Discussion The VFA premierships debate - should they be recognised as elite level premierships?

How many tier 1 premierships have Geelong won?


  • Total voters
    176

simba_

ask me how to use this space for advertising
Jun 2, 2009
11,894
6,926
50XX
AFL Club
Port Adelaide
Other Teams
Liverpool, mew2king, Utah Jazz
everyone just needs to forget about having a universal history that everyone agrees with that involves everyones team and what they're proud of about it. just be proud of your own history and how unique it is like we are. most clubs seem to have a weird/confusing/messy history in some way or another, most clubs joined the league at different times to the rest and even when the league had a different name and set up so at the end of the day where is the argument heading, there will never be a universal AFL history will there, every clubs situation is too unique
 

(Log in to remove this ad.)

McCrann

Premiership Player
Nov 1, 2007
3,694
676
Australia
AFL Club
St Kilda
At the end of the day it's a marketing exercise. Why wouldn't the AFL extend their competition championships back a further 20 years? It looks good when claiming historical validity for the code.

1877 - VFA began
1888 - English Football League began
1897 - VFL began

Hey - all of a sudden we have a longer competitive history than the English Football League/ English Premier League! Why wouldn't we want to be able to say that?

I'm all for adding them, why not? And you know how many St. KFC won since being formed in 1873 to joining the VFL in 1897? 0.

So there's no personal gain there.
 

SJ

Moderator
May 22, 2006
33,029
15,931
Melbourne
AFL Club
Geelong
At the end of the day it's a marketing exercise. Why wouldn't the AFL extend their competition championships back a further 20 years? It looks good when claiming historical validity for the code.

1877 - VFA began
1888 - English Football League began
1897 - VFL began

Hey - all of a sudden we have a longer competitive history than the English Football League/ English Premier League! Why wouldn't we want to be able to say that?

I'm all for adding them, why not? And you know how many St. KFC won since being formed in 1873 to joining the VFL in 1897? 0.

So there's no personal gain there.
Because it's historically wrong.

The AFL has taken possession of the sport of Australian football anyway, market that all you want (try not to leave out all the non-VFL/AFL stuff while you're at it though). But don't rewrite history for marketing purposes.
 

McCrann

Premiership Player
Nov 1, 2007
3,694
676
Australia
AFL Club
St Kilda
Because it's historically wrong.

The AFL has taken possession of the sport of Australian football anyway, market that all you want (try not to leave out all the non-VFL/AFL stuff while you're at it though). But don't rewrite history for marketing purposes.
History is re-written all the time. It's the prerogative of the winners to do so.

If they did re-write this particular bit of history as claimed, in 50 years, do you think anyone would care?

Did you know Ceres used to be a planet? For four decades or so, before it was demoted to merely an asteroid. And yet know - it has just been upped again to become a dwarf-planet!

Oh, and Pluto - did you know Pluto used to be a planet? Well, it hasn't been a planet for a good decade or so now. Because it was demoted! Do you think anyone growing up now would care about what we used to refer to Pluto or Ceres as? Hardly.
 

SJ

Moderator
May 22, 2006
33,029
15,931
Melbourne
AFL Club
Geelong
History is re-written all the time. It's the prerogative of the winners to do so.

If they did re-write this particular bit of history as claimed, in 50 years, do you think anyone would care?

Did you know Ceres used to be a planet? For four decades or so, before it was demoted to merely an asteroid. And yet know - it has just been upped again to become a dwarf-planet!

Oh, and Pluto - did you know Pluto used to be a planet? Well, it hasn't been a planet for a good decade or so now. Because it was demoted! Do you think anyone growing up now would care about what we used to refer to Pluto or Ceres as? Hardly.
But Ceres and Pluto have not changed. They are still considered to be the same objects as what they always have been - it is our definition of what a planet is which has changed. This is not history being re-written, this is the lines around different types of classification moving.

What you are suggesting is more akin to saying that it was the Americans who landed and set up colonies in Australia in 1788. One day no one will know the difference, right?
 

Benny78

Norm Smith Medallist
Apr 4, 2016
8,205
6,370
Australia
AFL Club
Geelong
Other Teams
Ken Hinkley
If VFL flags are recognized then VFA probably should be too. For example regarding Collingwoods 4peat and not 1800's Geelongs VFA era would be rather silly.

