. The number of free kicks was halved. Umpires stopped being so technical; they "let it flow" which meant players started to scrag each other like never before and constantly play the man (blocks, screens, arm chops, tagging)
We went from a Final 5 (1972-1990) >>> Final 6 (1991-1993) >>> Final 8 (1994+)


So many important changes, but people with little idea of history always use the piddly 1990 name-change as the turning point.

It's funny.
 
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Back One Out

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Guess the insecure poster in the thread...
Maybe you missed my point...

Ultimately, it's a self-serving exercise to deny history and only look at abbreviated time periods which suit your own needs.

West Coast fans cry foul over pre-AFL flags, but this is akin to Gold Coast or GWS fans crying foul over flags won from 1897-2010
That's why I included the tallies from 1991+, 1995+, 1997+, 2011+, 2012+ and suggested we all go to zero if/when Tassie gets a team.
Crazy...

It doesn't bother me how people choose to count up the premierships - the Hawks will still have the most (recent) premierships of any club. Cool bragging rights. But that's just funny to me. I'm not "insecure". I really couldn't give a stuff. They're not my premiership medals! I didn't win anything..

I'm more concerned about younger people's offhand disregard of the league's 123 year history. That's the real issue. I personally think the AFL's history is worth far more than the sensitivities of WA and SA fans who want to kiss off the first 90 years of VFL records in order to engage in stupid premiership pissing contests.

I feel bad for old-time WAFL and SANFL fans and their sense of loss for their local league and local club's histories.
But the reality is the VFL expanded to include non-Victorian teams. It wasn't a new league.

Non-Victorians can't expect us Vics to bury our own club histories just because they joined our comp!
 
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Father Jack

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1990 was closer to 91, 95 and 97 when teams came into the comp, plus changing to the AFL was not nothing.

No one is trying to kill any history, just trying to recognise that things changed so dramatically that you can'really compare the suburban comp to the national one. Everyone gets to keep their VFL flags either way.
 

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Bunk Moreland

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Sep 22, 2011
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1897 start

1908 expansion (Richmond)

1925 expansion (North, Bulldogs, Hawthorn)

1982 relocation (Sydney)

1987 expansion (Brisbane, West Coast)

1991 expansion (Adelaide)

1995 expansion (Freo)

1997 expansion (Port)

2011 expansion (Gold Coast)

2012 expansion (GWS)

Pick whichever one best suits you, nobody else really cares.
 

Our Game

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There are 3 possibilities.

1. We apply a historical approach and note that from 1897 to date there has been an Aussie Rules competition which has changed over time with different teams, different rules but can be traced continuously, year on year, back to the VFL which started in 1897.

The purpose of history is to understand what is relevant in the past that informs the present. The fact that some teams have joined and some teams have departed, the fact that the rules have altered, considerably, the fact that the way the game is played now is almost unrecognisable from its form even 20 years ago does not change the steady fact that the VFL/AFL has been a continuous competition from year to year back to 1897.

If you want to know, historically, how many flags have been won by any particular team in that continuous competition then it is necessary to count up all the flags won since 1897.

2. We ignore history. We arbitrarily start counting premierships from 1990 because that is when the competition changed its name from VFL to AFL. Or we arbitrarily start counting from 2012 when the most recent team joined the competition (and will have to start counting anew if/when another team joins the competition. Or we arbitrarily start counting from when the rules last changed since "the game" as played by the current rules is what is important right. (I assume that there will be rule changes before 2020 and on this counting method every club has won zero flags!).

3. We ignore all of the above and select a date to start counting that places our own club in the best possible light (coincidentally or not 1 and 3 give me the same result:)).

But the question "How many flags has team X won in this competition?" is an historical question. History answers it one way.
You are forgetting there was a comp in Victoria before 1896 that ALL the current Victorian AFL clubs and Sydney and Brisbane/Fitzroy played in from 1877 the Victorian Football Association and without it there would be no VFL/AFL!
 

Windhover

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You are forgetting there was a comp in Victoria before 1896 that ALL the current Victorian AFL clubs and Sydney and Brisbane/Fitzroy played in from 1877 the Victorian Football Association and without it there would be no VFL/AFL!
No, I am not forgetting. The VFL in 1897 was a separate competition to the VFA in 1897. Because the clubs that formed the VFL split from the VFA makes the VFA an antecedent competition. It does not make the VFL a continuation of the VFA which continued separately, and continues separately to the present date.

Also,you have forgotten Hawthorn, which did not exist until 1902.
 

threenewpadlocks

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It's pretty funny how people go "1990 onwards" as if the rebranding had any practical impact on how the league was operationally. Hawthorn would rightfully claim that not counting their 1989 and 1988 flags is unfair as the operations of the competition were not fundamentally different to that of 1990.

When's the right year?
1982: Sydney
1985: VFL Commission moving the league away from club-delegate administration
1987: West Coast, Brisbane, Salary Cap, Draft
1991: Adelaide
1993: Draft became "national" (removal of club zones and introduction of the TAC Cup in Victoria), Salary Cap amnesty (was pretty much ineffectual for the first years of its operation), AFL Commission reformed with AFL's acts and articles that are still in use today

All have greater claim to more structural change to football in Australia than just changing the letter V to A in 1989.

The arguments for 1987 and 1993 are the strongest if you were forced to pick a year.

Or you can just accept what others are saying and accept that the VFL became a national competition and the clubs playing in it represent a continuation of that history.

Also, if you were smart, you could, including Champions of Australia games, come to a consensus as to which team in Australia was the best in every year of history, accepting that it would mainly feature VFL teams as it was the strongest competition, it wouldn't be official but it would alleviate many stupid discussions.
 

footyfan1978

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there are no other teams worthy
you can just accept what others are saying and accept that the VFL became a national competition and the clubs playing in it represent a continuation of that history.

Also, if you were smart, you could, including Champions of Australia games, come to a consensus as to which team in Australia was the best in every year of history, accepting that it would mainly feature VFL teams as it was the strongest competition, it wouldn't be official but it would alleviate many stupid discussions.
As long as Doggies get the 1924 retro title and not Essendon then I am for it... :p
Essendon have only won 14 grand finals...
 

The Burger King

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In 1990 the AFLPA negotiated its first professional EBA. Along with the renaming of the competition in order to recognise the leagues transformation from an entirely suburban Melbourne competition to a national professional one over the preceding decade, the professionalisation of the playing cohort was equally as significant.
 

footyfan1978

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there are no other teams worthy
Geelong is not a suburb of Melbourne.
Neither is Carrara, Moore Park, Sydney, Subiaco in Perth or WACA in Perth...
 

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