Why was'nt Port Melbourne in the original VFL, and not the VFA?


Club Legend
May 10, 2009
Carlton North
AFL Club
St Kilda
St Kilda is the interesting one - would they have been included in the 1908 or 1925 expansions? Or would they be what Port Melbourne is now?
Most likely not, unless the St. Kilda City Council was really demanding and refused to take no for an answer, or other options were unavailable to the league. In 1908, I could not see the League interested in expansions to the south instead of the the east as with Richmond. North Melbourne would have been even less probable with Port in the League, and that makes me on second thought think St. Kilda would have tried, but Port and South would have certainly united to stop such a bid.

In 1925 when Footscray were desiring admission, as with both Port and South in the League, Footscray would have had no hope of gaining Port’s putative metropolitan zone. However, South’s would have likely covered all of the City of St. Kilda, and so St. Kilda would have been equally unacceptable to them. We might have seen a one-club expansion to the southeast (Hawthorn or Prahran or even Brighton) instead of the actual three-club expansion for this reason but the fact that those were three of the poorest VFA clubs means even such a one-club expansion would have created major problems in the long term.

As for St. Kilda remaining in the VFA, I am unsure as to how they would have done after it split from the VFL. The Saints would have been much less likely to get the business and industrial patronage needed to be even a VFA power than Footscray, North, Port or even Brunswick, for reasons I have constantly discussed for many years. They would have certainly found it easier with so much competition removed, so there is the possibility St. Kilda would have been far more successful in the Association than they were in the League, but not so successful as Port became I feel.

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Scanlens Man

Senior List
Aug 10, 2017
AFL Club
Essendon won only 25 of 90 games between 1933 and 1937 (for comparison Hawthorn won 24), and only 97 plus 2 draws out of 234 between 1927 and 1939
Do you think this lack of success could be linked to Dick Reynolds winning 3 Brownlow medals during the era (1934, 1937, 1938)?

Pre-modern era Brownlows were much easier to win if you were the only good player in a woeful side - Bobby Skilton another example, much as I loved him as a kid growing up

Michael Riley

Team Captain
Jun 17, 2012
AFL Club
St Kilda
Other Teams
Brighton VFA
Here is my view in detail

I have been very interested by the views in this thread. This is a fascinating topic.

I now believe it was all about money. VFA reform either meant the rich clubs subsidised the poor (as happens now), or the rich split away. The internal VFA voting was factioned between rich and poor and the rich were worried that they could not control the vote. Port were never in, because they were in the wrong faction. I think my article walks through the key moments.

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