1897 VFL season

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1897 VFL Premiership season
Teams 8
Premiers EssendonDesign.svg Essendon
(1st premiership)
Minor premiers Geelong
(1st minor premiership)
Matches played 62
Highest attendance 8,000
Leading Goalkicker Medallist Eddy James (Geelong)
Jack Leith (Melbourne)
1898

The 1897 Victorian Football League season was the inaugural season of the elite Australian rules football competition.

Premiership season[edit]

In 1897, the VFL competition consisted of eight teams of 20 on-the-field players each, with no "reserves" (although any of the 20 players who had left the playing field for any reason could later resume their place on the field at any time during the match).[1]

Each team played each other twice in a home-and-away season of 14 rounds.

Once the 14 round home-and-away season had finished, the 1897 VFL Premiers were determined according to the conditions dictated by the specific format and conventions of the 1897 Finals System, which was used in this season only.

Round 1[edit]

Round 1
Saturday, 8 May (3:00 pm) Fitzroy 6.13 (49) def. Carlton 2.4 (16) Brunswick Street Oval (crowd: 3,000)
Saturday, 8 May (3:00 pm) Collingwood 5.11 (41) def. St Kilda 2.4 (16) Victoria Park
Saturday, 8 May (3:00 pm) Geelong 3.6 (24) def. by Essendon 7.5 (47) Corio Oval
Saturday, 8 May (3:00 pm) South Melbourne 3.9 (27) def. by Melbourne 6.8 (44) Lake Oval


Round 2[edit]

Round 2
Saturday, 15 May (3:00 pm) South Melbourne 6.4 (40) def. Carlton 5.6 (36) Lake Oval
Saturday, 15 May (3:00 pm) Essendon 4.6 (30) def. by Collingwood 8.2 (50) East Melbourne Cricket Ground
Saturday, 15 May (3:00 pm) St Kilda 3.8 (26) def. by Fitzroy 10.6 (66) Junction Oval
Saturday, 15 May (3:00 pm) Melbourne 9.10 (64) def. Geelong 3.1 (19) Melbourne Cricket Ground


Round 3[edit]

Round 3
Saturday, 22 May (3:00 pm) Collingwood 6.5 (41) def. Geelong 5.7 (37) Victoria Park
Saturday, 22 May (3:00 pm) Fitzroy 5.9 (39) def. by Melbourne 7.8 (50) Brunswick Street Oval
Monday, 24 May (3:00 pm) Essendon 12.6 (78) def. Carlton 6.5 (41) East Melbourne Cricket Ground
Monday, 24 May (3:00 pm) South Melbourne 8.11 (59) def. St Kilda 0.2 (2) Lake Oval


Round 4[edit]

Round 4
Saturday, 29 May (3:00 pm) Geelong 5.14 (44) def. Carlton 3.4 (22) Corio Oval
Saturday, 29 May (3:00 pm) South Melbourne 5.11 (41) def. Collingwood 5.3 (33) Lake Oval
Saturday, 29 May (3:00 pm) Fitzroy 2.8 (20) def. by Essendon 6.6 (42) Brunswick Street Oval
Saturday, 29 May (3:00 pm) Melbourne 11.10 (76) def. St Kilda 7.4 (46) Melbourne Cricket Ground


Round 5[edit]

Round 5
Saturday, 5 June (3:00 pm) Melbourne 15.17 (107) def. Carlton 3.8 (26) Melbourne Cricket Ground
Saturday, 5 June (3:00 pm) Collingwood 5.7 (37) def. Fitzroy 2.9 (21) Victoria Park
Saturday, 5 June (3:00 pm) St Kilda 3.8 (26) def. by Essendon 9.9 (63) Junction Oval
Saturday, 5 June (3:00 pm) Geelong 10.12 (72) def. South Melbourne 3.6 (24) Corio Oval


Round 6[edit]

