Footy FAQ: AFL Clubs and Club History

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5. Australian Football League Clubs

Eighteen clubs compete in the Australian Football League. Only two clubs have ever folded in the AFL (or VFL): University was merged into Melbourne in 1914, and Fitzroy into Brisbane in 1996. In 1982, South Melbourne relocated to Sydney. A list of details for each AFL team follows.

Notes:

  • The phone numbers below are listed for dialing from international locations outside Australia.
  • The jersey descriptions include full sleeves and collars; however, the sleeveless versions are favored by most footballers. Aussie winters are relatively mild by comparison to many parts of North America; Melburnians will complain about the cold and break out heavy coats, club scarves and beanies (read "stocking caps" or "toques") when game-time temperatures dip below 10C (50F).¬† (Average overnight winter temperatures in Melbourne are 7 to 10C (44 to 50F) which would be considered warm for many locations where American football is played in the USA or Canada.¬† Daytime temperatures average 14 to 17C (57 to 63F) in winter in Melbourne hence the ability to wear sleeveless jerseys.)¬†
  • Web links to each club with an official Web site are included. The AFL offers information and news items for each club at http://www.afl.com.au/

Current or historical AFL Clubs and Club facts:

Adelaide

Postal Address: PO Box 10, West Lakes, SA 5021, Australia
Phone: +61-8-8440-6666
Fax: +61-8-8347-3237
World Wide Web: http://www.afc.com.au
Founded: 1991
Joined AFL: 1991
Home Ground: Adelaide Oval, Adelaide, South Australia. Train at AAMI Stadium, West Lakes.
Ground Dimensions: 167m by 123m. Goals run north to south.
Senior Coach: Don Pyke
Official Colors:  
Jersey Navy blue, red and gold hoops
Shorts Navy blue
Socks Navy blue, red and gold hoops
Nickname: Crows
Premierships: 1997-98
Brownlow Medalists: Mark Ricciuto, tied 2003
Prime Sponsors: Toyota 

Adelaide was the first South Australian team admitted to the AFL as part of a continued expansion of the league. They were admitted four years after the league expanded to include a team from Brisbane, in Queensland, and Perth in Western Australia. The team was a new team specifically created for the AFL. In their first two seasons they reached 9th place on the premiership ladder. In their third season they played in the finals and beat Hawthorn, but were eliminated by Carlton the following week. The team missed the finals for the next three seasons and then stunned the football traditionalists by winning two consecutive Grand Finals - their first from 4th position on the ladder and the next year from 5th position. Their new coach Malcolm Blight had achieved remarkable success in two years, but after the team finished 13th in his third year, he resigned. Since 1999 they have appeared in 8 finals series but have not progressed to another Grand Final. They achieved 1st position on the ladder in 2005 but were beaten in the preliminary final by West Coast. There have been only six other coaches and two stand-in coaches, when coaches have ended contracts mid season. The longest serving coach is Neil Craig, who coached for almost 8 years. Adelaide have never won a "wooden spoon", by finishing last in the competition. In recent times Phil Walsh replaced Brendan Sanderson to start the 2015 season. Tragically, the highly regarded Walsh was killed during his first season as coach; and Scott Camporeale took over the reins until the end of 2015. Adelaide performed reasonably well after the loss of Walsh, but they appeared to be an emotionally strained team at the end of an extremely challenging season. Former West Coast premiership player Don Pyke has taken the job this year. In recent years there has been the view that Adelaide have under-performed. They have threatened to become a powerful team but have not been consistent. The loss of quality players such as Tippett, Dangerfield and Jenkins in recent times; and the loss of Walsh has not helped their cause. They continue to have quality players such as Sloane, Laird, Thompson, and (Tex) Taylor to provide impetus.

Brisbane

Postal Address PO Box 1535, Coorparoo DC, Qld 4151, Australia
Phone: +61-7-3335-1777
Fax: +61-7-3891-1222
World Wide Web: http://www.lions.com.au
Founded: 1987
Joined AFL: 1987
Home Ground: Woolongabba Ground (The Gabba), Brisbane, Queensland
Ground Dimensions: 156m by 138m. Goals run east to west.
Senior Coach: Justin Leppitsch
Official Colors: Maroon and gold
(1987-96)  
Jersey Maroon with gold chevron in white trim
Shorts Maroon with gold and white trim
Socks Maroon with gold and white pencil stripes around the top.
(1997 on)  
Jersey Maroon with gold lion logo, blue yoke, gold sleeve and collar trim
Shorts Maroon with gold and white trim
Socks Maroon with gold and white pencil stripes around the top.
Nickname: Bears (before 1997) (Brisbane removed the koala from their shield logo in 1995 and replaced it with a stylized form of the team name.)
  Lions (1997 on)
Premierships: 2001-2003
Brownlow Medalists: Michael Voss, 1996, Jason Akermanis, 2001, Simon Black 2002. 
Prime Sponsors: Vero (insurance company), Hyundai

Brisbane was established to bring Australian football to Rugby-dominated Queensland. They achieved limited success until they merged with Fitzroy and former Hawthorn champion, Leigh Matthews, was appointed coach. Matthews took the club to the top and kept them there for several years. They made the finals in 1999 and 2000 before becoming the dominant team of the competition over the next 3 seasons, although they never finished the regular season in first place. They continued that strength into 2004 and were favorites to equal Collingwood's record of 4 consecutive premierships but were defeated by Port Adelaide. Injuries savaged the team in 2005 and they fell to 11th. Injury and age took its toll again in 2006 and the club struggled early in the season, but hit a modicum of form over the second half of the year. They finished ninth in 2007 and 10th in 2008. At the end of 2008, Matthews resigned as coach with former club champion Michael Voss replacing him. Under Voss the team did not make significant progress and he was replaced by Justin Leppitsch in 2014. Since then, the Lions have been re-building but have been damaged by injuries to experienced players; and several promising young players leaving the club for greener pastures. 2016 should be a better year for the Lions, but they are a long way from the top of the competition.

Carlton

Postal Address: PO Box 83, North Carlton, Vic 3054, Australia
Phone: +61-8-9387-1400
Fax: +61-8-9387-7805
World Wide Web: http://www.carltonfc.com.au
Founded: 1864
Joined AFL: 1897
Home Ground: Etihad Stadium & MCG, Melbourne;  Training Ground is Ikon Park (formerly Optus Oval). 
Ground Dimensions: Etihad 159.5m by 128.8m. Goals run north to south. MCG 160m by 141m.Goals run north to south.
Senior Coach: Brendon Bolton
Official Colors: Dark navy blue and white
Jersey Dark navy blue with white "CFC" monogram
Shorts Dark navy blue
Socks Dark navy blue
Nickname: Blues, Dark Blues, Blueboys, Bluebaggers, Navy Blues
Premierships: 1906-7-8, 1914-15, 1938, 1945, 1947, 1968, 1970, 1972, 1979, 1981-82,1987, 1995
Brownlow Medalists: BJ Deacon - 1947, J James - 1961, G Collis - 1964, Greg Williams - 1994, Chris Judd - 2010
Prime Sponsors: Hyundai

Carlton was considered the most successful club in the competition with 16 premierships and never finishing last in its history, until 2002. Years of poor management and recruiting from the administration and penalties for salary cap cheating, saw the club take a dramatic slide on and off the field. They recovered by 2009 where they made the finals from 2009-2011 but the highest they achieved was 5th spot on the ladder. Since then it has been all down hill, culminating with them picking up 'the wooden spoon' in 2015. This was only the 4th time they have achieved last place in the competition. During that disastrous year coach Mick Malthouse was sacked mid-season and John Barker took over as care-taker coach. Brendon Bolton, former assistant coach of the highly successful Hawks takes the reins for 2016. The good news is that Carlton can't go any lower than they did in 2015 and should begin to show some improvement under a new regime and useful draft picks.

