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Premiership seasonEdit

In 1897, the VFL competition consisted of eight teams of 20 on-the-field players each, with no "reserves" (although any of the 20 players who had left the playing field for any reason could later resume their place on the field at any time during the match).[1]

Each team played each other twice in a home-and-away season of 14 rounds.

Once the 14 round home-and-away season had finished, the 1897 VFL Premiers were determined according to the conditions dictated by the specific format and conventions of the 1897 Finals System, which was used in this season only. A round-robin finals series would not be used again until 1924, and has not been used since then.

Round 1Edit

Round 1
Saturday, 8 May (3:00 pm) Fitzroy 6.13 (49) def. Carlton 2.4 (16) Brunswick Street Oval (crowd: 3,000) Report
Saturday, 8 May (3:00 pm) Collingwood 5.11 (41) def. St Kilda 2.4 (16) Victoria Park Report
Saturday, 8 May (3:00 pm) Geelong 3.6 (24) def. by Essendon 7.5 (47) Corio Oval Report
Saturday, 8 May (3:00 pm) South Melbourne 3.9 (27) def. by Melbourne 6.8 (44) Lake Oval Report

Round 2Edit

Round 2
Saturday, 15 May (3:00 pm) South Melbourne 6.4 (40) def. Carlton 5.6 (36) Lake Oval Report
Saturday, 15 May (3:00 pm) Essendon 4.6 (30) def. by Collingwood 8.2 (50) East Melbourne Cricket Ground Report
Saturday, 15 May (3:00 pm) St Kilda 3.8 (26) def. by Fitzroy 10.6 (66) Junction Oval Report
Saturday, 15 May (3:00 pm) Melbourne 9.10 (64) def. Geelong 3.1 (19) Melbourne Cricket Ground Report

Round 3Edit

Round 3
Saturday, 22 May (3:00 pm) Collingwood 6.5 (41) def. Geelong 5.7 (37) Victoria Park Report
Saturday, 22 May (3:00 pm) Fitzroy 5.9 (39) def. by Melbourne 7.8 (50) Brunswick Street Oval (crowd: 10,000) Report
Monday, 24 May (3:00 pm) Essendon 12.6 (78) def. Carlton 6.5 (41) East Melbourne Cricket Ground Report
Monday, 24 May (3:00 pm) South Melbourne 8.11 (59) def. St Kilda 0.2 (2) Lake Oval Report

Round 4Edit

Round 4
Saturday, 29 May (3:00 pm) Geelong 5.14 (44) def. Carlton 3.4 (22) Corio Oval Report
Saturday, 29 May (3:00 pm) South Melbourne 5.11 (41) def. Collingwood 5.3 (33) Lake Oval Report
Saturday, 29 May (3:00 pm) Fitzroy 2.8 (20) def. by Essendon 6.6 (42) Brunswick Street Oval Report
Saturday, 29 May (3:00 pm) Melbourne 11.10 (76) def. St Kilda 7.4 (46) Melbourne Cricket Ground Report

Round 5Edit

Round 5
Saturday, 5 June (3:00 pm) Melbourne 15.17 (107) def. Carlton 3.8 (26) Melbourne Cricket Ground Report
Saturday, 5 June (3:00 pm) Collingwood 5.7 (37) def. Fitzroy 2.9 (21) Victoria Park Report
Saturday, 5 June (3:00 pm) St Kilda 3.8 (26) def. by Essendon 9.9 (63) Junction Oval Report
Saturday, 5 June (3:00 pm) Geelong 10.12 (72) def. South Melbourne 3.6 (24) Corio Oval Report

Round 6Edit

Round 6
Saturday, 19 June (3:00 pm) St Kilda 3.6 (24) def. by Carlton 5.5 (35) Junction Oval Report
Saturday, 19 June (3:00 pm) Melbourne 5.3 (33) def. Collingwood 3.8 (26) Melbourne Cricket Ground Report
Saturday, 19 June (3:00 pm) South Melbourne 2.4 (16) def. by Essendon 1.13 (19) Lake Oval Report
Saturday, 19 June (3:00 pm) Geelong 3.13 (31) def. Fitzroy 2.3 (15) Corio Oval Report

Round 7Edit

Round 7
Tuesday, 22 June (3:00 pm) Carlton 5.5 (35) def. by Collingwood 6.5 (41) Princes Park Report
Tuesday, 22 June (3:00 pm) Essendon 8.15 (63) def. Melbourne 3.9 (27) East Melbourne Cricket Ground Report
Tuesday, 22 June (3:00 pm) Fitzroy 5.13 (43) drew with South Melbourne 5.13 (43) Brunswick Street Oval Report
Tuesday, 22 June (3:00 pm) St Kilda 4.7 (31) def. by Geelong 16.18 (114) Junction Oval Report
  • Geelong's 16.18.114 was the highest score in 1897

Round 8Edit

Round 8
Saturday, 26 June (3:00 pm) Carlton 1.3 (9) def. by Fitzroy 5.17 (47) Princes Park Report
Saturday, 26 June (3:00 pm) St Kilda 4.5 (29) def. by Collingwood 7.11 (53) Junction Oval Report
Saturday, 26 June (3;00 pm) Essendon 5.2 (32) def. by Geelong 8.9 (57) East Melbourne Cricket Ground Report
Saturday, 26 June (3:00 pm) Melbourne 3.2 (20) def. by South Melbourne 11.7 (73) Melbourne Cricket Ground Report

Round 9Edit

Round 9
Saturday, 3 July (3:00 pm) Carlton 4.4 (28) def. by South Melbourne 11.8 (74) Princes Park
Saturday, 3 July (3:00 pm) Collingwood 5.7 (37) def. by Essendon 6.10 (46) Victoria Park Report
Saturday, 3 July (3:00 pm) Fitzroy 9.21 (75) def. St Kilda 2.6 (18) Brunswick Street Oval
Saturday, 3 July (3:00 pm) Geelong 1.9 (15) def. Melbourne 0.10 (10) Corio Oval Report