Round 6
Saturday, 19 June (3:00 pm) St Kilda 3.6 (24) def. by Carlton 5.5 (35) Junction Oval
Saturday, 19 June (3:00 pm) Melbourne 5.3 (33) def. Collingwood 3.8 (26) Melbourne Cricket Ground
Saturday, 19 June (3:00 pm) South Melbourne 2.4 (16) def. by Essendon 1.13 (19) Lake Oval
Saturday, 19 June (3:00 pm) Geelong 3.13 (31) def. Fitzroy 2.3 (15) Corio Oval


Round 7[edit]

Round 7
Tuesday, 22 June (3:00 pm) Carlton 5.5 (35) def. by Collingwood 6.5 (41) Princes Park
Tuesday, 22 June (3:00 pm) Essendon 8.15 (63) def. Melbourne 3.9 (27) East Melbourne Cricket Ground
Tuesday, 22 June (3:00 pm) Fitzroy 5.13 (43) drew with South Melbourne 5.13 (43) Brunswick Street Oval
Tuesday, 22 June (3:00 pm) St Kilda 4.7 (31) def. by Geelong 16.18 (114) Junction Oval
  • Geelong's 16.18.114 was the highest score in 1897


Round 8[edit]

Round 8
Saturday, 26 June (3:00 pm) Carlton 1.3 (9) def. by Fitzroy 5.17 (47) Princes Park
Saturday, 26 June (3:00 pm) St Kilda 4.5 (29) def. by Collingwood 7.11 (53) Junction Oval
Saturday, 26 June (3;00 pm) Essendon 5.2 (32) def. by Geelong 8.9 (57) East Melbourne Cricket Ground
Saturday, 26 June (3:00 pm) Melbourne 3.2 (20) def. by South Melbourne 11.7 (73) Melbourne Cricket Ground


Round 9[edit]

Round 9
Saturday, 3 July (3:00 pm) Carlton 4.4 (28) def. by South Melbourne 11.8 (74) Princes Park
Saturday, 3 July (3:00 pm) Collingwood 5.7 (37) def. by Essendon 6.10 (46) Victoria Park
Saturday, 3 July (3:00 pm) Fitzroy 9.21 (75) def. St Kilda 2.6 (18) Brunswick Street Oval
Saturday, 3 July (3:00 pm) Geelong 1.9 (15) def. Melbourne 0.10 (10) Corio Oval


Round 10[edit]

Round 10
Saturday, 10 July (3:00 pm) Carlton 2.1 (13) def. by Essendon 5.12 (42) Princes Park
Saturday, 10 July (3:00 pm) Geelong 7.10 (52) def. Collingwood 1.4 (10) Corio Oval
Saturday, 10 July (3:00 pm) Melbourne 8.5 (53) def. Fitzroy 3.8 (26) Melbourne Cricket Ground
Saturday, 10 July (3:00 pm) St Kilda 0.3 (3) def. by South Melbourne 8.16 (64) Junction Oval


Round 11[edit]

Round 11
Saturday, 17 July (3:00 pm) Carlton 2.4 (16) def. by Geelong 9.12 (66) Princes Park
Saturday, 17 July (3:00 pm) Collingwood 0.8 (8) def. by South Melbourne 2.15 (27) Victoria Park
Saturday, 17 July (3:00 pm) Essendon 9.8 (62) def. Fitzroy 4.6 (30) East Melbourne Cricket Ground
Saturday, 17 July (3:00 pm) St Kilda 1.7 (13) def. by Melbourne 10.11 (71) Junction Oval


Round 12[edit]

Round 12
Saturday, 24 July (3:00 pm) Carlton 2.6 (18) def. by Melbourne 5.16 (46) Melbourne Cricket Ground
Saturday, 24 July (3:00 pm) Fitzroy 4.4 (28) def. by Collingwood 3.17 (35) Brunswick Street Oval
Saturday, 24 July (3:00 pm) Essendon 13.16 (94) def. St Kilda 0.3 (3) East Melbourne Cricket Ground
Saturday, 24 July (3:00 pm) South Melbourne 5.2 (32) def. by Geelong 6.8 (44) Lake Oval