The rules have changed so much over the seasons that any flag from last century means less than every flag after.
 

Demonic Ascent

Brownlow Medallist
Feb 21, 2006
14,308
9,811
Muckertal
AFL Club
Melbourne
Other Teams
Eltham Turtles, NY Jets, Celtics
Interesting reading Geoffrey Blaineys book A Game of Our Own he discusses the pre-VFL premierships and from memory a majority of those, particularly those won during the 1880s were never formally "won" as a premiership in a Grand Final or even in a round robin/home and away format. Many of these premiers were anointed by one person who nominated the premier team for that year just by comparing their records. However the records were often incomparable as there was not a set fixture and so some teams played 15 games some 18, some teams played a lot of weak teams, some had a stronger schedule. It seems pretty wishy washy and not really something you could hang your hat on to say "my club won 8 premierships in the pre-VFL VFA."

Of course some clubs like Geelong and Sth Melbourne were seen as stronger than others but declaring a premier team in those years seemed far more arbitrary than I had previously thought.
 
Last edited:

Wallaby

Norm Smith Medallist
May 8, 2007
8,403
9,060
vic
AFL Club
Richmond
The rules have changed so much over the seasons that any flag from last century means less than every flag after.
You could just as easily argue that any flag since the 1900s means less because of all the rule changes. The rules have been modified and fiddled with so much that we only have a pale imitation of the original 'pure' game. It's now just designed as a spectacle for the bored public. It's no longer a contest between athletes engaged in a noble pursuit - it's a theatrical experience played between corporations trying to sell you identical chinese-made merchandise in various colours, that you don't need.

Tom Wills would be turning in his grave. He'd be horrified to see what has happened to his game - Australian Rules football.
 
  • Like
Reactions: SJ

Demonic Ascent

Brownlow Medallist
Feb 21, 2006
14,308
9,811
Muckertal
AFL Club
Melbourne
Other Teams
Eltham Turtles, NY Jets, Celtics
I contend exactly the reverse is true. People are confused about the actual meaning of the construct "VFL/AFL premierships", as has been amply demonstrated in this thread.

As I said before, here is a picture featuring the 1954 VFL premiership cup, and another picture of the 2012 AFL premiership cup. You will see that they are similar, but not the same.

Yet there are many on this thread who are trying to insist that they are the same, and what is worse they are getting extremely precious about insisting that everybody conforms to their skewed view of it.

What exactly is wrong with being accurate and factual?
The first Premiership cup was presented to Melbourne in 1959 so the 1954 cup is something created retrospectively.
 

Demonic Ascent

Brownlow Medallist
Feb 21, 2006
14,308
9,811
Muckertal
AFL Club
Melbourne
Other Teams
Eltham Turtles, NY Jets, Celtics
It's about having a continuous and competitive history of the clubs in question.

Now the only reason why Carlton and Melbourne's pre-1877 premierships are not included on the list is that there wasn't an organised competition they were won in. Whereas the VFA was an organised competition. That's the only difference here.
I would say "organised competition" is up for discussion.
 

blueycarlton

Senior List
Sep 17, 2008
156
227
carnegie
AFL Club
Carlton
I would say "organised competition" is up for discussion.
There was an "organised body" pre 1877, it was the club secretaries who got together before the season and arranged the fixtures for that year. Melbourne and Carlton often played each other four times per season. These two clubs were by far the strongest and the most popular, as crowds of over 10,000 regularly attended their clashes. These two clubs really popularised the game. The club secretaries also made many rule changes in the period 1858-1876. Carlton secretary Tom Power "drove" the development of the game and took over from the "first wave" founders. Despite the Blues were at rock bottom from 1893-1896-1903, they were asked to join the VFL because of of their history and contribution to the development of the game, even though the Melb. City Council kept denying them a ground of their own. Plus the fact that they had (as in the present time) a huge supporter base which also helped. The VFL wanted another team south of the Yarra and St.Kilda were also invited too, certainly not because of their history, but because they happened to have a very good ground with transport connections.
 
  • Like
Reactions: SJ

(Log in to remove this ad.)