Collingwood

Postal Address: PO Box 165, Abbotsford, Vic 3067, Australia
Phone: +61-3-8412-0000
Fax: +61-3-8412-0172
World Wide Web: http://www.collingwoodfc.com.au
Founded: 1892
Joined AFL: 1897
Home Ground: Melbourne Cricket Ground, Yarra Park, Jolimont, Victoria
(Training) Holden Center, Olympic Boulevard, Melbourne CBD 
Ground Dimensions: 160m by 141m. Goals run north to south.
Senior Coach: Nathan Buckley
Official Colors: (Home) Black & white
Jersey Black and white vertical stripes on body and horizontal stripes on sleeves.
Shorts Black
Socks Black
(Clash)  
Jersey Wide black stripes with Magpie logo at center; black numbers in white field on back.
Shorts White
Socks Black
Nickname: Magpies, Pies, Woodsmen
Premierships: 1902-3, 1910, 1917, 1919, 1927-28-29-30, 1935-36, 1953, 1958, 1990, 2010.
Brownlow Medalists: Syd Coventry - 1927, A Collier - 1929, Harry Collier - 1930, M Whelan - 1939, Desmond Fothergill - 1940, Len Thompson - 1972, P Moore - 1979, Nathan Buckley (tied) - 2003, Dane Swan 2011.
Prime Sponsors: Emirates Airlines, CGU (insurance), Holden (General Motors), La Trobe Financial

Collingwood is arguably the AFL's most famous club and has the largest membership. They have played in 177 finals and 43 Grand Finals, winning 15 Premierships. Collingwood had a long period between 1959 and 1989 when they played in 21 finals series without winning a premiership. This was the origin of the word "Colliwobbles", which refers to nervousness and the loss of form during finals. In 1999 Tony Shaw resigned at the end of his original three-year contract after "winning" the mythical Wooden Spoon as last-place finishers in 1999. Mick Malthouse was not achieving success at West Coast Eagles and returned to Melbourne. He signed on with "the Pies" and after two years of rebuilding, took them to consecutive Grand Finals in 2002-2003, losing narrowly in a heart-breaker to Brisbane and getting thumped in 2003. The next two years were disappointing, but from 2006 to 2013 the Pies were in every final series. Winning the premiership in 2010. In 2011 they were top of the ladder but lost in the Grand Final to Geelong. Since then they have slipped down the ladder to finish 12th in 2015. Nathan Buckley took over from Malthouse in 2012 and the team's ladder position has continued to decline each year he has coached. 2016 could see the Magpies improving as, their group of younger players develop.  American import, Mason Cox, is highly rated and should make his debut for Collingwood in 2016.

Essendon

Postal Address: PO Box 17, Essendon, Vic 3040, Australia
Phone: +61-3-8340-2000
Fax: +61-3-8340-2001
World Wide Web: http://www.essendonfc.com.au
Founded: 1873
Joined AFL: 1897
Home Ground: Etihad Stadium, Melbourne, Victoria.
(Training)True Value Solar Centre Melrose Drive Melbourne Airport , Victoria
Ground Dimensions: 159.5m by 128.8m. Goals run north to south 
Senior Coach: John Worsfold
Official Colors: Red & black
Jersey Black with a red sash
Shorts Black
Socks Red with black hoops
Nickname: Bombers
Premierships: 1897, 1901, 1911-12, 1923-24, 1942, 1946, 1949-50, 1962, 1965, 1984-85, 1993. 2000
Brownlow Medalists: Dick Reynolds - 1934, 1937, 1938, Bill Hutchinson - 1952, 1953, G Moss - 1976, Gavin Wanganeen - 1993, James Hird - 1996 (tied), Jobe Watson - 2012.
Prime Sponsors: Kia and Fujitsu

A proud club with a long history of success. Essendon have won the equal highest number of Premierships (14) and have appeared in 129 finals series and played in 29 Grand Finals. Their last Grand Final success was in 2000 under legendary coach Kevin Sheedy. His team dominated the competition at the turn of the century topping the ladder in 1999, 2000 and 2001. In 2000, the team lost only 1 game. Since those heady days the team has struggled to have an impact with the highest places achieved 7th (once) and 8th (four times). In 2013 they hit the headlines for the wrong reasons. 34 players were charged with using a banned substance as a result of the the club implementing a injection program of unapproved supplements. After drawn out legal proceedings, all players were later found guilty by the World Anti Doping Authority and banned from playing.  In 2016, 12 of the players who remained at the club were banned for the season, as were 5 who had moved on to other AFL clubs. Players who moved to other leagues, were also banned. Essendon were granted 10 'top-up' players to replace their 12 banned players.  New coach John Worsfold accepted the unenviable task of trying to field a competitive team in 2016. 2017 should be a better year for the bombers, when their banned players are allowed to return and a team of young players have been blooded, but it could be a few years before Essendon will be considered a genuine threat.  

Fitzroy

(merged into Brisbane in 1996)

Founded: 1883
Joined AFL: 1897  (Merged with the Brisbane Bears in 1997 to become the Brisbane Lions)
Home Ground: EJ Whitten Oval, Barkly St, Footscray, Victoria
Ground Dimensions: 176m by 127m. Goals run north to south
Official Colors:  Royal blue, gold and red
Jersey Red, royal blue collar, cuffs and yoke, gold "FFC" monogram
Shorts Royal blue
Socks Red with royal blue top
Nickname: Lions (previously the Gorillas)
Premierships: 1898-99, 1904-05, 1913, 1916, 1922, 1944.
Brownlow Medalists: Haydn Bunton - 1931,1932,1935, W Smallhorn - 1933, D Ryan - 1936, Allan Ruthven - 1950, Kevin Murray - 1969, Bernie Quinlan - 1981

Fitzroy Football Club formed in 1863 and was admitted to the AFL in 1897. The club played in 13 Grand Finals and won 8. The played in 57 finals series with a winning percentage of 58%  Players at the club won 8 Brownlow medals. They struggled as a club since their last finals appearance in 1986. For the next ten years there were frequent talks of mergers with, either Footscray or North Melbourne.  On 4th  July 1996,  they merged with the Brisbane Bears and were based at the home ground of the Gabba (Brisbane). Eight Fitzroy players were selected by Brisbane before the 1996 National draft, giving the merged club a powerful base to launch a future assault on the Premiership. Fitzroy still field a team in the Victorian Football League using the traditional club colors. Brisbane uses the traditional Fitzroy lion on its playing jerseys along with a more modern lion logo as its club logo. When playing in Victoria, the Brisbane Lions wear the traditional Fitzroy red rather than the Brisbane maroon colors.   

