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AFL TV

Dockers draft silky-skilled Weller

11:30pm  Nov 27, 2014

Cats pounce on Cockatoo at No.10

11:06pm  Nov 27, 2014

Giants add talented trio

11:02pm  Nov 27, 2014

Headlines

Still in with a chance?

Cal Twomey looks at the top chances for the pre-season and rookie drafts

8:37pm  Nov 28, 2014

The new Bud and Roughy?

St Kilda's refusal to trade picks No.1 and 21 could have enormous rewards

3:50pm  Nov 28, 2014

Stars align for Suns, Wright

'Two-metre Peter' a once-in-a-decade player, says Suns recruiter

2:34pm  Nov 28, 2014

History of Australian Football

In 1857, Tom Wills, one of the founders of Australian Football, returned to Australia after schooling in England where he was football captain of Rugby School and a brilliant cricketer. Initially, he advocated the winter game of football as a way of keeping cricketers fit during off-season.

The new game was devised by Wills, his cousin H.C.A. Harrison, W.J. Hammersley and J.B. Thompson. The Melbourne Football Club was formed on August 7, 1858 – the year of the code's first recorded match between Scotch College and Melbourne Grammar School.

The game quickly blossomed. The Geelong Football Club was formed in 1859 and in 1866 an updated set of rules was put in place and competition started.

The Victorian Football League was established in 1896 and the following year the League’s first games were played among the foundation clubs – Carlton, Collingwood, Essendon, Fitzroy, Geelong, Melbourne, St Kilda and South Melbourne.

In 1908, Richmond and University joined the competition. But after the 1914 season, University left the League. In 1925, Footscray (now the Western Bulldogs), Hawthorn and North Melbourne joined the VFL.

This line-up of 12 clubs would remain unchanged until 1987 when the competition expanded to include the West Coast Eagles and the Brisbane Bears. By 1997, the competition comprised 16 clubs after Adelaide (in 1991), Fremantle (in 1995), and Port Adelaide (in 1997) joined the now Australian Football League and foundation club Fitzroy merged with the Brisbane Bears to form the Brisbane Lions (after the 1996 season). In 2011 the Gold Coast Suns joined the competition, followed by the Greater Western Sydney Giants, creating the 18-team national competition we see today.