1981 VFL season

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1981 VFL Premiership season
Teams 12
Premiers Carlton
(13th premiership)
Minor premiers Carlton
(15th minor premiership)
Night series Essendon
(1st Night series win)
Matches played 138
Highest attendance 112,964
Coleman Medallist Michael Roach (Richmond)
Brownlow Medallist

Bernie Quinlan (Fitzroy)

Barry Round (South Melbourne)
1980
1982

Results and statistics for the Victorian Football League season of 1981.

Night Series[edit]

Essendon defeated Carlton 9.11 (65) to 6.5 (41) in the Final.

Premiership season[edit]

Round 1[edit]

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date
North Melbourne 21.19 (145) South Melbourne 12.25 (97) Arden Street Oval 19,437 28 March 1981
Footscray 16.12 (108) St Kilda 23.19 (157) Western Oval 19,101 28 March 1981
Melbourne 16.16 (112) Hawthorn 23.15 (153) MCG 32,202 28 March 1981
Geelong 10.17 (77) Essendon 10.11 (71) Kardinia Park 37,303 28 March 1981
Fitzroy 20.13 (133) Collingwood 22.27 (159) Junction Oval 27,200 28 March 1981
Carlton 22.12 (144) Richmond 12.10 (82) VFL Park 56,372 28 March 1981

Round 2[edit]

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date
Essendon 16.15 (111) North Melbourne 15.9 (99) Windy Hill 26,443 4 April 1981
Collingwood 26.22 (178) Footscray 13.6 (84) Victoria Park 26,512 4 April 1981
South Melbourne 16.14 (110) Richmond 22.13 (145) Lake Oval 17,850 4 April 1981
St Kilda 14.23 (107) Geelong 16.13 (109) Moorabbin Oval 24,496 4 April 1981
Hawthorn 16.11 (107) Carlton 17.21 (123) Princes Park 31,660 4 April 1981
Fitzroy 23.17 (155) Melbourne 16.14 (110) VFL Park 20,107 4 April 1981

Round 3[edit]

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date
Footscray 18.11 (119) Melbourne 18.12 (120) Western Oval 13,256 11 April 1981
Carlton 14.24 (108) Fitzroy 12.20 (92) Princes Park 24,780 11 April 1981
North Melbourne 15.26 (116) Geelong 14.5 (89) Arden Street Oval 17,744 11 April 1981
Richmond 17.16 (118) Essendon 16.18 (114) MCG 61,908 11 April 1981
St Kilda 19.21 (135) Collingwood 23.19 (157) Moorabbin Oval 33,882 11 April 1981
South Melbourne 21.13 (139) Hawthorn 18.9 (117) VFL Park 21,977 11 April 1981

Round 4[edit]

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date
Melbourne 10.16 (76) St Kilda 16.32 (128) MCG 36,488 18 April 1981
Fitzroy 25.19 (169) South Melbourne 14.16 (100) Junction Oval 15,635 18 April 1981
Richmond 17.22 (124) North Melbourne 13.17 (95) VFL Park 48,526 18 April 1981
Essendon 11.13 (79) Hawthorn 13.16 (94) Windy Hill 29,597 20 April 1981
Geelong 9.14 (68) Collingwood 11.10 (76) Kardinia Park 42,395 20 April 1981
Carlton 15.14 (104) Footscray 11.10 (76) VFL Park 27,299 20 April 1981

Round 5[edit]

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date
Hawthorn 17.16 (118) North Melbourne 11.17 (83) Princes Park 16,106 25 April 1981
Collingwood 21.20 (146) Melbourne 13.5 (83) Victoria Park 30,096 25 April 1981
Richmond 15.22 (112) Geelong 11.18 (84) MCG 46,230 25 April 1981
South Melbourne 18.22 (130) Footscray 9.14 (68) Lake Oval 12,545 25 April 1981
St Kilda 10.13 (73) Carlton 19.23 (137) Moorabbin Oval 32,341 25 April 1981
Fitzroy 19.11 (125) Essendon 15.14 (104) VFL Park 33,465 25 April 1981