Fremantle

Postal Address: PO Box 381, Fremantle, WA 6959, Australia
Phone: +61-8 9433-7000
Fax: +61-8-9433-7001
World Wide Web: http://www.fremantlefc.com.au
Founded: 1995
Joined AFL: 1995
Home Ground: Subiaco Oval, Perth, Western Australia. Training Fremantle Oval, Fremantle.
Ground Dimensions: Subiaco - 175m by 122m. Goals run east to west.
Senior Coach: Ross Lyon
Official Colors: (Home) Purple & white
Jersey Purple background featuring white chevrons on chest purple background on back
Shorts Purple
Socks Purple 
(Clash) White and purple
Jersey White background featuring purple chevrons on chest white background on back
Shorts White
Socks Purple with white hoops
Nickname: Dockers and Freo
Premierships: None
Brownlow Medalists: Nathan Fyfe - 2015
Prime Sponsors: Programmed (industry support), Woodside (oil)

The port city of Fremantle has a strong football history. In 1882 Unions formed which then became known as Fremantle in 1890. In 1897 a new club, East Fremantle, was formed, which has since won 28 WAFL Premierships.  In 1898 the Fremantle club folded and most players moved to another new club, South Fremantle, and some moved to East Fremantle. In 1995 the AFL were keen to establish a second AFL team in Western Australia and formed Fremantle. The AFL were wary of establishing another team like West Coast, which was given generous drafting concessions and developed into a powerhouse team by 1994. Fremantle thus was required to start from scratch, with no relationship to the two dominant WAFL teams. They were given one concession, which was to draft champion Hawthorn player Ben Allen, who captained a team mostly made up of state-league players who had not been drafted by other VFL/AFL clubs. Ben Allan retired due to knee problems two years later. As a consequence Fremantle struggled to attract and retain quality players. In 2001 they "won" the "wooden spoon". It was not until 2003 that they made their first finals appearance, in which they were trounced by Essendon. In a rare sight, the losing team on leaving the field, was given a standing ovation by their long-suffering supporters, to recognize their season of achievement. The Dockers made the finals again in 2006 and 2010 without significant success. Since 2012 they have become a powerful unit, appearing in the 2013 Grand Final and topping the ladder in 2015. They are yet to achieve a Grand Final win, but with the highly respected Ross Lyons as coach and Nat Fyfe, the 2015 Brownlow medalist, they should continue to be a force.    

Geelong

Postal Address: PO Box 461, Geelong, Vic 3220, Australia
Phone: +61-3-5225-2300
+61-3-5221-8462
World Wide Web: http://www.geelongcats.com.au/
Founded: 858
Joined AFL: 897
Home Ground: Simmonds Stadium in Kardinia Park, Moorabool St, Geelong, Victoria (nee Kardinia Park)
Ground Dimensions: 170m by 117m. Goals run north to south.
Senior Coach: Chris Scott
Official Colors:(Home) Navy Blue & white
Jersey Navy blue and white hoops
Shorts Navy
Socks Navy blue and white hoops
(Clash)  
Jersey Gradient blue with three white Adidas-style stripes and GFC monogram at chest; numbers in white on back
Shorts White
Socks Navy blue and white hoops
Nickname: Cats
Premierships: 1925, 1931, 1937, 1951-52, 1963, 2007, 2009, 2011.
Brownlow Medalists: Edward "Carji" Greeves - 1924, B Smith - 1951, Aaron Lord - 1962, Paul Couch - 1989, Jimmy Bartel - 2007, Gary Ablett Jr - 2009.
Prime Sponsors: Ford Motor Company

Geelong is a port city 74 kilometers (46 miles) south-east of Melbourne. Geelong were first called the Seagulls. Later they were known as the Pivotonians because of the town's "pivotal" role as a seaport. Their first home was Corio Oval, near the Corio Bay. Corio Oval had to be abandoned in 1940 because of the war and the team went to their current home, originally known as Kardinia Park. The Pivotonians became the Cats when a black cat ran onto the ground during the half time break of a juniors game. It was thought this event brought luck to the senior team which began to win games in a poor season. The team then became known as the Cats. Geelong have played in 115 finals with 50 wins and 1 drawn game. They have played in 17 Grand Finals and won 9 premierships. Old supporters claim 1961 was their golden era. A more recent golden era has been from 2007 to 2014 when they played finals every year and won 3 Grand Finals as a dominant team in the competition. 2015 was the first year they have not played finals since 2006. They have recruited some quality players and appear to be ready to challenge for the top eight again.

Gold Coast

Postal Address: PO Box 4952, Gold Coast MC, Queensland 7926, Australia
Phone: +61-7-5510-6000
Fax: +61-7-5594-1354 
World Wide Web: http://www.goldcoastfc.com.au
Founded: 2008
Joined AFL: 2009
Home Ground: Metricon Stadium (formerly Carrara Stadium).
Ground Dimensions: 161m by 134m Goals run north to south.
Senior Coach: Rodney Eade
Official Colors:(Home) Red and Gold
Jersey Red with gold sides GC emblem in front panel
Shorts Red
Socks Red with gold hoop at top
(Clash)
Jersey Blue shoulders with three vs gold, light blue, and  grey. Stylised GC on chest
Shorts Blue
Socks Blue with gold hoop at top
Nickname: Suns
Premierships: None
Brownlow Medalists: None
Prime Sponsors: Fiat, Hostplus (Superannuation)

Gold Coast was established by the AFL to make further inroads into the Rugby-dominated state of Queensland. The area was chosen due to the large number of retired Victorians living on the Gold Coast and the vibrant business and tourism industry of the area. Former West Coast premiership player, Guy McKenna, was the inaugural coach and molded a team which consisted of the cream of young Australia talent, courtesy of generous drafting concessions. The team was not expected to achieve significant success until the young players had matured. They finished last and second last in their first two years, despite attracting the enormously talented Gary Ablett to captain the club. In 2013 and 2014 they showed signs of development by moving to 14th and then 12th place. They were expected to make the finals in 2015 but fell back to 16th place with a run of serious injures, including those to Ablett and young player Jaeger O'Meara. Off-field indiscretions by a number of young stars led to the board seeking a new direction. McKenna was sacked, their champion player, Harley Bennell, was told he was not required and was traded to Fremantle. Experienced coach Rodney Eade was appointed in 2016 and the club has retained a significant number of young and highly talented players who are keen to make amends. The team has enormous potential and should progress to being a genuine force in the competition.

Greater Western Sydney

Postal Address: PO Box 7112, Silverwater, New South Wales 2128, Australia
Phone: +61-2-8736-4200
Fax: +61-2-9746-8754
World Wide Web: http://www.gwsgiants.com.au
Founded: 2009
Joined AFL: 2011
Home Ground: Spotless Stadium (Western Sydney) and Manuka Oval (Canberra). Training Tom Wills Oval, Sydney Olympic Park
Ground Dimensions: Spotless 164m by 127.5m. Goals run north to south;  Manuka 162.5m by 138.4m Goals run north to south
Senior Coach: Leon Cameron
Official Colors:(Home) Orange and grey
Jersey Orange Chest, Dark Grey lower two thirds with stylised slanting white G on left hand front
Shorts Dark Grey
Socks Orange, dark grey hoop at top.
(Clash)  
Jersey White with angling grey lower half from Right arm to bottom of jersey, stylised orange sliding G on left hand front
Shorts Dark grey
Socks Orange, dark grey hoops at top
Nickname: Giants
Premierships: None
Brownlow Medalists: None
Prime Sponsors: Toyo Tires, Virgin Australia.

