Six points, Why?

Quolls19

Draftee
Jul 4, 2019
12
13
AFL Club
North Melbourne
I came across this thread as I was searching for something else, I trust I am not too late to be helpful.
The below was reported in several newspapers of the time, including all the colonies, but below are the best I could cut and paste
Coolgardie Mining Review Saturday 3rd April 1897

“THE VICTORIAN GAME.

The New Victorian Football League has been making radical alterations in
the rules of the Australian game, with the object of rendering it more attractive
to watch. For several seasons the downward trend of the game has been
unmistakeable.”

“Another decide innovation is that which elevates behinds from meaningless
addenda into tangible items in the score. It has been enacted that the
side securing the greater number of points will win the match, and
that a goal shall count six to points, and a behind one." To apportion
fair values to goals and behinds respectively proved a delicate
undertaking , and the ratio of six to one was adopted after long and
careful consideration. Law 5 states that " a behind shall be scored when
the ball is kicked or forced behind without striking either of the behind
posts;" and law 7 enacts that a behind shall be counted when the ball
strikes a goal-post, or is touched at the mark, or in transit before passing
between the posts."”

From the Evening Journal Adelaide Saturday 20th March 1897, which contains the above with this addition

“The trouble was to secure for behinds just so much recognition as would compensate the attacking party without offering an inducement to defenders to help the ball behind.”
Before this, although behinds were recorded and reported, they had no scoring value. Many of the reporters of the day wrote that they should be counted and wrote of moral victories which may have given impetus to the New League, as they also changed some other rules that were not popular with the press.

Interestingly, well I think it is, every colony except South Australia referred to the game as”the Victorian Game”, South Australia refers to the “Australasian Game”. Even so they notified the league that they were adopting most of the new rules including scoring. At the same time they maintained official ties with the VFA through the Australian Football Association and played interstate games against them in 1897.

Also interesting, but probably coincidental, Rugby Union tried to bring in a points systems in 1881 and 1882, as at that time only goals counted (not tries, they were just an opportunity to “try for a goal”). The point system was suggested to reduce the number of draws occurring, which was the same reason the VFL introduced their scoring method.

1882 (rejected):-
"A match shall be decided by points as under: - A goal direct from a place kick from a try shall count 8 pts; A goal dropped from the field of play, 6 pts; A goal from a flying kick 4 points; a try 4 points; a touchdown, a dead ball, or a touch in goal, 1 point each. The team obtaining a majority of four more points to be declared the winner. Any less majority than 4 points to count as a drawn game."

They did introduce a system in 1886

'A match shall be decided by a majority of points. A goal shall equal 3 points, with the exception of a goal kicked from a kick awarded by way of penalty, which shall equal 2 points, and a try 1 point. If the number of points is equal or no goals be kicked or try obtained, the match shall be drawn. When a goal is kicked from a try, the goal only is scored.'
It has been largely forgotten that a try had no scoring value at all in the early years.
 

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Wallaby

Norm Smith Medallist
May 8, 2007
8,454
9,170
vic
AFL Club
Richmond
That was why it is called a Try in rugby. Originally, if you got over the goal line, it entitled you to a 'try' at goal. If you missed - well, you got nothing.

Interestingly, Australian Rules is probably the game with multiple scoring options that has changed the least. In Rugby, tries have gone from 0 to 3 to 4 and now 5 points. Rugby League tries have changed from 3 to 4 points, and a drop goal (now worth 1 point), used to be worth 4. In NFL, a touchdown used to be 4 points and a Field Goal 5 (and wa-a-a-a-y back, the conversion after a Touchdown was worth more than the touchdown itsef - exactly like Rugby and tries. And now they have 2-point conversions).

Australian Rules once tinkered with having 3 points for a deliberate behind. It was in one of the pre-season comps, and it was universally ignored and quietly forgotten about.

Sports rules don't have to make sense. Grown men chasing a football around a field like a bunch of kids doesn't make much sense in the first place.
 

Ghost of Punt Road

Club Legend
Aug 11, 2004
1,348
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Other Teams
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Because back then the Victorian colonies economy were based on wheat, whale oil, wool and trading ships. You can go and see this on the old coat of arms of Victoria on the Swanston st Bridge.

So they decided one point each for the things that were on the coat of arms, the one point for the Queen and one for the colony governor.

