Formed in October 1896, the Victorian Football League (VFL) is one of the oldest sporting leagues in the world rich in history and passion centered by a love of the Australian game of 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 from Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria in a 16-game season across 19 rounds. For the first time, six clubs from New South Wales and Queensland will join the oldest state league football competition in Australia.
CARLTON'S spluttering start to the season has amplified the pressure on the Blues' senior leaders. But none more than coach David Teague.
The Blues' latest loss to the Western Bulldogs left questions on the inability of the coaches' box to get an on-field reaction as the Dogs kicked eight consecutive goals to grab victory from a 27-point deficit.
Now at 3-5 with the fourth-worst defence in the game, it has moved Teague from fifth to second place behind out-of-contract Collingwood coach Nathan Buckley in AFL.com.au's updated coach pressure gauge.
Into his second full season at the helm, Teague's honeymoon period is over following the additions of Zac Williams and Adam Saad with pre-season expectations of finals.
Buckley (ranked third in our pre-season edition) and the Pies hierarchy have pointed to the final seven weeks of the season as to the window for a decision on Buckley's future. He is the only coach in the competition without a deal for 2022.
Greater Western Sydney coach Leon Cameron has slid down one spot to third with the Giants within touching distance of the eight after a 0-3 start to the campaign.
St Kilda coach Brett Ratten has moved up to fourth after a wayward 4-4 opening, while Stuart Dew, now into his fourth season, is in fifth with a 3-5 record.
Meantime, Melbourne's 8-0 run has dropped the pressure on coach Simon Goodwin who has plummeted from first to 13th following his team's unbeaten start to 2021 after back-to-back failed seasons.
Winless North Melbourne coach David Noble is the biggest riser, and while he'll be given plenty of time to rebuild, needs a win against Hawthorn on Sunday before another difficult block of games.
Alastair Clarkson's Hawks have dropped further on pre-season estimations and have escaped in their only two wins which, had they lost, could've further exposed the lack of talent on their list.
West Coast has left a lot to be desired in 2021 with an ageing list and moved Adam Simpson up one spot, while Chris Scott drops slightly with his Cats starting to click.
Luke Beveridge couldn't have done much more to date this season but is still without a finals win since the 2016 flag, while 2020 preliminary final losers Ken Hinkley and Chris Fagan have both had glaring losses despite strong overall starts.
Despite being 2-6, Ben Rutten's kids have shone in the early stages to drop his ranking, while Matthew Nicks has already equalled his 2020 win column and Justin Longmuir is batting at 50 per cent this season.
And Sydney's bright start to the year has moved John Longmire even further down with reigning premiership coach Damien Hardwick remaining untouchable.
18. Damien Hardwick (ranked 18th in March) 17. John Longmire (15th) 16. Justin Longmuir (16th) 15. Matthew Nicks (11th) 14. Ben Rutten (8th) 13. Simon Goodwin (1st) 12. Chris Fagan (13th) 11. Ken Hinkley (12th) 10. Luke Beveridge (4th) 9. Chris Scott (6th) 8. Adam Simpson (9th) 7. Alastair Clarkson (14th) 6. David Noble (17th) 5. Stuart Dew (7th) 4. Brett Ratten (10th) 3. Leon Cameron (2nd) 2. David Teague (5th) 1. Nathan Buckley (3rd)