Greater Western Sydney were established as the second team in the Rugby-dominated state of New South Wales. The AFL hopes that they will achieve the sustained success of their cross-town rivals and tap into the large migrant population of Western Sydney. The club was given generous draft concessions to establish a team. Although they have not attracted a marquee player, such as Gold Coast's Gary Ablett, they have developed a formidable list of players consisting of arguably the best young players in the country. In their first two years they sat in 18th position but in 2014 moved to 14th. The lowly positions allowed them to continue to draft the best young talent available. In 2015 they won 7 of their first 10 games and served notice of their enormous potential. In that year they overtook Gold Coast who had entered the league a year ahead of them. Injuries to key players in the latter half of the season slowed them to just 4 more wins, to finish agonizingly close to achieving their first final series. Given a healthy list in 2016, coach Leon Cameron, could soon be taking revenge on all of the clubs who have previously seen the Giants as an easy opponent.    

Hawthorn

Postal Address: PO Box 829, Mount Waverley, Victoria 3122, Australia
Phone: +61-3-9535-3000
Fax: +61-3 9535-3050
World Wide Web: http://www.hawthornfc.com.au
Founded: 1874
Joined AFL: 1925
Home Ground: Melbourne Cricket Ground, Yarra Park, Jolimont, Victoria
Aurora Stadium, Launceston, Tasmania. (Training) The Ricoh Centre Waverly Park, Mulgrave, Victoria
Ground Dimensions: MCG 160m by 141m. Goals run north to south.  Aurora Stadium 170m by 140m Goals run north/NE to South/SE.
Senior Coach: Alistair Clarkson
Official Colors: Brown & gold
Jersey Brown and gold vertical stripes on front, plain gold back.
Shorts Brown
Socks Gold
Nickname: Hawks
Premierships: 1961, 1971, 1976, 1978, 1983, 1986, 1988-89, 1991, 2008, 2013, 2014, 2015.
Brownlow Medalists: Col Austen - 1949, Robert "Dipper" Dipierdomenico - 1986, John "Rat" Platten - 1987 (tied), Shane Crawford (1999)
Prime Sponsors: Tasmania (state tourism body)

Hawthorn have won the second highest number of premierships (13), but significantly all of these have been since 1961. They were a dominant force in the 1980s and have repeated the dose in the last decade where they have won 4 premierships. Astute tactician, Alistair Clarkson, has guided the club from last place to the position of the dominant team in the competition. Clarkson introduced the tactic of a rolling zone (similar to basketball's 2-3 zone, but it spreads across the field and follows the ball up and down the field) and was successful in defeating the then dominant team Geelong in the 2008 Grand Final. Hawthorn continue to trade for experienced players to keep their premiership window open. They employ an aggressive brand of football which is intended to intimidate opponents, the coach terms this "unsocial football". This, combined with their rolling zone and precise kicking, allows them to play a highly successful form of possession football, where the opposition are denied use of the ball to attack. In 2016 they attempt to win a fourth consecutive Premiership, a feat only done once before (by Collingwood in 1927-1930). Only time will tell if Hawthorn's aging champions are able to succeed.

Melbourne

Postal Address: PO Box 254, East Melbourne, Victoria 3002, Australia
Phone: +61-3-9652-1111
Fax: +61-3-9652-1125
World Wide Web: http://www.melbournefc.com.au/
Founded: 1858 (possibly the oldest club of its kind on Earth)
Joined AFL: 1897
Home Ground: Melbourne Cricket Ground, Yarra Park, Jolimont, Vic. Training at AAMI Park.
Ground Dimensions: 160m by 141m. Goals run east to west
Senior Coach: Paul Roos
Official Colors: Blue and red
Jersey Navy blue with red yoke
Shorts Navy blue
Socks Red
Nickname: Demons
Premierships: 1900, 1926, 1939-40-41, 1948, 1955-56-57, 1959-60, 1964
Brownlow Medalists: IP Warne-Smith - 1926, Dr Don Cordner - 1946, B Wilson - 1982, P Moore - 1984, Jim Stynes - 1991, Shane Woewodin - 2000 
Prime Sponsors: AHG (Automotive retailer)

Melbourne are the traditional tenants of the MCG and have a proud history of winning 12 premierships. They have played in 84 finals and won 49 of those games. They have appeared in 18 Grand Finals. Unfortunately since their last premiership (in 1964) they have struggled to have an impact. Their last Grand Final appearance was in 1988 when they lost to a free-running Hawthorn (where players used a new tactic of running in waves, or groups, to handball over opponents and create free space for attacking the goals). From 1987 to 2006 they were considered "an average team", that appeared in 7 of a possible 15 finals series. Since the consecutive "wooden spoons" of  2008-2009 they have been consistent cellar dwellers and have chewed through 7 coaches and flirted with bankruptcy. In 2014 the highly respected former Sydney premiership coach, Paul Roos, accepted a position as coach and the club moved from 17th position in that year to 13th in 2015 with 7 wins. Before Roos arrived, the club struggled to retain some of its top young draft picks, as they have headed to more successful teams or higher salaries. However, after many years of frustration the club is beginning to build a strong nucleus of talented players. It is expected that 2016 could see continued improvement and the emergence of a team that could bring a modicum of long-awaited joy to their loyal fans. Roos has indicated his appointment is only temporary and ominously key forward and the AFL's 2015 Rising Star Jesse Hogan has delayed contract negotiations until the end of 2016.   

North Melbourne

Postal Address: PO Box 158, North Melbourne, Victoria 3051, Australia
Phone: +61-3-9320-2400
Fax: +61-3-9320-2401
World Wide Web: http://www.nmfc.com.au
Founded: 1869
Joined AFL: 1925
Home Ground: Etihad Stadium, Docklands. Blundstone Arena, Hobart, Tasmania.
(Training) Arden Street Oval, North Melbourne.
Ground Dimensions: Etihad 159.5m by 128.8m. Goals run north to south. Blundstone 160m by 124m. Goals north to south.
Senior Coach: Brad Scott
Official Colors: Royal blue & white
Jersey (Traditional) Royal blue and white vertical stripes
(Alternative) Traditional stripes above running kangaroo in royal blue silhouette on white
Shorts Royal blue
Socks Royal blue
Nickname: Kangaroos
Premierships: 1975, 1977, 1996, 1999
Brownlow Medalists: Noel Teasdale - 1965, Keith Greig - 1973,1974, Malcolm Blight - 1978, Ross Glendinning - 1983
Prime Sponsors: Mazda, Spirit of Tasmania (ferry)

North Melbourne tasted ultimate success in the mid-70s and 90s. The Kangaroos became the first "traveling team" in football history. They proposed the concept to the AFL during the 1998 season, and played five "home games" at the Sydney Cricket Ground in 1999. As part of the initiative, they dropped the "North" from their name and became simply the Kangaroos. They then shifted their alternative "home" to Manuka Oval in Canberra, the Australian capital. In 2008, the AFL offered the Kangaroos a lucrative deal to relocate from Melbourne to the Gold Coast in Queensland, but the club refused. In 2016 the club listed Hobart in Tasmania as their alternative "home" ground, and have scheduled 3 home games at Blundstone Arena. Their most recent 'successful' year was 2007 when they finished 4th. Since then they have hovered around the twilight zone of being just in or just out of the top eight. This is considered a horror position for clubs, as they neither achieve significant success, or get the top draft picks; leading to a continuance of mediocrity. In 2015 they were good at times, but inconsistent to finish 8th. They have appeared in Preliminary Finals for the past two years, but their ability to progress into the final game of the year has been questioned. 2016 will see them continue with most of the same list, as they were largely unsuccessful in trading for the players they needed. Unfortunately, most of their stars are approaching retirement and the premiership window could close, despite their desperation. On the positive side, their American import Eric Wallace has been added to their roster and could have an impact in 2016.