Round 6[edit]

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date
Carlton 12.15 (87) Collingwood 22.12 (144) Princes Park 36,506 2 May 1981
Richmond 10.19 (79) Hawthorn 23.16 (154) MCG 45,750 2 May 1981
North Melbourne 27.17 (179) Fitzroy 19.12 (126) Arden Street Oval 16,210 2 May 1981
Footscray 13.13 (91) Essendon 12.11 (83) Western Oval 19,264 2 May 1981
South Melbourne 15.13 (103) St Kilda 13.15 (93) VFL Park 27,172 2 May 1981
Geelong 22.21 (153) Melbourne 16.8 (104) SCG 11,077 3 May 1981

Round 7[edit]

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date
Fitzroy 13.14 (92) Richmond 12.16 (88) Junction Oval 12,997 9 May 1981
Essendon 14.17 (101) St Kilda 11.10 (76) Windy Hill 16,828 9 May 1981
Collingwood 18.15 (123) South Melbourne 7.16 (58) Victoria Park 20,553 9 May 1981
Hawthorn 8.8 (56) Geelong 7.17 (59) Princes Park 13,275 9 May 1981
Melbourne 8.8 (56) Carlton 12.24 (96) MCG 22,020 9 May 1981
North Melbourne 17.16 (118) Footscray 7.12 (54) VFL Park 10,989 9 May 1981

Round 8[edit]

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date
St Kilda 8.16 (64) North Melbourne 25.18 (168) Moorabbin Oval 16,860 16 May 1981
South Melbourne 17.25 (127) Melbourne 12.11 (83) Lake Oval 12,808 16 May 1981
Richmond 25.17 (167) Footscray 17.15 (117) MCG 21,721 16 May 1981
Hawthorn 21.18 (144) Fitzroy 16.19 (115) Princes Park 17,459 16 May 1981
Geelong 12.8 (80) Carlton 12.13 (85) Kardinia Park 28,396 16 May 1981
Essendon 21.18 (144) Collingwood 14.3 (87) VFL Park 79,326 16 May 1981

Round 9[edit]

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date
Footscray 10.14 (74) Hawthorn 11.18 (84) Western Oval 13,789 23 May 1981
Fitzroy 13.15 (93) Geelong 16.18 (114) Junction Oval 15,604 23 May 1981
Carlton 25.22 (172) South Melbourne 11.7 (73) Princes Park 22,445 23 May 1981
Melbourne 10.10 (70) Essendon 14.20 (104) MCG 31,769 23 May 1981
North Melbourne 12.26 (98) Collingwood 16.15 (111) Arden Street Oval 24,625 23 May 1981
Richmond 20.16 (136) St Kilda 15.15 (105) VFL Park 40,240 23 May 1981

Round 10[edit]

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date
Hawthorn 13.17 (95) St Kilda 11.14 (80) Princes Park 14,961 30 May 1981
Geelong 14.8 (92) South Melbourne 10.10 (70) Kardinia Park 19,760 30 May 1981
Fitzroy 22.15 (147) Footscray 10.10 (70) Junction Oval 11,630 30 May 1981
Collingwood 17.10 (112) Richmond 8.9 (57) Victoria Park 37,177 30 May 1981
Essendon 11.13 (79) Carlton 6.8 (44) Windy Hill 30,574 30 May 1981
North Melbourne 25.22 (172) Melbourne 6.7 (43) VFL Park 17,015 30 May 1981

Round 11[edit]

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date
Richmond 20.16 (136) Melbourne 14.10 (94) MCG 31,025 6 June 1981
St Kilda 14.15 (99) Fitzroy 7.17 (59) Moorabbin Oval 21,672 6 June 1981
Hawthorn 18.19 (127) Collingwood 12.9 (81) VFL Park 92,935 6 June 1981
Footscray 12.10 (82) Geelong 17.15 (117) Western Oval 24,974 8 June 1981
Carlton 17.13 (115) North Melbourne 11.18 (84) Princes Park 31,808 8 June 1981
South Melbourne 12.8 (80) Essendon 15.18 (108) Lake Oval 28,588 8 June 1981

