AFL Heritage Round

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Heritage Round was a round of matches in the Australian Football League in which all the teams wore guernseys from their past. The first Heritage Round was in 2003 and had been continuing every year until 2008.


The concept of the Heritage Round originated from the Centenary Celebration Round, which took place in 1996, in the centenary year of the VFL/AFL. As a tribute, the 8 original teams of the VFL played each other in Round 7, 100 years after Round 1 in the inaugural season. Essendon defeated Geelong at the MCG, while Carlton defeated Fitzroy, Collingwood lost to St Kilda, and Melbourne lost to Sydney.The remaining eight clubs played in their normal jumpers, as they came into the VFL/AFL at different times, not 1897.

Heritage Round Over The Years[edit]

2003 – The First Heritage Round[edit]

The first Heritage Round saw Heritage guernseys worn by all teams except two. The Adelaide and West Coast Football Clubs (who played each other during the round) both had a short history had always used a variant of their original jumper throughout their existence. It was seen in a very positive and nostalgic light, especially as Brisbane wore a Fitzroy Lions guernsey and Sydney wore their former South Melbourne guernsey. St. Kilda's guernsey got such a positive reaction that it became their Clash Guernsey from 2004 until 2006. Port Adelaide wore its SANFL Magpies "Prison Bar" guernsey from 1914 when the club was made Champions of Australia. This angered the Collingwood Football Club (who were playing Brisbane at the MCG) which argued that they were the only team in the AFL that could wear Black and White.

2004 – The Umpires Join In[edit]

2004 saw the first year where all sixteen teams wore a heritage guernsey.[1] It was also the first year which the Field and Goal Umpires wore uniforms from the past as well. All the umpires wore white uniforms (the traditional colour the umpires wore before changing to coloured uniforms) and the Goal Umpires wore their traditional long coats and white brimmed hats.

Brisbane chose to wear the Brisbane Bears guernsey worn from 1992 until 1996, West Coast wore an original 1987 guernsey and the Crows manufactured a guernsey based on a 1991 original with the SANFL logo on the back and Crest on the front (which was never used in the club prior to heritage round) to make exactly the same guernsey worn in present-day look old. Port Adelaide wore a Red and Blue guernsey based on their original guernsey from 1877 to 1901, prior to its famous black and white "Prison Bar" .

2005 – Complacent or Outlandish[edit]

In 2005 it was starting to become clear that the current concept of heritage round had either become stale or made clubs make outlandish choices. The Field Umpires wore replica uniforms from an old fashioned period (with colours brought back) that were unpractical in modern day.

The Saints wore a guernsey worn during the First World War in which its colours were changed so not to be seen as a supporter of Germany. Hawthorn's guernsey was not Brown and Gold, but Red, White, and Blue from its 1902 guernsey worn when they were a part of the VFA. The Adelaide Football club wore a 1930s South Australia state guernsey with an AFC insignia replacing SA, where Port Adelaide Football Club wore a white guernsey with light blue hoops based on their first guernsey in the SANFL.

With the focus of heritage round starting to turn into a gimmick the AFL knew they had so do something to re-invigorate the interest. The result came in the following year.

2006 – The Eighties[edit]

The 2006 heritage round was themed around football in the 1980s. This achieved very heavy media coverage with both The Footy Show and Before the Game taking on 80s themes and both dressing up in clothes from the 1980s. The AFL even release a compilation CD of songs recorded during the 1980s.

Brisbane wore a variant of its original Brisbane Bears guernsey (which was always criticized during its existence up until 1992, especially when its gold and maroon colours were changed to gold and cerise.) Adelaide once again manufactured a guernsey as they were not in existence in the 1980s. It included its home guernsey with the fake crest, SANFL logo on the rear and all the colours of all the teams in the SANFL from the 80s. Melbourne wore a guernsey with red and royal blue instead of its red and navy blue it used prior to 1974 reverted to in the 1987. Essendon wore red shorts as they did in the 80s when they played Carlton in the battle for the Wooden Spoon. (The two clubs were clearly the worst performers in the league that year and the match ended in a draw. Carlton coach Denis Pagan famously described it as feeling like "Dancing with your Sister".)

2007 – Living In The Seventies[edit]

The 2007 Heritage Round was based on Football in the 1970s. It took place in July from the 7th to the 9th. Once again it generated media coverage both in News broadcasts and both The Footy Show and Before the Game holding 70s themed shows.

As West Coast were not established in the 70s they chose to wear the original WA State of Origin guernsey from the first State of Origin game played against Victoria. They lost to Brisbane which wore a Fitzroy Guernsey from the 70s. The Crows wore the same Guernsey as the one worn in the 2006 Heritage Round for its defeat against Hawthorn. Port Adelaide's application to the AFL for its 70s black and white "Prison Bar" was rejected at first but an agreement was later reached with Collingwood and the AFL for Port to wear the guernsey this year but with conditions for further heritage rounds. They lost to the Bulldogs which wore an original Footscray guernsey with red shorts. Essendon and Richmond both still wear guernseys from the 70s in current day however Essendon once again wore red shorts and Richmond wore yellow shorts in both of their games.

Two Teams that did not wear a heritage guernsey were St. Kilda, who instead wore their white clash guernsey, and Collingwood.

Other teams to not wear a heritage guernsey due to extreme similarities to current day versions included Geelong, Carlton (who's "CFC" insignia was the current version and not of the one worn from 1933 to 1997), and The Kangaroos.

Fremantle had to wear an original East Fremantle jersey as one of the past guernseys clashed with the old South Melbourne jumper, as they were playing the Sydney Swans that round; resulting in the teams taking the field in uniforms almost identical to those of the 1979 WAFL Grand Final- the Fremantle Derby Grand Final between East Fremantle and South Fremantle.

2008 – 150 years[edit]

The only heritage round was Tom Wills round but only Melbourne and Geelong wore a heritage guernsey.

Hawthorn played Brisbane in Tasmania, Brisbane wore their Fitzroy inspired strip as an away guernsey in Victoria.

Richmond celebrated their 100th year of league football by wearing a striped guernsey from their early years.

2009 – No heritage Round[edit]

No heritage round took place in 2009 but The Brisbane Lions continued to wear their Fitzroy away guernsey.

The Sydney Swans chose to wear their guernsey from their first premiership to celebrate 100 year since winning it in 1909 against Carlton in Round 16 at Etihad Stadium.


Port Adelaide VS Collingwood[edit]

An ongoing battle between both the Port Adelaide and Collingwood football clubs is over Port Adelaide wearing the colours black and white. Port Adelaide was established in the SANFL and, like Collingwood, were known as the Magpies and wore black and white. As Port Adelaide won a licence to enter the AFL in 1996 they had to agree not to overshadow the branding of the Collingwood football club by using the name "Magpies" and using only the colours black and white.

An agreement was finally reached between the two clubs which lets Port Adelaide wear the "Prison Bar" in 2007 as a one off, and for Port Adelaide to be able to wear the "Prison Bar" in future Heritage Rounds at AAMI Stadium so long as it is not against Collingwood.

The Future Of Heritage Round[edit]

The future of heritage round is in doubt due to the AFL needing to find a new way to reinvigorate interest as it will once again have to take a gimmicky status if it continues.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]