Port Adelaide

Postal Address: PO Box 379, Port Adelaide, SA 5015, Australia.
Phone: +61-8-8447-4044
Fax: +61-8-8447-8633
World Wide Web: http://www.portadelaidefc.com.au
Founded: 1870
Joined AFL: 1997
Home Ground: Adelaide Oval, Adelaide, South Australia. Training at Alberton Oval and Adelaide Oval.
Ground Dimensions: 167m by 123m; Goals run north to south.
Senior Coach: Ken Hinkley
Official Colors: Black, teal & white
Jersey Teal blue, white and black bands with "lightning bolt" contrast strokes at the left shoulder
Shorts Black
Socks Black
Nickname: Power
Premierships: 2004
Brownlow Medalists: None
Prime Sponsors: Energy Australia (electricity), Renault

On December 13 1994, the SANFL announced that the Port Adelaide Football Club (currently playing in the SANFL) would become South Australia's second team in the AFL when a new license became available.

The SANFL was told to prepare a possibility for a 2nd South Australian team as early as 1996. (The Adelaide Crows had a 5 year market exclusivity deal in SA until then.) Debate then arose as to when/if Port Adelaide would be admitted, as the AFL was not keen to expand to a 17 team competition. It had been previously foreseen that a Victorian club would fold or merge thus providing the way for a license being made available; Fitzroy's failure and merger with Brisbane in 1996 finally made it possible.

Another issue to be resolved was that of Port Adelaide's jersey design and logo. Unlike the other expansion teams, Port had an already existing history in the SANFL - the Port Adelaide Magpies, with a black and white vertically striped jersey. The name and colors, however, were already 'owned' by Collingwood in the AFL. Port had already registered 6 names as possibilities, including the Pirates, and the Raiders, and were considered likely to retain black and white as their colors but add silver in addition. But within weeks of their admission in 1996, Port Power introduced a new organization with entirely new uniforms incorporating teal blue instead of silver (either of which bothered traditionalists to no end). There remains a Port Adelaide Magpie team in the SANFL. They have played in 22 finals games, winning 11. They have played in two Grand Finals. After their first (and only) Premiership in 2004, the Power ventured as low as 16th in 2011 and spent some time building their list. By 2013 they had jumped back into the top 8 to finish 7th and then 5th in 2014. At the start of 2015 they were premiership favorites but were hit by injuries and retirements of senior players. Their best was as good as any team but they lacked consistency and unexpected losses to two weak teams, resulted in Port Adelaide missing the finals and finishing 9th. They recruited well for 2016 and are expected to figure in the 2016 finals. The team has a core of very talented players and their immediate destiny is in their own hands. It would be foolhardy to assume the 2015 thrashing of (eventual premiers) Hawthorn was just a flash in the pan.

Richmond

Postal Address: PO Box 48, Richmond, Vic 3121, Australia
Phone: +61-3-9426-4400
Fax: +61-3-9421-2846
World Wide Web: http://www.richmondfc.com.au
Founded: 1885
Joined AFL: 1908
Home Ground: Melbourne Cricket Ground, Yarra Park, Jolimont, Vic.
(Training) Punt Road Oval in Yarra Park, Punt Road, Richmond, Vic.
Ground Dimensions: 160m by 141m. Goals run east to west
Senior Coach: Damien Hardwick
Official Colors: Yellow & black
Jersey Black with yellow sash
Shorts Black
Socks Black and yellow hoops
Nickname: Tigers
Premierships: 1920-21, 1932, 1934, 1943, 1967, 1969, 1973-74, 1980
Brownlow Medalists: Stan Judkins - 1930, JW Morris - 1948, Graeme Wright - 1952,1954, Ian Stewart - 1971
Prime Sponsors: Jeep, Bingle (car insurance)

Richmond has a long history and has played in 21 Grand Finals to win 10 premierships. The last premiership; however, was 1980 when Richmond was one of the glamor teams during the early 1980s. They lost the 1982 Grand Final to Carlton and have spent many years in the doldrums, with only making serious inroads into the finals in 1995 and 2001. In 2007 the "won" the "wooden spoon" for coming last in the competition. Since then have lingered around second-last position (2 years) and then 12th position (2 years). They have broken through to the finals from 2013-2015, finishing 5th, 8th and 5th in the respective years; however, in all three years they have failed in the first week. As a consequence pressure has mounted on coach Damian Harwick to produce better results and move the team deeper into a finals series. Hardwick is a clever tactician and rescued last year's poor start to the season by moving from a free-flowing (running and handball) 'corridor-based' (along the center spine of the field) game to a 'tempo' game when required. He mostly used the 'tempo' game, whenever the opposition looked like scoring a series of successive goals; so slowing the tempo with players retaining possession of the ball - rather than attacking - gave his team time to settle for their next attack. Hardwick has a number of quality key players at his disposal, including Martin, Delidio, Rance and Jack Reiwoldt. The team will need to achieve sustained success to build self-belief, which may have been damaged by poor performances in finals. 2016 could be a significant year for the Tigers. Coach Hardwick will be hoping it is significant for the right reasons.

St Kilda

Postal Address: PO Box 2109, Seaford, Victoria 3198, Australia
Phone: +61-1300-467-246
Fax: +61-3-9555-6917
World Wide Web: http://www.saints.com.au
Founded: 1873
Joined AFL: 1897
Home Ground: Etihad Stadium, Docklands, Melbourne, Victoria
(Training) Moorabbin Oval, Moorabbin, Victoria
Ground Dimensions: 159.5m by 128.8m. Goals run north to south
Senior Coach: Allan Richardson
Official Colors: White, black, & red
Jersey (Home) Red, white and black vertical stripes, crest on left breast, black back and sleeves, red cuffs on sleeves, white collar
Jersey (Clash) Outsized crest with black cross, red top panels and black bottom panels, red bottom, crest on left breast; remainder as before
Shorts Black
Socks Red, white and black hoops.
Nickname Saints
Premierships: 1966
Brownlow Medalists: C Watson - 1925, B Gleeson - 1957, N Roberts - 1958, Verdun Howell - 1959, Ian Stewart - 1965, 1966, R Smith - 1967, Tony Lockett - 1987, Robert Harvey - 1997, 1998
Prime Sponsors: Dare (iced coffee) Pepper money (financial services)