Round 12[edit]

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date
Geelong 19.21 (135) St Kilda 4.11 (35) Kardinia Park 22,154 13 June 1981
Carlton 21.13 (139) Hawthorn 14.16 (100) Princes Park 27,000 13 June 1981
Melbourne 13.12 (90) Fitzroy 17.32 (134) MCG 17,691 13 June 1981
North Melbourne 13.12 (90) Essendon 18.29 (137) Arden Street Oval 22,526 13 June 1981
Footscray 13.15 (93) Collingwood 14.14 (98) Western Oval 20,903 13 June 1981
Richmond 19.12 (126) South Melbourne 16.15 (111) VFL Park 24,588 13 June 1981

Round 13[edit]

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date
Hawthorn 20.18 (138) South Melbourne 15.16 (106) Princes Park 11,657 20 June 1981
Geelong 26.14 (170) North Melbourne 8.8 (56) Kardinia Park 27,395 20 June 1981
Essendon 12.22 (94) Richmond 13.12 (90) Windy Hill 30,718 20 June 1981
Collingwood 19.14 (128) St Kilda 10.11 (71) Victoria Park 23,669 20 June 1981
Fitzroy 20.11 (131) Carlton 15.16 (106) Junction Oval 18,455 20 June 1981
Footscray 19.11 (125) Melbourne 14.10 (94) VFL Park 15,599 20 June 1981

Round 14[edit]

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date
Carlton 15.25 (115) Footscray 5.4 (34) Princes Park 17,419 27 June 1981
Richmond 21.23 (149) North Melbourne 15.16 (106) MCG 31,212 27 June 1981
St Kilda 18.19 (127) Melbourne 8.7 (55) Moorabbin Oval 14,058 27 June 1981
South Melbourne 9.16 (70) Fitzroy 14.9 (93) Lake Oval 11,756 27 June 1981
Collingwood 13.8 (86) Geelong 9.14 (68) VFL Park 50,441 27 June 1981
Hawthorn 20.13 (133) Essendon 22.19 (151) The Gabba 20,351 28 June 1981

Round 15[edit]

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date
North Melbourne 7.13 (55) Hawthorn 16.19 (115) Arden Street Oval 8,160 4 July 1981
Fitzroy 8.13 (61) Essendon 11.14 (80) Junction Oval 18,374 4 July 1981
Carlton 6.14 (50) St Kilda 5.5 (35) VFL Park 21,579 4 July 1981
Geelong 12.10 (82) Richmond 8.4 (52) Kardinia Park 26,635 11 July 1981
Footscray 7.9 (51) South Melbourne 17.12 (114) Western Oval 10,478 11 July 1981
Melbourne 10.6 (66) Collingwood 12.16 (88) MCG 30,803 11 July 1981

Round 16[edit]

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date
Hawthorn 12.14 (86) Richmond 20.11 (131) Princes Park 19,519 18 July 1981
Essendon 22.21 (153) Footscray 8.12 (60) Windy Hill 21,588 18 July 1981
South Melbourne 22.19 (151) St Kilda 16.4 (100) Lake Oval 13,297 18 July 1981
Melbourne 12.7 (79) Geelong 22.35 (167) MCG 21,947 18 July 1981
Collingwood 11.11 (77) Carlton 10.16 (76) Victoria Park 30,708 18 July 1981
Fitzroy 18.13 (121) North Melbourne 12.15 (87) VFL Park 17,713 18 July 1981

Round 17[edit]

