Amazing Facts on Australian Football History

One of the first sports in Australia to be formally organized and have a league was Australian football, today known as the Australian Football League. The competition was invented in Melbourne in the 1950s, in the capital of the state of Victoria. Initially, it went by the name Melbourne or Victorian Rules Football and combined a lot of football rules used in independent schools.

How Australian Football Was Formed

Having returned to Australia in 1857 from a coaching job in a Rugby school in England, Tom Willis plus his cousin Harrison, JB Thompson and WJ Hammersley created Australian football. Going by the name Melbourne Football Club, the game was officially launched on the 7th of August, 1858. In the same year, the club hosted its first match with Scotch College playing against Melbourne Grammar School.

The sport grew rapidly, seeing the establishment of the Geelong Football Club in 1859. The game’s rules got an update in 1866 marking the beginning of great competitions. In 1896, the Victorian Football League was formed, and the first league games were played in 1897. The pioneering participants include Geelong, St Kilda, Melbourne, South Melbourne, Essendon, Collingwood, Fitzroy and Carlton.

Significant Growth to Date

University and Richmond joined the australian football league in 1908, but University left in 1914. VFL had other three teams join the league in 1925, which are Hawthorn, North Melbourne and Footscray, today known as Western Bulldogs. The then 12 teams participated in different VFL competitions until 1987 when the Brisbane Bears and West Coast Eagles joined.

BY 1997, there were 16 teams in the league including Adelaide who joined in 1991, Fremantle in 1995 and Port Adelaide 1997. Brisbane Bears and Fitzroy also merged after the 1996 season to form the Brisbane Lions. The Greater Western Sydney Giants and the Gold Coast Suns also joined in 2011 making a total of 18 teams in the VFL to date.