Formed in October 1896, the Victorian Football League (VFL) is one of the oldest sporting leagues in the world rich in history and passion based on a love of Australian football. In 1896, eight leading clubs in Victoria - Melbourne, Essendon, Geelong, Collingwood, South Melbourne, Fitzroy, Carlton and St Kilda came together to form the VFL. Winter in Melbourne was dominated by football and the game had developed from a suburban game into a structured league with a legion of fans and supporters.
The VFL changed its name to the AFL in 1990, and further expansion followed in 1991 (Adelaide Crows), 1995 (Fremantle) and 1997 (Port Adelaide), coupled with a 1996 merger between the Brisbane Bears and Fitzroy, giving the competition two teams in each of WA and SA, and one team apiece in Qld and NSW.
The VFL returned to a Victorian reserves competition for the best state league footballers across Victoria. Teams included Victorian AFL reserves teams plus long-standing clubs like Port Melbourne, Williamstown and Frankston.
In 2021, a new era for the VFL began, the home-and-away season featured 22 clubs (16 from Victoria, three from Queensland and three from New South Wales). After two seasons disrupted by the COVID pandemic, with 2021 cut short before the premiership was won, in 2022 there are 21 teams competing in a 22-round home-and-away season plus finals, with Aspley in Queensland having left the competition.