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date
Geelong 10.11 (71) Hawthorn 8.9 (57) Kardinia Park 24,750 25 July 1981
Footscray 18.8 (116) North Melbourne 19.11 (125) Western Oval 14,755 25 July 1981
Carlton 23.15 (153) Melbourne 15.10 (100) Princes Park 15,198 25 July 1981
Richmond 16.19 (115) Fitzroy 17.14 (116) MCG 37,589 25 July 1981
St Kilda 12.4 (76) Essendon 12.21 (93) Moorabbin Oval 23,126 25 July 1981
South Melbourne 18.13 (121) Collingwood 15.13 (103) SCG 22,238 26 July 1981

Round 18[edit]

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date
North Melbourne 16.21 (117) St Kilda 12.13 (85) Arden Street Oval 11,517 1 August 1981
Melbourne 12.14 (86) South Melbourne 17.13 (115) MCG 13,886 1 August 1981
Fitzroy 10.13 (73) Hawthorn 7.19 (61) Junction Oval 16,013 1 August 1981
Carlton 17.13 (115) Geelong 12.10 (82) Princes Park 31,507 1 August 1981
Richmond 15.13 (103) Footscray 9.15 (69) VFL Park 19,725 1 August 1981
Essendon 12.16 (88) Collingwood 9.15 (69) MCG 64,149 2 August 1981

Round 19[edit]

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date
Essendon 14.20 (104) Melbourne 9.6 (60) Windy Hill 15,411 8 August 1981
Collingwood 14.19 (103) North Melbourne 11.13 (79) Victoria Park 21,237 8 August 1981
St Kilda 9.11 (65) Richmond 10.11 (71) Moorabbin Oval 15,943 8 August 1981
Hawthorn 15.21 (111) Footscray 13.12 (90) Princes Park 8,058 8 August 1981
Geelong 11.19 (85) Fitzroy 9.16 (70) VFL Park 25,565 8 August 1981
Carlton 13.7 (85) South Melbourne 8.14 (62) MCG 24,287 9 August 1981

Round 20[edit]

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date
Carlton 15.8 (98) Essendon 14.15 (99) Princes Park 36,736 15 August 1981
North Melbourne 21.19 (145) Melbourne 13.9 (87) Arden Street Oval 7,749 15 August 1981
South Melbourne 12.14 (86) Geelong 21.13 (139) Lake Oval 11,489 15 August 1981
Footscray 12.14 (86) Fitzroy 22.15 (147) Western Oval 11,770 15 August 1981
Richmond 11.20 (86) Collingwood 14.7 (91) MCG 69,217 15 August 1981
Hawthorn 10.17 (77) St Kilda 9.14 (68) VFL Park 20,863 15 August 1981

Round 21[edit]

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date
Melbourne 15.9 (99) Richmond 17.14 (116) MCG 19,567 22 August 1981
Fitzroy 14.18 (102) St Kilda 9.10 (64) Junction Oval 12,130 22 August 1981
Essendon 26.23 (179) South Melbourne 10.8 (68) Windy Hill 18,773 22 August 1981
Collingwood 22.17 (149) Hawthorn 11.10 (76) Victoria Park 26,680 22 August 1981
Geelong 18.20 (128) Footscray 8.11 (59) Kardinia Park 17,573 22 August 1981
Carlton 12.12 (84) North Melbourne 8.14 (62) VFL Park 25,544 22 August 1981

Round 22[edit]

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date
Hawthorn 15.20 (110) Melbourne 8.9 (57) Princes Park 7,912 29 August 1981
Collingwood 4.9 (33) Fitzroy 8.11 (59) Victoria Park 32,393 29 August 1981
South Melbourne 10.14 (74) North Melbourne 15.17 (107) Lake Oval 8,484 29 August 1981
St Kilda 12.15 (87) Footscray 5.8 (38) Moorabbin Oval 11,948 29 August 1981
Richmond 5.10 (40) Carlton 9.13 (67) MCG 64,207 29 August 1981
Geelong 7.13 (55) Essendon 6.11 (47) VFL Park 75,221 29 August 1981

Finals[edit]

Elimination Final[edit]

