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I can understand avoiding an odd number for a game win - in the event of a draw, you get into fractions and that's just messy.

But why isn't a game win 2 points, a draw 1 point each? It's not that it makes a huge difference, but it just seems a bit odd they'd go with 4 and 2+2.

Was there ever a circumstance where premiership game points would be split up a different way that might explain this?

Just curious....

Posted by ovalball on July 30, 2008

Well, George, your picture may be gone, but I can tell you're still smokin' somethin'.Image removed.

Now that was just for fun---but I think the simple answer is that making it 4-2 increases the value of a win. 2-1 makes a win just one point more than a draw. 4-2 makes it two points.

I know there are not that many draws and in both formulas a win "doubles" a draw, but the 4-2 formula stresses the importance---and value of winning.

Posted by ovalball on July 31, 2008

---of course you have soccer where a win is 3 points and a draw 1. Better yet, rugby union, where a win is four points and a draw 2, but you get a bonus point for scoring more than four tries in a match (win or lose) or even get a bonus point if you lose by seven points or less.

Then there's baseball where a game is really a half-game------Image removed.

Aussie Rules is making more sense, huh?Image removed.

Posted by admincms on August 30, 2008

We consulted with the AFL Media office and the AFL's official historian and the verdict is:  they don't know either!  The best they can tell us is that it is a historical artifact going back many years.  :study:

AFANA Chairman and Site Admin

Posted by Quolls19 on July 16, 2019

Came across this thread recently and I have the answer

In 1888 the Victorian Football Association, which up until that time was more of an Rules and law setting organisation, had become concerned, as had some of the club delegates, that the football fixtures and therefore the premiership was compromised by the secretaries of the senior football clubs organising all local games. They worked out the schedule of games between themselves and some delegates and the Association believed there was some collusion between certain clubs to avoid others so to have a more favourable draw. During this period senior clubs could play junior clubs and those games would count towards the win ratio for determining the premiership. Some clubs had the opinion that others were avoiding them as to gain better gate takings against bigger drawing clubs

After much discussion and dissension over several months the VFA committee rushed through a ruling that a 3 member panel appointed by them would organise fixtures each year.

Shortly after this they also implemented a points system to determine the premiership. The 4 Points win 2 points draw was discussed intently and finally agreed to be implemented for the following season. The first proposal put forward by the secretary of the VFA was for 3 points for a win and 1 for a draw, which of course meant it would take 3 draws to equal a win, as draws were common in those early days it is possible that this was the reason for the accepted system, a draw is worth half of a win. It is important to remember that at this time, although recorded, behinds did not count as a score. initially a ratio system was used in conjunction with the points system, this evolved into % used now.

I was told many years ago that it was 4 2 1, 1 being for an abandoned match or one that could not be played or rescheduled, however there is no evidence for this at all and as the first proposal was for 3 & 1 it does not ring true.

The South Australian Football Association had implemented a 2 point win 1 point draw system a couple of years earlier, together with association responsibility of fixture organisation. The two associations did not have a great relationship, SA considered the game to be “Australasian” and not “Victorian” Rules. South Australia also had some slightly different rules than Victoria, they introduced boundary umpires and centre bounces well before the VFA.

The South Australian Lacrosse Association were using a points system of 1 for a win and 1/2 for a draw before the SAFA introduced theirs.

The Argus  Saturday 8 October 1887


Mr. T. S. MARSHALL, the hon. secretary, read the following scheme for determing the premiership list, and proposed that it should be adopted and tried for next year :-

Scheme for fixing positions of clubs in premiership list, based on performances for season 1887, four points for a win, two for a draw. 

Mr. J. H. SIMPSON. seconded the motion, which was agreed to after a short discussion.


Although several important football matches have already been played, theseason, as defined by the association, commences today, and the results of matches which take place this afternoon between senior teams will count towards the premiership, The results, according to a resolution carried at the close of last season, will be determined by points, and not according to themethod hitherto adopted, which was admittedly faulty. 

