Main content

AFL knocks back Cats' bid for extra flags

What next for MRP? Big names in doubt Thursday Footy Feed with Matt Thompson and Peter Ryan

PREMIERSHIPS won in the VFA will not be counted in the official VFL/AFL premiership tally following a proposal from Geelong to include flags won before 1897.

Cats president Colin Carter wrote to the AFL Commission aiming for wider recognition of the game's foundation clubs, arguing that the official history should reflect matches played by those clubs prior to the establishment of the VFL in 1897.

Carlton, Collingwood, Essendon, Fitzroy, Geelong, Melbourne, St Kilda and South Melbourne competed in the VFA from 1870-96 before the eight clubs left to establish the VFL.

After Geelong's request, AFL Commission chairman Mike Fitzpatrick sought advice from prominent game historians to decide how the VFA premierships should be recognised, along with individual achievements such as games played and goals kicked.

Fitzpatrick said the Commission had resolved that it would "endorse the recognition of premierships and player statistics for the period 1870-1896, subject to them being delineated between the major competitions of the VFA and VFL".

It means Geelong's seven VFA premierships – won between 1878 and 1886 - could be distinguished from the club's six VFL flags and three AFL premierships.

"The VFL/AFL has its own discrete history from 1897 to 1990 when the name of the competition changed to the AFL but it has been the one organisation since its establishment until the VFL was used as the foundation to establish our national competition," Fitzpatrick said.

"All player records and major awards including the Brownlow Medal, John Coleman Medal and Norm Smith Medal were retained when the competition expanded nationally."

The Commission has decided that each club has the option to decide how it will recognise its history across VFA/VFL or SANFL (for Port Adelaide)/AFL, depending on its continuous passage as a club.