Team Score Team Score Venue Attendance Date
Fitzroy 16.13 (109) Essendon 13.16 (94) Waverley Park 58,598 Saturday, 5 September

Qualifying Final[edit]

Team Score Team Score Venue Attendance Date
Collingwood 13.20 (98) Geelong 16.16 (112) MCG 83,899 Saturday, 5 September

Semi Finals[edit]

Team Score Team Score Venue Attendance Date
Carlton 16.17 (113) Geelong 11.7 (73) Waverley Park 66,078 Saturday, 12 September
Collingwood 19.19 (133) Fitzroy 19.18 (132) MCG 85,133 Saturday, 12 September

Preliminary Final[edit]

Team Score Team Score Venue Attendance Date
Collingwood 12.10 (82) Geelong 11.9 (75) Waverley Park 69,536 Saturday, 19 September


Grand final[edit]

Main article: 1981 VFL Grand Final

Carlton defeated Collingwood 12.20 (92) to 10.12 (72), in front of a crowd of 112,964 people. (For an explanation of scoring see Australian rules football).

Ladder[edit]

1981 VFL Ladder
TEAM P W L D PF PA  % PTS
1 Carlton (P) 22 17 5 0 2303 1768 130.26 68
2 Collingwood 22 17 5 0 2399 1957 122.59 68
3 Geelong 22 16 6 0 2224 1714 129.75 64
4 Essendon 22 16 6 0 2323 1821 127.57 64
5 Fitzroy 22 14 8 0 2413 2152 112.13 56
6 Hawthorn 22 13 9 0 2313 2114 109.41 52
7 Richmond 22 13 9 0 2323 2207 105.26 52
8 North Melbourne 22 10 12 0 2386 2293 104.06 40
9 South Melbourne 22 8 14 0 2165 2522 85.84 32
10 St Kilda 22 5 17 0 1930 2266 85.17 20
11 Footscray 22 2 20 0 1764 2680 65.82 8
12 Melbourne 22 1 21 0 1824 2873 63.49 4
Key: P = Played, W = Won, L = Lost, D = Drawn, PF = Points for, PA = Points against

Notes[edit]

Notable events[edit]