Furn2

Norm Smith Medallist
Sep 27, 2012
8,783
13,985
AFL Club
Hawthorn
Interesting reading Geoffrey Blaineys book A Game of Our Own he discusses the pre-VFL premierships and from memory a majority of those, particularly those won during the 1880s were never formally "won" as a premiership in a Grand Final or even in a round robin/home and away format. Many of these premiers were anointed by one person who nominated the premier team for that year just by comparing their records. However the records were often incomparable as there was not a set fixture and so some teams played 15 games some 18, some teams played a lot of weak teams, some had a stronger schedule. It seems pretty wishy washy and not really something you could hang your hat on to say "my club won 8 premierships in the pre-VFL VFA."

Of course some clubs like Geelong and Sth Melbourne were seen as stronger than others but declaring a premier team in those years seemed far more arbitrary than I had previously thought.
Yep and they would also often play junior sides when a senior fixture couldn't be organised. I don't see how you can count them alongside an organised comp with a ladder and finals.
 

footyfan78

Brownlow Medallist
Aug 27, 2014
18,866
18,673
spacetime
AFL Club
Carlton
Other Teams
there are no other teams worthy
Don't get the conversation. Are they part of club history? Of course, most clubs currently in the AFL have played in at least one other competition.

Are they part of your VFL/AFL premiership tally? Of course not.
Yep, that is why in 1992 in the AFL season, Collingwood asked to play Carlton to celebrate the Centenary Season as a club. The league history goes back to 1897 and the flags counts mentioned in that context of league history but the club histories for some go back longer and why in 1992 there was the big Collingwood v Carlton game on a Thursday night at MCG.


A clear example of both the clubs and AFL paying homage to heritage of clubs.

Similarly my own club made many special club events in our 150th year despite the league history being shorter.
 

Pedantic

Club Legend
Jun 7, 2016
1,094
1,557
AFL Club
Melbourne
Yep and they would also often play junior sides when a senior fixture couldn't be organised. I don't see how you can count them alongside an organised comp with a ladder and finals.
"Junior" and "senior" didn't mean what they do now. "Junior" simply meant that the club was weaker/recently established and teams often moved from being a junior club to a senior club (and some went the other way) if their results merited it. Also junior clubs were typically allowed to field more players (say 25 v 18/20) when competing against senior clubs.

Other than that, I get the point you are trying to make. The fixture back then was very uneven (more so than the AFL today!) so for some years it's very hard to say which team was clearly the "premier" side -- but for other years it's pretty clear cut and I see little problem with clubs stating they were the best team in Victoria for that season.
 
  • Like
Reactions: SJ

LightTower4

Club Legend
Mar 3, 2004
2,447
1,424
Richmond
AFL Club
Melbourne
The Dogs, Roos and Hawks joined the VFL in 1925.
So to count their VFA flags when the VFL was running seems a bit of a stretch.
Besides, my team didn't win one so I say definitely not!
 

Tiger2709

Brownlow Medallist
Aug 27, 2009
24,192
20,241
Perth
AFL Club
Richmond
Other Teams
Liverpool
If VFL flags are recognized then VFA probably should be too. For example regarding Collingwoods 4peat and not 1800's Geelongs VFA era would be rather silly.

The rules have changed so much over the seasons that any flag from last century means less than every flag after.
VFA - VFL Two different competitions
VFL - AFL same competition

The rules have always been changing same with the members of the competition, only relevant fact is this is the same competition, no amount of revisionist history can change that simple fact.
 

Black Stripe

Yellow Paint
Suspended
Feb 15, 2019
455
492
Liverpool
AFL Club
GWS
Other Teams
Oklahoma City and Sydney Thunder
This is in the news again will be interesting to see whether it gets the tick of approval this time around.
 

BustedWing

Club Legend
Aug 29, 2013
2,394
1,753
AFL Club
Collingwood
This is in the news again will be interesting to see whether it gets the tick of approval this time around.
It wont - its was a different league.

If the VAFA accepts a former Diamond Valley league team into their league in 2020, that club....

* Will be able to say they have won XXX premierships in its history, across all the leagues it has played in.
* Will NOT be able to say they have won XX VAFA premierships in its history, as it has NOT won them in that league.

