Alternative History
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DD1983 WCRB Flag Reclamation in progress

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Australian Football League

The Australian Football League (AFL) is the premier, national Australian rules football competition in the Commonwealth of Australia and New Zealand. It is the most popular sports organization in Australia, both in attendance and radio and television ratings. It is recognized as the de facto world body of the sport.


Pre-Doomsday[]

Australian Rules football is a code of football played on a oval-shaped field between two sides of 18 players each, with four goal posts (the middle two being the tallest of the four) on each end of the field. The ball can be advanced by kicking, handballing or dribbling, and any part of the body can be used. A player can earn a mark when he catches a ball kicked (more than 15 meters) by a player of either team, and is entitled to a free kick. Goals (worth six points) are scored by kicking the ball through the two middle posts. Behinds (worth 1 point) are scored when the ball is propelled between a middle post and the adjacent, shorter side post, or when the ball hits one of the middle posts.

It is the most popular in the Australian states of Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia. It is less popular in Queensland and New South Wales.

Doomsday[]

The destruction of Melbourne on the morning of September 26, 1983 affected only the WAFL as Perth was the only major city that was hit by Doomsday. The other major leagues in the SANFL and the VFL continued to held as they started their 1984 season.

Post-Doomsday[]

The start of change[]

After Doomsday, talks about expanding to Western Australia was off the table which meant that the VFL had to look elsewhere. In 1984, talks between the VFL and the QAFL began about a possible team in Queensland with one of the major factors being whenever a new team would be formed or a movement of a struggling Victorian club. This was mainly due to the fact that the VFL was struggling with only four of the twelve clubs in a profit. Those being Hawthorn, Essendon, Carlton and St Kilda. Only St Kilda would be the only team in that four to not make the finals with Essendon defeating Hawthorn in the 1984 Grand Final by 31 points.

Off the field, talks continued between VFL and the QAFL for discussion in Brisbane while over in Adelaide the SANFL was proposing to put in a bid for a spot in the league as a way to prop the local league there who was struggling in cash. The VFL though dismissed the idea at first saying that it was better to get an non AFL based state first before going over to South Australia. This would push the South Australians harder as they hoped to get a team into the league.

In early 1985, the National Football League board got into a discussion with the VFL board with a proposal to turn the VFL into a national league with their major reasoning to try and keep the sport alive especially with Western Australia still rebuilding after Doomsday. After a four hour discussion, it was decided that the league would see the league attempt to go national. Though when this proposal came to the clubs, half of the clubs rejected the possible proposal with the worry about inter-state teams taking over the league.

One of the major factors for the Victorian clubs wanting to stay local was the failure of the Sydney Swans who was struggling financially since the move in 1982 with crowds of only 7,000 by the start of the 1985 season. Fitzory was another club that was struggling and with the QAFL recognizing the struggles that the club was having and discussions began between the two.

The 1986 season[]

The 1986 season saw major changes be set in stone. The first domino to occurred happened in early 1986 with talks between Fitzory and the QAFL breaking down which meant for the QAFL, they had to discuss another team or to possibly go alone in terms of getting a license. This discussion would than lead to North Melbourne which was later rejected by North Melbourne.

For Fitzroy, discussions started between them and Melbourne to merge the two teams into one. The discussions would then lead to possible talks with the uniform being red and blue with a gold lion being on the front of the uniform. This proposal would see the team play at the Melbourne Cricket Ground with two games being played at Victoria Park during the season. Late in the season, the final discussions between the two boards was put then approved with co-presidents during the first three years of the merged deal before an official election to take place during 1990. With the deal signed between the two boards, it went up to a vote for two teams members. For Fitzroy they would agree by a majority but for Melbourne they would only just scrape through with the merger between the two teams. For Fitzroy, their final match would be a elimination in the first week of the finals to Essendon by 3 points while Melbourne lost to eventual 1986 winners Carlton.

This news occurring in Melbourne meant that the Brisbane bid possibly going alone became a possibility and when the QAFL and a possible bid from John Collins merging their resources to attempt that open spot that was now available. Though the SANFL also made a late bid to see if they could a team into the league with the proposed name of the Adelaide Crows. This bid would fall through with the Queensland bid being accepted to join for the 1987 season as that twelfth club which meant that for the first time in 35 years, a VFL match would be played in Queensland. This addition to the league would bring in some much needed cash into the league with the bid incorporating four million dollars into the league. Though with the injection it didn't save the league from changing even further into the late 80s.

VFL becoming the AFL[]

In late November 1986, the first VFL draft took place with the Brisbane Bears picking Martin Leslie as the first pick. Though for Leslie, he wouldn't play any games for the Bears as they would finish 4-18 and collecting the wooden spoon. The other new team for the 1987 season, the Melbourne Lions they would record their first finals appearance in twenty two years making all the way up to the Grand Final where they would lose to Carlton as they claimed their 16th premiership by 22 points.

The last two years of the 1980s saw troubling signs for two of the clubs. For Sydney, their owners Powerplay Limited would go bankrupt which meant that Sydney funds had dried up and was up for sale. The VFL would take over during that season with ACTAFL offering to buy the club and relocated them within three years for six million dollars. The VFL would accept that deal as Sydney would play increasing amount of matches during the three year transition period. The other club was Footscray who looked into merging with St Kilda but was saved when the supporter base were able to bring the necessary funds to pay off the debts that the team owed. Both of those seasons saw Hawthorn take out the season defeating Melbourne and Geelong respectively.

The first year of the 1990s saw a name change with it becoming the Australian Football League. This was also the last season that the league would have twelve teams as during the middle of that season, the Port Adelaide Football Club made a bid to join the league and despite a late bid from the AFLSA, the proposal from Port Adelaide was accepted which meant Adelaide had a team in the AFL for the first time. This meant that the league had to use for a bye for the first time since the 1943 season. For Adelaide, they finished eighth in their first season while Geelong took out the premiership as they defeated the Hawks by 21 points. More to come ...

List of premiers[]

This is the list of premiers from the 1983 season onwards.

Season Premiers Runners-up Score Venue Attendance Date
1983 Hawthorn (5) Essendon 20.20 (140) d. 8.9 (57) Melbourne Cricket Ground 110,332 24 September 1983
1984 Essendon (13) Hawthorn 17.18 (120) d. 11.13 (79) Melbourne Cricket Ground 89,133 29 September 1984
1985 Essendon (14) Hawthorn 27.13 (175) d. 10.8 (68) Melbourne Cricket Ground 95,481 28 September 1985
1986 Carlton (15) Hawthorn 10.12 (72) d. 9.13 (69) Melbourne Cricket Ground 101,861 27 September 1986
1987 Carlton (16) Melbourne 15.13 (103) d. 13.7 (85) Melbourne Cricket Ground 91,101 26 September 1987

Teams[]

Team Place Stadium
Geelong Cats Geelong, Victoria Simonds Stadium
Port Adelaide Magpies Adelaide, South Australia Adelaide Oval
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