St Kilda is one of the foundation clubs of the AFL. They have played in 8 Grand Finals for 6 losses one draw, with their only win ( a famous 1 point win) in 1966. Their cruelest result was in 2010, when in the dying seconds the ball bounced in an improbable fashion in front of their goals - to score a point instead of a goal - and created a draw. Distraught, they easily lost the replay the following week to Collingwood. Since the turn of this century they have mostly been considered a mostly competitive, but unlucky, team. Unfortunately they have finished last in the competition a stunning 27 times. Their collection of "wooden spoons" far exceeds the collection of the next "biggest loser", North Melbourne, who have gathered 13. In more recent times, St Kilda finished 3rd, 4th and 6th from 2004-2006. At the end of 2006 the new board sacked autocratic coach Grant Thomas and installed a highly rated assistant-coach from Sydney, Ross Lyon. In 2007 the team just missed out on the finals, but from 2008 to 2011 they finished in 4th, 1st, 3rd and 6th position on the ladder. They played in the 2009 and 2010 Grand Finals without success. Late in 2010, the board at St Kilda delayed renewing Lyon's contract; and Fremantle controversially swooped to appoint Lyon to Fremantle, hours after sacking their popular coach Mark Harvey. Since then St Kilda have been near the bottom of the ladder, collecting yet another "wooden spoon" in 2014. Replacement coach Scott Watters was sacked at the end of 2013 and Allan Richardson (a former Collingwood defender) was appointed in 2014. In 2015 the Saints were in re-building mode, but showed a new determination; and despite some big losses had six wins and a significant round 21 draw against Geelong. Their trademark has been hard work and toughness. It is expected they will continue to improve in 2016 but a finals appearance may not be made until 2017 or later. They have been bolstered by several quality recruits, including American-born ruckman Jason Holmes, who has shown excellent development. Holmes played college basketball for Mississippi State.

Sydney

Postal Address: PO Box 173, Paddington, NSW 2021, Australia
Phone: +61-2-9339-9123
Fax: +61-2-9339-9100
  http://www.sydneyswans.com.au
Founded: 1874 as South Melbourne
Joined AFL: 1897; relocated to Sydney in 1982
Home Ground: Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney, New South Wales
Ground Dimensions: 155m by 136m. Goals run north to south
Senior Coach: Paul Roos
Official Colors: Red & white
Jersey White with red "V" yoke, with Opera House roof in silhouette at base; red back, red cuffs and collar
Shorts Red
Socks Red
Nickname: Swans
Premierships: 1909, 1918, 1933, 2005, 2012. 
Brownlow Medalists: Herbie Matthews - 1940, R Clegg - 1949, FW Goldsmith - 1955, Bob Skilton - 1959, 1963, 1968, Paul Bedford - 1970, Graham Teasdale - 1977, Barry Round - 1981, Greg Williams - 1986, Gerard Healy - 1988, Paul Kelly - 1995, Adam Goodes  - 2003 (co-winner with Nathan Buckley and Mark Ricciuto), Adam Goodes - 2006
Prime Sponsors: QBE Insurance

Sydney originally formed as South Melbourne in 1874 and joined the AFL in 1897 as a foundation team. During the 1920s they took on the nickname of "the Swans" due to the large number of Western Australians playing for them. (The black swan appears on the WA flag.)  In 1982 the club relocated to Sydney. The team has won 5 premierships and has been runners-up 11 times.  Their most successful era has been since they moved to Sydney. As a result of the move, the AFL expanded the club's salary cap with a "cost-of-living-allowance" (based on Sydney being a more expensive place to live); which the club used to attract star players from other teams. This allowance ceased at the end of 2015. The team has appeared in the finals series every season for the past 20 years, except for 2000, 2002 and 2009. No other club has matched this consistency.  In that period the Swans have played in Grand Finals in 1996, 2005, 2006, 2012 and 2014, and won three premierships. 2015 was a relatively disappointing year for Sydney, the team played inconsistently and exited the finals with two consecutive losses. They carried significant injuries to key players all season, but despite this they still finished fourth on the premiership ladder. Canadian star Mike Pyke has retired but there are plenty of good players to return from injury or illness, including star player Lance Franklin. Sydney are expected to figure significantly in the 2016 finals.

University

Joined AFL: 1908
Home Ground: 1908-10 East Melbourne Cricket Ground, Jolimont, Vic. (The EMCG was located in what is now a railyard next to the MCG.)
1911-14 Melbourne Cricket Ground, Jolimont, Vic.
Ground Dimensions: East Melbourne Cricket Ground (dimensions not recorded), MCG 160m by 141m
Official Colors: Blue and black
Jersey Black with blue V neck and cuffs
Shorts White
Socks Black with blue tops
Nickname: Students
Premierships: None
Brownlow Medalists: None

University had trouble retaining players due to the transitory nature of students and their schedules of exams and holidays. The advent of World War One exacerbated the problems and the club folded. While some players crossed to Melbourne, there is no evidence that University actually merged with Melbourne as some believe. 112 players are recorded as having played with the club.

West Coast

Postal Address: PO Box 508, Subiaco, WA 6008, Australia
Phone: +61-8-9381-1111
Fax: +61-8-9388-2541
World Wide Web: http://www.westcoasteagles.com.au
Founded: 1987
Joined AFL: 1987
Home Ground: Domain Stadium (formerly Subiaco Oval)  Perth, Western Australia
Ground Dimensions: 175m by 122m. Goals run east to west.
Senior Coach: Adam Simpson
Official Colors: Navy and yellow, ochre and blue eagle, yellow panels
(Home)  
Jersey Royal blue with yellow,  ochre and blue eagle with yellow panels
Shorts Navy with gold trim
Socks Navy with gold hoop at top
(Away)
Alternate Jersey Royal blue with yellow, ochre and blue eagle with yellow panels.
Shorts White with blue trim
Socks Royal blue with gold hoop at top
Nickname: Eagles
Premierships: 1992, 1994, 2006
Brownlow Medalists: Chris Judd - 2004, Ben Cousins - 2005, Matt Priddis - 2014.
Prime Sponsors: SGIO Insurance, Bankwest (bank)

From the time they were admitted to the AFL, West Coast were a powerful club. Generous draft concessions gave them the best young talent in Western Australia including 7 players who were under-age All Australians. By their second year they had sacked their foundation coach, former Fitzroy ruckman Ron Alexander, and appointed WA legend John Todd and played their first final, which they lost by 2 points to Melbourne. The next year they missed the finals and Todd was replaced by former dour Footscray defender, Mick Malthouse. Malthouse brought a tough defensive attitude to the club and they missed only two final series between 1990 and 2007. In the early days, some Victorian clubs complained the Eagles were effectively a state team playing in their suburban competition. In that golden period they won their three premierships. Malthouse had run out of support by by the end of 1999 and was replaced by former Hawthorn midfielder Ken Judge in 2000. In the two years Judge coached, they failed to make the finals, so he was replaced by dual premiership captain and club legend John Worsfold. Worsfold again had the Eagles playing in finals from 2002 until 2007. This period included two epic Grand Finals in against Sydney, in 2005 and 2006, where both teams won a premiership, by just 1 point . West Coast finished third in 2007; but then the club entered its darkest period. Former champion wingman Chris Mainwairing died from a cocaine overdose, their champion player Ben Cousins was sacked and later admitted to cocaine addition. Several other players were charged with offenses relating to illicit drugs. By 2008 Captain Chris Judd had resigned to return to Melbourne and play with Carlton. The Eagles slumped on the ladder to 15th and 11th in 2008 and 2009 respectively and then "won" their first and only "wooden spoon" by coming last on the ladder in 2010. Worsfold engineered a mini revival in 2011 and 2012, when the team finished 4th and 5th respectively. However, in 2013 they slumped to 13th and he resigned. Former North Melbourne player, Adam Simpson was appointed in 2014 and the team moved up to 9th place, just missing out on the finals. 2015 saw a stunning improvement with the team finishing 2nd on the ladder. During the year only Fremantle, North Melbourne and Hawthorn were able to get within 50 points of the Simpson coached machine. They played their worst game of the year in the Grand Final where they were obliterated by Hawthorn. It is expected the humiliation delivered by the Hawks will drive the Eagles to go one better in 2016. In addition they have recruited well, adding Jack Redden from Brisbane and the speedy Lewis Jetta from Sydney.