Six points.
 

RUNVS

Hall of Famer
Feb 28, 2007
34,153
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That's right. I doubt that there's some deep and meaningful reason why the number 6 was chosen.

Perhaps it's the sacred number to the goddess Minronia... No wait, I just made her up. Probably not, then.
15 years later and I am a full fledged remember of the church of Minronia.
 

Quolls19

Draftee
Jul 4, 2019
12
13
AFL Club
North Melbourne
“In rugby and other forms of football derived from it, a flying kick (also called a fly kick or dribble) is made by kicking the ball from where it is loose under circumstances other than its having been placed there or dropped from the kicker's hands to be kicked. The flying kick has been illegal in American football since 1900 but is still allowed in Canadian football, Rugby Unionand Rugby league football.”

It could reasonably argued that Australian Rules is built around the flying kick.
 

Quolls19

Draftee
Jul 4, 2019
12
13
AFL Club
North Melbourne
There have been some postings indicating that behinds counted in the score and could determine the winner of the game. However although often recorded and published, behinds were noted counted as a score until the first VFL season of 1897.



The below is the clearest example I can find at the moment.



Bairnsdale Advertiser and Tambo and Omeo Chronicle 25/8/1896

The following are the results of the football matches played on Saturday last

for the premiership of the colony:

South Melbourne 3.10, drew with Collingwood 3.5;

Melbourne 7.11, beat Essendon 5.3,

Port Melbourne 5.4, beat Fitzroy 3.8;

Carlton 5.4, beat St. Kilda 3.7;

Footscray 4.4, drew Williamstown 4.7.

South Melbourne and Collingwood are now two points ahead of Essendon for

first place. The match between Footscray and Williamstown got very rough towards the finish, and the umpire stopped the game.



The first advertised system of finals for the newly formed VFL is below, the initial intention was that behinds still don’t count, including the home and away series, but that was changed in the new April 1887 rules.



The Australasian 13/2/1887

After the first 14 rounds the four leading clubs () begin the second series of

games on absolutely even terms. Although such a system does not ensure the best team of the season's play according to the old method of scoring winning the premiership, it has the advantage from a spectacular point of view that the premiership cannot be won before the last day of the season, and the

battle between Collingwood and South Melbourne last season shows how exciting these finals are. ln the three final rounds there is no points system, and should two clubs be even in goals at the time fixed for the conclusion of the game they shall play for another 20 minutes—10 each way—and should they then be still even in goals another game must be played on dates to be

fixed by the league.



The points referred to are the 4 for a win and 2 for a draw and having no relevance in the finals,
 

Quolls19

Draftee
Jul 4, 2019
12
13
AFL Club
North Melbourne
Corrected date post

There have been some postings indicating that behinds counted in the score and could determine the winner of the game. However although often recorded and published, behinds were noted counted as a score until the first VFL season of 1897.



The below is the clearest example I can find at the moment.



Bairnsdale Advertiser and Tambo and Omeo Chronicle 25/8/1896

The following are the results of the football matches played on Saturday last

for the premiership of the colony:

South Melbourne 3.10, drew with Collingwood 3.5;

Melbourne 7.11, beat Essendon 5.3,

Port Melbourne 5.4, beat Fitzroy 3.8;

Carlton 5.4, beat St. Kilda 3.7;

Footscray 4.4, drew Williamstown 4.7.

South Melbourne and Collingwood are now two points ahead of Essendon for

first place. The match between Footscray and Williamstown got very rough towards the finish, and the umpire stopped the game.



The first advertised system of finals for the newly formed VFL is below, the initial intention was that behinds still don’t count, including the home and away series, but that was changed in the new April 1897 rules.



The Australasian 13/2/1897

After the first 14 rounds the four leading clubs () begin the second series of

games on absolutely even terms. Although such a system does not ensure the best team of the season's play according to the old method of scoring winning the premiership, it has the advantage from a spectacular point of view that the premiership cannot be won before the last day of the season, and the

battle between Collingwood and South Melbourne last season shows how exciting these finals are. ln the three final rounds there is no points system, and should two clubs be even in goals at the time fixed for the conclusion of the game they shall play for another 20 minutes—10 each way—and should they then be still even in goals another game must be played on dates to be

fixed by the league.