Anything like a simple method would hardly have served the purpose, but Mr. T. S Marshall's scale of points judged by the results of last season, goes further towards gaining this end than anything else yet suggested. It was not submitted last year until the season had finally closed, and had the premiership

for that year been settled according to points, it would have left the first eight clubs in exactly the same position they occupied according to the old rule. Indeed, the only alteration made by its application was to place Melbourne in front of Essendon, thus reversing their positions in the official list for the year. In face of these facts a great many followers of the game were of opinion that no

change is necessary. The club chief, at the end of the season, had, under the old rule, sustained fewest defeats was declared premier, though it was possible that, instead of winning a great many matches the real test of merit, they might simply have drawn them. Thus a draw was as good as a win, but under Mr. Marshall's points, system it will only carry half as many points as a victory. Very few people will be inclined to think that of the clubs each playing 20 matches, the one winning 10 and drawing 10 is superior to the club winning 19, and, perhaps, by the unlucky chances, which will happen in all games, losing 1. According to the new rule, the former would take precedence,

but Mr. Marshall's system would give the latter the advantage by 76 points to 

60 points. In the event of all teams playing exactly the same number of matches, a system of giving four points for a win and two for a draw

would work with absolute fairness and simplicity, but in order to provide for the unequal number of matches played a system of proportion is necessary. 



Sportsman Wednesday, 1 June 1887




The delegates to the above association met at Young and Jackson's Hotel on Friday night last. 

Mr. Keogh (St. Kilda) was voted to the chair.

The 4 points Scheme.

Mr. Marshall submitted a draft of a scheme for the determination of the premiership and places in the football field by a system of points based on " 4 points for a win and 2 points for a draw." (Full details of the scheme are givenelsewhere) Mr. Marshall thought that the scheme would work satisfactorily if each club arranged one match with each other. The second match could take care of itself. If only 10 clubs were represented on the association,there would be no trouble in determining be premiership and places by points.



A week or two ago we published a scheme prepared by Mr. F. S. Marshall, hon, secretary of the Victorian Football Association, for fixing the premiership by points on the the basis of three points for a win and one point for a draw. A discussion was to have taken place on the subject on Friday night last, but it was again postponed till the next meeting owing to another suggestion hiring been made that four points should be allowed for a win and two points for a draw. Mr. Marshall accordingly worked out another table on that basis.

In submitting it he stated that he thought the premiership should take care of itself, but there was no doubt great advantages would result from the adoption of a system of points in regulating the position of the clubs lower down on the list.

Sportsman (Victoria) Wednesday 18 April 1888


Victorian Football Association


A meeting of delegates to the above body was held at Young and Jackson's Hotel last Wednesday evening. Mr. Keugii (St. Kilda) was voted the Chair.


For the past two years the burning question on amongst secretaries and delegates has been the arrangement of matches.


Mr James desired to enter a strong protest against the manner in which matches had been arranged by various clubs to the exclusion of others. It was a disgraceful thing. Mr Waters added that the method of the arrangement of matches was unjust, un-English, unsportsmanlike and unwarrantable. It was discreditable that any section of the Association should form an inner circle and exclude other clubs that were struggling for existence.

The policy of the Association should be to encourage a spread of the knowledge of the game and not have regard to the money box. It was a crying shame that any delegate should so be insulted tbat he should have to beg and pray for matches that he was entitled to have with any club. When a club paid

its contributions for delegates surely they were entitled to all emoluments and privileges.



The Argus
Sat 26 May 1888


A meeting of the members of the Victorian Football Association was held last evening at Young and Jackson's Hotel, Swanston street, Mr. M'Leod presiding.


Mr. HINT gave notice of motion to the effect that at the last meeting of the association held in September of each year a committee of three members should be appointed to arrange all association matches for the ensuing season, such list of matches to be forwarded to the secretary of the association not later than the first Monday in April following.


16th March 1889



The annual meeting of the club delegates, comprising the Victorian Football Association was held at Messrs. Young and Jackson’s Hotel on 8th inst., when there was a good attendance. 

Mr. R. Robinson (Geelong) presided.

The following are the proposed new by-laws.

5. The position of clubs with respect to premiership shall be decided by points— 4 for a win and 2 for a draw. No club shall be reckoned for premiership unless it shall have played at least 18 matches with senior clubs during the season.



South Australian Register

Saturday 17 August 1887

Association Committee Meeting Tuesday Last

A resolution passed at a meeting of the committee of the Football Association held early in the season said that a win should count 2 points and a draw 1 point, the premiership to go to the club gaining the largest percentage out of the possible points.

I hope this solves that.


now why is six points worth a goal, have the answer to that too.

Posted by Rush on April 22, 2022

THANK YOU for the information.  When looked at through the lens of history, it makes more sense!

A thought, possibly a bad one, came to mind as I read through yours as well as all the comments that came in many years ago.  Maybe this could bring new meaning to the four points for a win scenario:

4 points for an AWAY win

3 points for a HOME win

2 points for an AWAY draw

1 point for a HOME draw

0 points for a loss

Probably an idea that will meet with negative opinions, but I thought I'd toss it out there! 

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