  • In the 1980/81 offseason, the East Perth Football Club from the West Australian Football League made a unilateral bid to join the VFL, potentially as early as 1983. East Perth's vision was for two WAFL clubs to join the league, as part of a transition to a national competition, and to limit the drain of talent from and provide an opportunity to play the highest level of football in Western Australia. The application was rejected.[2][3]
  • A protest by Richmond against the eligibility of defender Doug Cox to play for St. Kilda led to the Saints temporarily losing the points for their first two wins after Round 8. They were reinstated after Round 17 due to changes in the relevant rules, but a fine of $5000 remained.
  • On 27 May, South Melbourne was fined $20,000 for poaching Stephen Allender from Carlton. Although Allender lived in South Melbourne's zone, he was residentially tied to Carlton and would remain as such until November 1983, because he had lived in Carlton's zone until February 1979. Carlton ended up granting him a clearance to South Melbourne, but South Melbourne was deemed to have broken the league's poaching laws by having "negotiated with an agent acting for a Carlton player".[4]
  • In Round 11, Kevin Bartlett became the first to play 350 VFL games, after having broken John Nicholls's record for most games played during 1980.
  • Carlton's Grand Final full-back, Scott Howell, was a member of the only three-generation set of AFL/VFL Grand Final players. His father Jack E. “Chooka” Howell had played for Carlton in the 1947 Grand Final against Essendon. His grandfather, Jack P. "Chooka" Howell, had played in the 1918 Grand Final for South Melbourne against Collingwood.
  • Malcolm Blight (North Melbourne) and Alex Jesaulenko (St Kilda) became the final ever playing coaches in VFL/AFL history. Jesaulenko retired as player after Round 8,[5] becoming the last captain-coach;[6] Blight was sacked as coach after Round 16, making him the last person ever to be a playing coach of a club.[7] (Blight was not captain during his time as playing coach.[8]) Playing coaches have since been prohibited under salary cap regulations instituted in 1987.
  • The State Government granted the VFL once-off permission to trial two Sunday matches in Victoria during the season; it was the first time the VFL had been granted this permission since the once-off Sunday match in 1970 which coincided with a royal visit. Under the conditions of the trial, alcohol was not allowed to be sold at or brought to the games, and the games could not be televised.[9] The two matches were Essendon vs Collingwood in Round 18, and South Melbourne vs Carlton in Round 19.
  • On 7 August, the VFL's entire senior umpiring panel resigned over a contract dispute, due to the VFL's refusal to commit to negotiating a collective agreement with the Umpires' Association, rather than individual agreements with each umpire. The VFL hastily arranged for Round 19's matches to be umpired by a team of junior umpires, all aged between 18 and 22, from the state's minor leagues; both the junior umpires' association and the VFL umpires' association gave their approval for the juniors to serve as strikebreakers.[10] The dispute was resolved the following week, and the senior umpires returned for Round 20.[11]
  • In Round 22, South Melbourne played its last senior VFL match at the Lake Oval (also known then as Lakeside Oval). The team relocated to Sydney in 1982 and eventually became known as the Sydney Swans.
  • On the way to VFL Park for the Preliminary Final, the Geelong team bus failed to pick up Gary Sidebottom. Apparently, due to a breakdown in communications, no Geelong officials had told Sidebottom that he was going to play, so believing that had not been chosen, Sidebottom was not at his usual stop when the bus passed.[12]
  • The Grand Final was the last match played with the old MCG scoreboard, which was given to Manuka Oval in 1982 after the MCG installed a new colour video scoreboard. The old scoreboard still resides at Manuka Oval today.[13]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Grand final details". The Age (Melbourne, VIC). 28 September 1981. p. 38. 
  2. ^ Simunovich, Peter (16 October 1980). "13 teams? East Perth wants to join VFL". The Sun News-Pictorial (Final ed.) (Melbourne, VIC). p. 84. 
  3. ^ Simunovich, Peter (30 October 1980). "Record finals a help". The Sun News-Pictorial (Final ed.) (Melbourne, VIC). p. 71. 
  4. ^ Ron Carter (28 May 1981). "South is fined $20,000". The Age (Melbourne, VIC). p. 30. 
  5. ^ "AFL Tables - St Kilda v North Melbourne - 16-May-1981 - Match Stats". AFL Tables. 1981-05-16. Retrieved 2012-08-15. 
  6. ^ "AFL Tables - Alex Jesaulenko - Statistics". AFL Tables. 1945-08-02. Retrieved 2012-08-15. 
  7. ^ "AFL Tables - Fitzroy v North Melbourne - 18-Jul-1981 - Match Stats". AFL Tables. 1981-07-18. Retrieved 2012-08-15. 
  8. ^ "Malcolm Blight - Past Players - Official AFL Website of the North Melbourne Football Club". Kangaroos.com.au. Retrieved 2012-08-15. 
  9. ^ Mark Brolly; Geoff Slattery (6 May 1981). "Sunday football is here to stay". The Age (Melbourne, VIC). 
  10. ^ Ron Carter; Neil Mitchell (8 August 1981). "Juniors to umpire matches". The Age (Melbourne, VIC). p. 40. 
  11. ^ Ron Carter (13 August 1981). "Umpires back with a winning score". The Age (Melbourne, VIC). p. 28. 
  12. ^ Atkinson, Graeme (1989). 3AW Book of Footy Records. South Melbourne,: Magistra Publishing Company Pty Ltd. p. 278. ISBN 1863210091. 
  13. ^ "AFL Grounds". Whirlpool.net.au. 1997-08-30. Retrieved 2012-08-15. 
  • Stephen Rogers and Ashley Brown (1998). Every Game Ever Played. 6th ed. Victoria: Penguin Books.