The points referred to are the 4 for a win and 2 for a draw and having no relevance in the finals,
 

Quolls19

Draftee
Jul 4, 2019
12
13
AFL Club
North Melbourne
Related to scoring and the issues that led to goal = 6 points.

There were many issues that led to the formation of the VFL, not just limited to FA intention to evenly share gate takings between all member clubs, of which the better attended Clubs did not take too well.
The Argus newspaper, which was a powerful influence in those days, had long criticised the VFA for not taking action to address what it considered to be the “downward standard of today’s football”

Some of the clubs that formed the VFL in August 1896 were more inclined to change rules than others, this was also a factor in the breakaway, as well as the behaviour of some of the uninvited clubs followers behaviour.


With the formation of the VFL, the VFA decided the must do something to maintain or regain their prominence, hence the following.

The Age Saturday 26 September 1896

Victorian Football Association

PROPOSED ALTERATION OF RULES.

IMPORTANT AMENDMENTS.

The sub-committee appointed to draw up a set of amendments in the rules of the VictorianFootball Association submitted their proposals at a meeting of the association (held last evening at Young and Jackson's Hotel, Swanston Street.)

Mr. E. L. Wilson was voted to the chair.

The Secretary (Mr, ,T. S. . Marshall) stated that the sub-committee, which comprised him self and Messrs, J. J. Trait, C. G. Wilson and N. J. Fitzpatrick, had discussed the rules at great length and done their work with all possible care. They desired the association to refrain from discussing the proposals until they had been printed and considered by members individually.

Some important 'changes were proposed, and opportunity for a full consideration of them should be allowed. It was proposed to reduce the number of players in a team from 20 to 13, to abolish behinds, to connect the goal posts at either end by a cross bar 10 feet from the ground, over which inch the ball must be kicked in order to score, and to erect a post in a straight line either side of the goal posts and separated from them by 10 yards, the intervening spaces to be called the goal line.

The principal laws amended read as follows:

A goal shall be won when the ball is kicked between the goal posts and over the cross bar with out touching either of them or any player after being kicked.

When a goal is kicked the ball shall be taken to the centre of the ground and be there bounced by the field umpire.

The players shall not cross over, but keep their position in the field.

When the ball goes out of bounds it shall be brought back to the spot where It crossed the boundary line, and be there thrown In by the field umpire and immediately the ball leaves the umpire’s hands it shall be in play.

Should the ball strike the cross bar or either of the goal posts, or be kicked or forced over the goal line (except when a goal is registered), the field umpire shall throw the ball in from the 10 yards post nearest to the spot where tho ball crossed the line.

Any player catching the ball directly from the foot of another player not loss than 10 yards distant shall be allowed a klok in any direction from any spot behind where he caught the ball, no player being allowed to come over that spot or within 10 yards in any other direction.

Should a player 'wilfully waste time the field umpire shall instruct the timekeeper to add such time on, and besides award a free kick to the opposing player nearest to the spot where the offence takes place.

The offending player or players shall be reported to and be dealt with by the association, and should a player unduly interfere with a man while kicking for goal, he shall be reported to tho association.

The distance for bouncing the ball when a player is running with it is increased from 7 to 10 yards.

While being held, if the player does not drop the ball, a free kick shall be given to the man who holds him.

If the player be deliberately held back or thrown after he has dropped the ball, be shall be awarded a free kick.

Charging a player when he is standing still or when in the air going for a mark is prohibited, and a free kick given against any player Infringing the rule.

The time for each quarter in the playing of the game is extended from 25 to 35 minutes, and at half time the interval is increased from 10 to 15 minutes.

Mr Tait, in briefly discussing the alterations, said the committee thought it desirable to take as much discretionary power out of the hands of umpires as possible; and to reduce "crowding" by taking four men— two from either side— out of every match, and by fixing marks at 10 yards. It had been altogether too easy to obtain marks and free kicks. It was almost true, as somebody had said, that a man could hardly wink at another without giving cause for a free kick.

The abolition of behinds has been long urged by many players, spectators and members of the press.



Not in the contemporary papers that I have read especially the Argus and the Herald which hold the opinion that behinds should count.

Of course not all of the proposed rules were introduced. I can only surmise that some of the suggested rules were done so under the influence of the meeting location.
 

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