Western Bulldogs

(formerly Footscray)

Postal Address: PO Box 4112, Delivery Center, Footscray West, Victoria 3012, Australia
Phone: +61-1300-463-647
Fax: +61-3-9680-6103
World Wide Web: http://www.westernbulldogs.com.au
Founded: 1883
Joined AFL: 1925
Home Ground: Etihad Stadium, Docklands. Training Whitten Oval, University of Victoria.
Ground Dimensions: 159.5m by 128.8m. Goals run north to south 
Senior Coach: Luke Beveridge
Official Colors: Blue, white & red
Jersey Royal blue, red & white chest hoop with stylized bulldog
Shorts Royal blue (home, white (away)
Socks Royal blue with red & white band at top
Nickname: Bulldogs
Premierships: 1954
Brownlow Medalists: Allan Hopkins - 1930, N Ware - 1941, P Box - 1956, John Schultz - 1960, Gary Dempsey - 1975, K Templeton - 1980, Brad Hardie - 1985, Tony Liberatore - 1990, Scott Wynd - 1992, Adam Cooney - 2008.
Prime Sponsors: Mission Foods (produces flour and flatbreads)

In just over 90 years the Bulldogs have one just one Grand Final (defeating Melbourne in 1954). Their history has not been littered with success, but equally they have rarely "won" the "wooden spoon", for finishing last on the premiership table. They have only been awarded "the spoon" on four occasions which compares very favorably with fellow one-premiership-team St Kilda's 27. Their last appearance in a Grand Final was in 1961 against Hawthorn, which they lost. Since entering the competition their overall winning ratio is 45%  In more recent times they have had more success. In 1997 they changed their name from Footscray to The Western Bulldogs, in an attempt to attract neighboring Fitzroy supporters, who perhaps had become disenchanted with their club's move to Brisbane.  Under coach Terry Wallace, the Western Bulldogs appeared in the finals from 1997 to 2000. Wallace was replaced by Peter Rhode in 2003 and "won" their 4th wooden spoon and then finished 14th the year after. In 2005, new coach Rodney Eade added a new toughness to "the dogs" and finished just outside the top eight; and then reached 8th in 2006. They had a minor hiccup in 2007 and dropped back to  back to 13th, before achieving 3rd position the next two years and 4th in 2010. Eade's era ended in 2011 when the team dropped back to 11th. Brendan McCarthy took over for the next three years, but to no avail, with the team finishing 15th twice and then 14th in 2014. New coach Luke Beveridge was enticed from his position as defensive coach of the highly successful Hawks; but with a number of quality players leaving the Bulldogs and one of their best (Tom LIberatore) injured, it was expected that the weakened dogs would dish up "more of the same". Beveridge soon proved the critics wrong by teaching the young dogs to "take the game on" by playing 'fast footy' and back themselves to take risks. The tactic worked, as better credentialed clubs found themselves struggling with the furious pace that the Bulldogs applied to the game. This fast ball movement resulted in the Bulldogs beating every club in 2015, except Fremantle and Geelong, to finish in 6th place with 14 wins. This was a stunning turnaround in form, and Beveridge was judged the 2015 Coach of the Year. Liberatore returned in 2016 and the Bulldogs have the chance to build on the strong form established.  It will be fascinating to see if Beveridge's game plan can overcome any new counter-tactics. In 2015 the Bulldogs won the admiration of most supporters who adopted them as their 'second team'.

Statistical Trivia from the AFL (and VFL)

Most Premierships:

16 - Carlton (most recent 1995)
16 - Essendon (most recent 2000)

Most "Wooden Spoons" (Last Place):

26 - St Kilda (most recent 1988)

Highest Score in an AFL match:

37.17 239 points - Geelong defeated Brisbane Round 7, 1993

Lowest Score in an AFL match:

0.1 1 point - St Kilda lost to Geelong in Round 3 of the Section B Finals, 1899

Most Goals by a player:

Game: 18 - Fred Fanning (Melbourne) vs St Kilda, Round 19, 1947
Season: 150 - Bob Pratt (South Melbourne), 1934
  150 - Peter Hudson (Hawthorn), 1971
Career: 1360 - Tony "Plugger" Lockett (St. Kilda/Sydney)

Lockett kicked his 1300th VFL/AFL goal for the Swans after the quarter-time siren against Collingwood in Round 10, 1999 at the SCG, breaking a 62-year-old record. Gordon "Nuts" Coventry scored 1299 goals in 18 seasons at Collingwood (1920-37).

Most Consecutive Wins:

23 Games - Geelong Round 12,1952 to Round 13, 1953
Technically, and it is a point of debate, the streak could actually be considered as 26 without a loss, as there was a draw in that mix. 

Most Consecutive Losses:

51 Games - University Round 4, 1912 to Round 18, 1914

Longest Premiership Drought:

72 years: Sydney (1933-2005)

Yet to win a Premiership:

Fremantle (joined 1995)
Gold Coast Suns (joined 2011)
Greater Western Sydney Giants (joined 2012)

Yet to 'win' the Wooden Spoon:

Adelaide (joined 1991)
Port Adelaide (joined 1997)

Oldest Player:

43 years - Vic Cumberland, St Kilda, 1920

Youngest Player:

15 years 287 days - Kevin Bromage, Collingwood, 1953

Most Consecutive Matches by a player:

244 - Jim Stynes, Melbourne, Round 16, 1987 to Round 4, 1998

Longest Finals Absence:

32 Years - Hawthorn, 1925 - 1957

Worst team:

Debatable. University has the longest losing streak of 51, but St Kilda's opening few years were pretty bad. From Round 1 1897 (the first VFL matches) to Round 5 1903, St Kilda's record was 2 wins - 101 losses - 1 draw . In fact, St Kilda's first win was actually a draw against Melbourne, which they later won on protest to break a losing streak of 48. Only University's demise prior to WW I produced something to match St Kilda's form.

Best Goal Kicking Average:

5.63 goals/game - Peter Hudson (Hawthorn) (727 goals in 130 games)

Origin of St Kilda's Uniform Crest

Round 5, 1933 St Kilda vs North Melbourne:

Nine Saints players were seriously injured during the game. They eventually finished the game with only 15 men on the ground, many still injured (there was no interchange bench in those days). Despite this, St Kilda managed to hang on for a 97 to 83 win. Emotional officials pinned badges of recognition on the survivors' jerseys. The badge is now incorporated into the uniform.