Geelong winning a VFA premiership in 1884 or whatever is great for the Geelong Football Club, but they cant say it was a VFL/AFL flag, as well....it wasnt.
 

Procrastinator35

Hall of Famer
Feb 24, 2013
35,666
29,202
The GoldenBrown Heart of Victoria
AFL Club
Hawthorn
Other Teams
Man Utd Green Bay Melb Storm
Absurd & Ridiculous...Shouldn't even be up for discussion or debate....The fact that it is just demonstrates how completely out of touch Gill & his ****- Witted cronies have become.

These clowns are turning our competition into a charade FFS.
 

kickazz

Norm Smith Medallist
Apr 12, 2010
7,515
9,432
Melbourne
AFL Club
Geelong
Different league.

If someone wants to do a "table" of top level premierships, including VFA up to 1896, SANFL up to 199? etc then that has some merit.

But a different comp was actually the same comp just because you say so byGillon decree? No.
 

BringBackTorps

Club Legend
Jan 5, 2017
1,360
745
AFL Club
GWS
This is in the news again will be interesting to see whether it gets the tick of approval this time around. [It was once!]
Until about 1920, VFL clubs DID count their premierships won in the VFA prior 1897/ 1870- 1877"Champions Of The Colony" titles in their total premierships (ie simply added to any VFL premierships). The AFL proposal this week to reintroduce this practice, therefore, is not a new or unprecedented development.

Without the creation of the VFA & the wise "promotional/development" policies it developed, AF (& the VFL/AFL) would never have been the success it became.
Ditto, the 1858-1877 forebears. We have many heroes from the period 1858-1897, & they should be FULLY recognised, publicised & CELEBRATED.

Furthermore, due to the size of its population, Victoria was the preeminent AF colony/state; & had the preeminent AF competition (notwithstanding that some SA clubs defeated Vic. clubs in one-off "Champions Of Australia" games). All the Vic. Premiers, therefore, from 1870-1896, should be counted in the tally of these teams' premierships.

Non-Vic. WAFL & SANFL clubs should also celebrate their heroes & premierships prior to joining the AFL. As they were not the preeminent competitions, it would not be appropriate to add these to post 1987 AFL premierships- but these older premierships, & champion players, should be given very wide wide promotion & prominence.
 
Last edited:

the croucher

Club Legend
Oct 22, 2000
1,031
653
Launceston
AFL Club
Geelong
Until about 1920, VFL clubs DID count their premierships won in the VFA prior 1897/ 1870- 1877"Champions Of The Colony" titles in their total premierships (ie simply added to any VFL premierships). The AFL proposal this week to reintroduce this practice, therefore, is not a new or unprecedented development.

Without the creation of the VFA & the wise "promotional/development" policies it developed, AF (& the VFL/AFL) would never have been the success it became.
Ditto, the 1858-1877 forebears. We have many heroes from the period 1858-1897, & they should be FULLY recognised, publicised & CELEBRATED.

Furthermore, due to the size of its population, Victoria was the preeminent AF colony/state; & had the preeminent AF competition (notwithstanding that some SA clubs defeated Vic. clubs in one-off "Champions Of Australia" games). All the Vic. Premiers, therefore, from 1870-1896, should be counted in the tally of these teams' premierships.

Non-Vic. WAFL & SANFL clubs should also celebrate their heroes & premierships prior to joining the AFL. As they were not the preeminent competitions, it would not be appropriate to add these to post 1987 AFL premierships- but these older premierships, & champion players, should be given very wide wide promotion & prominence.
Leaving aside the debate about levels of leagues etc, I am astonished at how gullible the public and the "media" are about the date range being quoted.

NOBODY could have been premier in 1870 to 1876 because there was no competition to be premier of !

The earliest major level competitions in Australian Football do not exist until 1877 (SANFL formed in April that year, VFA in May).
 

VicBased

Debutant
May 3, 2019
65
51
AFL Club
West Coast
The AFL have 18 teams. The VFL have 15 teams. The AFL play a G.F. The VFL play a G.F separately to the AFL. How the hell can they be the same. The VFL is a competition completely on it's own. They are not the same, how can people not understand this?
 
Top Bottom