Victoria Australian rules football team

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Victoria
Badge of Victoria team
Nicknames The Big V
The Vics
Governing body Victorian Football Association, Victorian Football League
First game
Victoria (Australia) Victoria 7–0 South Australia South Australia
1879

The Victorian Australian rules football team, also known as the Big V is the representative side of Victoria, Australia in the sport of Australian rules football.

The senior men's side last played in the once-off AFL Hall of Fame Tribute Match in 2008; prior to that, it had played representative games at least annually until 1999. The Big V dominated the first hundred years of intercolonial and interstate football. After the change to State of Origin rules the results with the other main Australian football states became more even. Since the VFL/AFL became governing body, only players from the Australian Football League are eligible for selection in the Victorian team. After proposals to resurrect the Big V in a once-off AFL State of Origin carnival in 2008 to celebrate the game's 150th anniversary,[1][2] the Big V made an appearance in the AFL Hall of Fame Tribute Match on 10 May, an all-star game, defeating the "Dream Team".

Victoria is also represented by the Big V at multiple levels and leagues (for example the AFL U18 National Championships, VFL, amateur and women's). The guernsey is navy blue with a big white V (including serif) across the chest and, more recently, the Victorian state logo in a crest at the top left of the V.

In some carnivals, particular the AFL's under 18 and under 16 national tournament, Victoria is represented by separate Metropolitan and Country teams. In this case, both teams wear a Big V design, but neither wears the state-wide colour combination: instead, Vic Metro wears a navy blue guernsey with sky blue V, and Vic Country wears a white guernsey with navy blue V.

History[edit]

Victorian representative teams have participated in games against other Australian states since the 1870s. Originally these games were played between teams representing the major leagues of each state. For Victoria this meant the Victorian Football Association and the Victorian Football League. Between 1976 and 1999 senior state football was played under State of Origin rules.

The first inter-colonial representative game of football was played between Victoria and South Australia in 1879 [3] with teams made up of Victorian Football Association and South Australia Football Association players.

These 'inter-league' matches came to be viewed as the highest tier of Australian Football, with each state's ultimate goal being that of beating Victoria. The most important of these games were the Carnival games that were played intermittently between 1908 and 1993, Victoria winning 13, and coming runners-up in another 9.[4] Some of these carnivals were competed by both the Victorian Football League and Victorian Football Association representative teams. The VFL team was generally regarded as the stronger of the two.

The final senior level State of Origin game, participated in by AFL players was played in 1999, with Victoria beating South Australia by 54 points.[5] Since this game, all Victorian representative teams, except the team that participated in the 2008 AFL Hall of Fame Tribute Match, have consisted of VFL players, competing against players of other state leagues.

Jumper[edit]

The Victorian state jumper design is navy blue with a large white V on the chest.[6]

Ted Whitten[edit]

Ted E.J. Whitten, also known as "Mr Football" was one of the greatest Victorian players of all time, representing the state 29 times. He was the most influential figure for the Big V, and was known for his passionate support for interstate football; following Whitten's death in 1995, interest in representative football faded, and eventually ceased after 1999. He is honoured with the E. J. Whitten Medal and the E. J. Whitten Legends Game, a game which also features the Masters Australian Football equivalent of the Big V. Many other players represented Victoria on numerous occasions, and other regular State of Origin greats include Gary Ablett, Sr. Dale Weightman, Paul Roos and Robert Harvey.

Although the Victorian team no longer competes at senior level, the E. J. Whitten Legends Game, and matches between the VFL and the SANFL and WAFL feature Victorian representative sides.

Big V in popular culture[edit]

The Australian rules side was the first to use the "Big V" motif, which was later used by other codes (for example, the shirt of the Melbourne Victory association football club and the Big V basketball league).

Carnival Record[edit]

Victorian State Team[edit]

Victorian Football Association[edit]

National Under 18 Championships[edit]

  • Victoria (1976-1988) 9: 1976, 1977, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1986, 1987, 1988
  • Vic Country (1989-) 6: 1989, 1992 (Div 2), 1994 (Div 2), 2000, 2003, 2010
  • Vic Metro (1989-) 14: 1990, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2011

References[edit]