Round 13[edit]

Round 13
Saturday, 31 July (3:00 pm) Carlton 8.11 (59) def. St Kilda 3.7 (25) Princes Park
Saturday, 31 July (3:00 pm) Collingwood 5.13 (43) def. Melbourne 3.10 (28) Victoria Park
Saturday, 31 July (3:00 pm) Essendon 8.1 (49) def. South Melbourne 6.9 (45) East Melbourne Cricket Ground
Saturday, 31 July (3:00 pm) Fitzroy 2.9 (21) def. by Geelong 5.3 (33) Brunswick Street Oval


Round 14[edit]

Round 14
Saturday, 7 August (3:00 pm) Collingwood 7.12 (54) def. Carlton 3.4 (22) Victoria Park
Saturday, 7 August (3:00 pm) Melbourne 8.8 (56) def. Essendon 6.3 (39) Melbourne Cricket Ground
Saturday, 7 August (3:00 pm) South Melbourne 3.12 (30) def. Fitzroy 4.5 (29) Lake Oval
Saturday, 7 August (3:00 pm) Geelong 14.12 (96) def. St Kilda 3.0 (18) Corio Oval


Win/Loss table[edit]

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Ladder
Carlton Fit
33
SM
4
Ess
37
Geel
22
Melb
81
StK
11
Coll
6
Fit
38
SM
46
Ess
29
Geel
50
Melb
28
StK
34
Coll
32
7
Collingwood StK
25
Ess
20
Geel
4
SM
8
Fit
16
Melb
7
Carl
6
StK
24
Ess
9
Geel
42
SM
19
Fit
7
Melb
15
Carl
32
4
Essendon Geel
23
Coll
20
Carl
37
Fit
22
StK
37
SM
3
Melb
36
Geel
25
Coll
9
Carl
29
Fit
32
StK
91
SM
4
Melb
17
2
Fitzroy Carl
33
StK
40
Melb
11
Ess
22
Coll
16
Geel
16
SM
0
Carl
38
StK
57
Melb
27
Ess
32
Coll
7
Geel
12
SM
1
6
Geelong Ess
23
Melb
45
Coll
4
Carl
22
SM
48
Fit
16
StK
83
Ess
25
Melb
5
Coll
42
Carl
50
SM
12
Fit
12
StK
78
1
Melbourne SM
17
Geel
45
Fit
11
StK
30
Carl
81
Coll
7
Ess
36
SM
53
Geel
5
Fit
27
StK
58
Carl
28
Coll
15
Ess
17
3
South Melbourne Melb
17
Carl
4
StK
57
Coll
8
Geel
48
Ess
3
Fit
0
Melb
53
Carl
46
StK
61
Coll
19
Geel
12
Ess
4
Fit
1
5
St Kilda Coll
25
Fit
40
SM
57
Melb
30
Ess
37
Carl
11
Geel
83
Coll
24
Fit
57
SM
61
Melb
58
Ess
91
Carl
34
Geel
78
8
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Ladder
Colour Result
Green Win
Red Loss
Blue Draw

Bold – Home game
Opponent for round listed above margin

Ladder[edit]

1897 VFL Ladder
TEAM P W L D PF PA  % PTS
1 Geelong 14 11 3 0 704 382 184.29 44
2 Essendon (P) 14 11 3 0 706 444 159.01 44
3 Melbourne 14 10 4 0 685 473 144.82 40
4 Collingwood 14 9 5 0 508 446 113.90 36
5 South Melbourne 14 8 5 1 594 430 138.14 34
6 Fitzroy 14 4 9 1 508 485 104.74 18
7 Carlton 14 2 12 0 377 737 51.15 8
8 St Kilda 14 0 14 0 281 966 29.08 0
Key: P = Played, W = Won, L = Lost, D = Drawn, PF = Points for, PA = Points against

Ladder progression[edit]

  • Numbers highlighted in green indicate that the team finished the round inside the top 3.
  • Numbers highlighted in blue indicates the team finished first on the ladder in that round.
  • Numbers highlighted in red indicates the team finished in last place on the ladder in that round.