Fitzroy Win Wooden Spoon AND Premiership in Same Year

1916 - Five of the nine VFL clubs went into recess due to the continuation of World War I. This left only Carlton, Collingwood, Richmond and Fitzroy to play a 12 round season. Fitzroy ended the season on the bottom of the Premiership Ladder with a 2-9-1 record. A Final Four system was in use, so Fitzroy still got to play in the Finals. Producing a remarkable form reversal, Fitzroy won all three finals matches to become Premiers, defeating Carlton in the Grand Final 85 to 56.

Club Nicknames

Many AFL clubs have not always played under their current nicknames. Some examples:

Brisbane Bears
Carlton Navy Blues, Brewers, Bulldogs, Cockatoos
Collingwood Colliwobbles (not complimentary)
Essendon Same Olds, Dons (still in everyday use)
Fitzroy Maroons, Gorillas
Footscray Tricolors
Geelong Pivotonians (Geelong is "Pivot of the Colony (Victoria)," as Boston is "Hub of New England")
Hawthorn Mayblooms, Mustard Pots
Melbourne Redlegs (still seen occasionally), Fuchsias
North Melbourne Shinboners (still seen occasionally)
Port Adelaide Magpies (present SANFL)
Richmond Yellow and Black Angels, Wasps
St. Kilda Seagulls, Panthers
South Melbourne Southerners, Bloods (still in everyday use), Blood Stained Angels
University Professors, Students

NOTE: "Camrys" is an often-used, but sarcastic, nickname for the Adelaide Crows. The Toyota Camry brand name has appeared on Crows jerseys since Day One.

AFL Attendances

Change and expansion in the AFL certainly haven't hurt attendance figures. Crowd figures have risen steadily over the years with 2005 recording an all time high of 6,763,852 fans attending matches. The highest attendance for 2005 was at the MCG as 91,828 fans witnessed the Grand Final thriller between Sydney and West Coast. 

The record crowd for an Australian Rules Football Game was the 1970 VFL Grand Final between Carlton and Collingwood at the MCG. It drew a crowd of 121,696. Subsequent modifications to the MCG (the building of the Great Southern Stand reduced capacity to just under 100,000, and Cricket Club members with reserved seats in their pavilion always stay away in numbers). However, in 2004, a new redevelopment plan saw the demolition and reconstruction of several sections of stands which brought the capacity back up to a potential 6 figure number. The work was completed in time for the 2006 Commonwealth Games. 

The record for a round was Round 22 of 1998 (August 28-30), with attendance of 367,974. This last weekend of 1998 featured seven clubs still in contention for six spots in the finals, and the final appearance of legendary full-forward Jason Dunstall.

Admission to an AFL ground cost $13.50 in 1999, and was $18 in 2005.  2000. This merely buys your way into the stadium, where you hopefully will find standing room somewhere. Seats are extra, if they are available. Prices are always higher for finals and the Grand Final with those prices usually announced late in the season.

Club Memberships

One of the distinctive features of Australian clubs is that their fans can become dues-paying members. A simple support membership can be had at most clubs for A$90 or less, which buys access to the club's social club facilities, a membership card with season fixture, and the club magazine. Additional money buys access to reserved seating, among other perks.

Social clubs generally include restaurants, bars, banquet halls, the club trophy case, and a gambling hall featuring video *gambling term* machines. The "pokies" generate substantial revenue for the clubs, and for the contractors who operate them.

While fans can purchase memberships from before the preseason starts right through to the end of the year, the official cut off date for official tallies is June 30. Published membership numbers for 2004 and for several recent years were as follows:

Club Members
  2004  2014 2015
Adelaide 45,642 54,249 52,920
Brisbane 30,221 24,012 25,408
Carlton 32,095 47,485 47,305
Collingwood 41,128 79,347 75,037
Essendon 33,469 60,646 60,818
Fremantle 32,780 48,771 51,433
Geelong 25,021 43,803 44,312
Gold Coast n/a 13,478 13,643
Greater Western Sydney n/a 13,040 13,480
Hawthorn 31,255 68,650 72,924
North Melbourne 23,420 39,060 41,012
Melbourne 20,647 35,911 35,953
Port Adelaide 36,340 48,968 54,057
Richmond 27,133 66,122 70,809
St. Kilda 30,534 30,759 32,745
Sydney 25,010 40,126 48,836
West Coast 40,792 58,529 60,221
Western Bulldogs 19,295 31,538 35,222

Sponsorships

The "Prime Sponsors" listed above contribute enough money to their clubs to have their advertising placed on the players' uniforms; this has been allowed since 1977 in the VFL and AFL, and is even more ubiquitous in European soccer and other Australian sporting leagues. As an indication of how much money is involved, the Western Bulldogs ended their long-term relationship with Orica (the former ICI Australia) in 1998 to seek A$1,000,000 support per year. They signed up the major cellular carrier Vodafone just before the 1999 season started, after they lowered their expectations to $800,000.

Sponsors can ask for other favors as well; Carlton's oval at Princes Park was named for the Optus telecom company (the naming rights money helped pay for the seats in the Legends Stand opened in 1997); they lost that sponsorship in 2005 and the new sponsor, MC Labour, took over and the Oval was renamed again. An Adelaide Crows club song began "Here we go, Camry Crows..."  Other unusual favors include:

  • For Round 2 of the 1997 season.¬† M&M/Mars paid Carlton 200,000 Aussie dollars to abandon "the old dark navy blues" for the week (their first jumper change since early in this century) and change colors to help promote the introduction of blue M&Ms in Australia.¬† Fair dinkum.¬† :^)
  • For Round 13 in 1999, Garry Hocking of Geelong agreed to change his name to Whiskas (a cat food brand) for the week in exchange for A$100,000-200,000 cash for the club and for a local animal shelter.¬† The club's ground, originally¬†Kardinia Park, has been renamed several times in the past few years, going from Kardinia, to Shell, to Baytec, and now is known as Skilled Stadium.¬†
  • During one season, for one game, St. Kilda wore a predominantly yellow uniform to honor a sponsorship with Pura Milk

Sponsorship deals don't always work out. Before the 1998 season even started, Collingwood tore up a A$3 million sponsorship deal with Viatel Communications Group when they found out that they were among many conned by Viatel's charismatic chairman John Massey, having never received a penny of promised support. The club signed with Primus Communications for 1998 instead.

Believe it or not, the AFL's prime sponsors for many years were McDonald's and Coca-Cola.  (Believe it. Both are known for their skill at playing to local audiences. We still remember a Coke ad screened in the USA during the Centennial Olympic Games in 1996; the company hired AFL players to put up a red-and-white banner of the sort players run through on game day lettered "Always for the Fans", and had fans run onto the MCG through it.) The Coca-Cola script logo pervaded AFL promotional materials and was painted on AFL football grounds, and the Golden Arches were stamped on the ball itself.  (The author suspects that Aussies are not uniformly thrilled with this.). The current major AFL sponsor is Toyota. However, the preseason competition, the Rising Star Award, and the juniors tournaments are all sponsored by The National Australia Bank (NAB).

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