Australian Rules football or as its more commonly know as, the AFL. Is a game that was created in Australia and remains to this day a symbol of Australian sport. It is believed that the first game of footy, as most Aussies call it, was between Scotch and Melbourne Grammar schools and was held on August 7, 1858, it was created by Tom Willls as a way of keeping cricketers fit during winter. The rules back then would have been rather different but it is from that game that the rules of AFL gradually formed to be what we know them as today.
In 1877, due to huge interest in the game, The Victorian Football Association was formed to create a league. The original teams were Hotham, Melbourne, Geelong, Carlton, Albert Park, St Kilda, Essendon and East Melbourne.
In 1888 an English team toured Australia playing 25 matches against different teams, the English ended up wining 14 of the games! A return tour by the Aussies was planned but never ended up happening. The attempts at international expansion of the game died and it became unique to Australia.
The game continued to thrive and new teams were being added to the VFA. In 1897, a few of the stronger teams decided to create another league of their own which was known as the Victorian Football League (VFL) The original teams were Collingwood, South Melbourne, Essendon, Melbourne, Fitzroy, Geelong, St. Kilda and Carlton. They had their first game on May 18, 1897 and it was a very popular sport in Victoria.
The sport continued to grow at an amazing pace! New umpires were added, teams began to wear uniforms and games were being played interstate and not just in Victoria. In 1897 the scoring was formalised with 6 points for a goal and 1 point for a behind, it was this year that the first finals were held and they were won by Essendon.
In 1912 numbers were added to the players jumpers and Essendon won the first back to bake premierships 1911, 1912. One of the early stars was Roy Cazaly who started playing for St. Kilda in 1911. His amazing marks coined the now famous phrase “up there Cazaly” which was also turned into a song.
In 1982 South Melbourne Football Club relocated to Sydney and became the Sydney Swans. During the 1980’s the interstate interest in VFL grew and it led to two non-Victorian clubs, the West Coast Eagles and the Brisbane Bears who began playing in 1987. The league then changed its name to the Australian Football league after the 1989 season. In 1991, the first South Australian team joined, by the name of Adelaide, they later became the Adelaide Crows.
These days there are 16 clubs in the AFL all with massive fan following. The sport is played internationally by New Zealand, South Africa Scotland and Japan but it will never create an impact half as big as the AFL created for Australia.Thanks for reading! I will post an update soon! Lots of news!