Finals[edit]

Week 1[edit]

Week 1
Saturday, 21 August Geelong 3.11 (29) def. by Essendon 5.5 (35) Corio Oval (crowd: 5,000)
Saturday, 21 August Melbourne 7.5 (47) def. by Collingwood 7.9 (51) MCG (crowd: 7,000)


Week 2[edit]

Week 2
Saturday, 28 August Essendon 9.16 (70) def. Collingwood 4.6 (30) MCG (crowd: 8,000)
Saturday, 28 August Geelong 5.16 (46) def. Melbourne 5.7 (37) Brunswick Street Oval (crowd: 4,000)


Week 3[edit]

Week 3
Saturday, 4 September Essendon 1.8 (14) def. Melbourne 0.8 (8) Lake Oval (crowd: 3,800)
Saturday, 4 September Geelong 8.4 (52) def. Collingwood 6.12 (48) EMCG (crowd: 3,000)


Finals Ladder[edit]

1897 Finals Ladder
TEAM P W L D PF PA  % PTS
1 Essendon 3 3 0 0 119 67 177.61 12
2 Geelong 3 2 1 0 127 120 105.83 8
3 Collingwood 3 1 2 0 129 169 76.33 4
4 Melbourne 3 0 3 0 92 111 82.88 0
Key: P = Played, W = Won, L = Lost, D = Drawn, PF = Points For, PA = Points Against

Grand final[edit]

See List of Australian Football League premiers for a complete list.

Essendon won the premiership for finishing on top of the round robin finals ladder, meaning that no Grand Final was required.

Awards[edit]

Notable events[edit]

  • George Stuckey, the captain of the Essendon Football Club team that won the VFL's inaugural premiership, also won the 130-yard Stawell Gift in 1897 in 12.2 seconds off a handicap of 12 yards.
  • In the first round of 1897, the VFL revoked the VFA's (then prevailing) push-in-the-back rule. The rule was reinstated before the second round's matches on the following Saturday due to complaints from fans, players and officials.
  • On 12 June, a League representative team played against a Ballarat Football League representative team at the Brunswick Street Oval. Ballarat 13.11 (89) defeated the League 8.6 (54).[2]
  • On 3 July 1897, Fitzroy rover Bill McSpeerin weaved his way and bounced the ball the length of the Brunswick Street Oval to score a goal against St Kilda.
  • Carlton's first six matches were all away games due to renovations at Princes Park.
  • The first round finals match between Geelong and Essendon was the only finals match to be played in Geelong until 2013.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "THE FOOTBALL SEASON.". The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848–1954) (Melbourne, Vic.: National Library of Australia). 8 May 1897. p. 11. Retrieved 15 December 2010. 
  2. ^ Markwell (19 June 1897). "Football Notes". The Australasian (Melbourne, VIC). p. 1229. 
  • Maplestone, M., Flying Higher: History of the Essendon Football Club 1872–1996, Essendon Football Club, (Melbourne), 1996. ISBN 0-9591740-2-8
  • Rogers, S. & Brown, A., Every Game Ever Played: VFL/AFL Results 1897–1997 (Sixth Edition), Viking Books, (Ringwood), 1998. ISBN 0-670-90809-6
  • Ross, J. (ed), 100 Years of Australian Football 1897–1996: The Complete Story of the AFL, All the Big Stories, All the Great Pictures, All the Champions, Every AFL Season Reported, Viking, (Ringwood), 1996. ISBN 0-670-86814-0

External links[edit]