Round 10Edit

Round 10
Saturday, 10 July (3:00 pm) Carlton 2.1 (13) def. by Essendon 5.12 (42) Princes Park Report
Saturday, 10 July (3:00 pm) Geelong 7.10 (52) def. Collingwood 1.4 (10) Corio Oval Report
Saturday, 10 July (3:00 pm) Melbourne 8.5 (53) def. Fitzroy 3.8 (26) Melbourne Cricket Ground Report
Saturday, 10 July (3:00 pm) St Kilda 0.3 (3) def. by South Melbourne 8.16 (64) Junction Oval Report

Round 11Edit

Round 11
Saturday, 17 July (3:00 pm) Carlton 2.4 (16) def. by Geelong 9.12 (66) Princes Park Report
Saturday, 17 July (3:00 pm) Collingwood 0.8 (8) def. by South Melbourne 2.15 (27) Victoria Park Report
Saturday, 17 July (3:00 pm) Essendon 9.8 (62) def. Fitzroy 4.6 (30) East Melbourne Cricket Ground Report
Saturday, 17 July (3:00 pm) St Kilda 1.7 (13) def. by Melbourne 10.11 (71) Junction Oval

Round 12Edit

Round 12
Saturday, 24 July (3:00 pm) Carlton 2.6 (18) def. by Melbourne 5.16 (46) Melbourne Cricket Ground Report
Saturday, 24 July (3:00 pm) Fitzroy 4.4 (28) def. by Collingwood 3.17 (35) Brunswick Street Oval Report
Saturday, 24 July (3:00 pm) Essendon 13.16 (94) def. St Kilda 0.3 (3) East Melbourne Cricket Ground Report
Saturday, 24 July (3:00 pm) South Melbourne 5.2 (32) def. by Geelong 6.8 (44) Lake Oval Report

Round 13Edit

Round 13
Saturday, 31 July (3:00 pm) Carlton 8.11 (59) def. St Kilda 3.7 (25) Princes Park Report
Saturday, 31 July (3:00 pm) Collingwood 5.13 (43) def. Melbourne 3.10 (28) Victoria Park Report
Saturday, 31 July (3:00 pm) Essendon 8.1 (49) def. South Melbourne 6.9 (45) East Melbourne Cricket Ground Report
Saturday, 31 July (3:00 pm) Fitzroy 2.9 (21) def. by Geelong 5.3 (33) Brunswick Street Oval Report

Round 14Edit

Round 14
Saturday, 7 August (3:00 pm) Collingwood 7.12 (54) def. Carlton 3.4 (22) Victoria Park Report
Saturday, 7 August (3:00 pm) Melbourne 8.8 (56) def. Essendon 6.3 (39) Melbourne Cricket Ground Report
Saturday, 7 August (3:00 pm) South Melbourne 3.12 (30) def. Fitzroy 4.5 (29) Lake Oval Report
Saturday, 7 August (3:00 pm) Geelong 14.12 (96) def. St Kilda 3.0 (18) Corio Oval Report

Win/Loss tableEdit

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Ladder
Carlton Fit
33
SM
4
Ess
37
Geel
22
Melb
81
StK
11
Coll
6
Fit
38
SM
46
Ess
29
Geel
50
Melb
28
StK
34
Coll
32
7
Collingwood StK
25
Ess
20
Geel
4
SM
8
Fit
16
Melb
7
Carl
6
StK
24
Ess
9
Geel
42
SM
19
Fit
7
Melb
15
Carl
32
4
Essendon Geel
23
Coll
20
Carl
37
Fit
22
StK
37
SM
3
Melb
36
Geel
25
Coll
9
Carl
29
Fit
32
StK
91
SM
4
Melb
17
2
Fitzroy Carl
33
StK
40
Melb
11
Ess
22
Coll
16
Geel
16
SM
0
Carl
38
StK
57
Melb
27
Ess
32
Coll
7
Geel
12
SM
1
6
Geelong Ess
23
Melb
45
Coll
4
Carl
22
SM
48
Fit
16
StK
83
Ess
25
Melb
5
Coll
42
Carl
50
SM
12
Fit
12
StK
78
1
Melbourne SM
17
Geel
45
Fit
11
StK
30
Carl
81
Coll
7
Ess
36
SM
53
Geel
5
Fit
27
StK
58
Carl
28
Coll
15
Ess
17
3
South Melbourne Melb
17
Carl
4
StK
57
Coll
8
Geel
48
Ess
3
Fit
0
Melb
53
Carl
46
StK
61
Coll
19
Geel
12
Ess
4
Fit
1
5
St Kilda Coll
25
Fit
40
SM
57
Melb
30
Ess
37
Carl
11
Geel
83
Coll
24
Fit
57
SM
61
Melb
58
Ess
91
Carl
34
Geel
78
8
Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Ladder
Colour Result
Green Win
Red Loss
Blue Draw

Bold – Home game
Opponent for round listed above margin

LadderEdit

Pos Team Pld W L D PF PA % Pts
1 Geelong 14 11 3 0 704 382 184.3 44 Finals series
2 Essendon (P) 14 11 3 0 706 444 159.0 44
3 Melbourne 14 10 4 0 685 473 144.8 40
4 Collingwood 14 9 5 0 508 446 113.9 36
5 South Melbourne 14 8 5 1 594 430 138.1 34
6 Fitzroy 14 4 9 1 508 485 104.7 18
7 Carlton 14 2 12 0 377 737 51.2 8
8 St Kilda 14 0 14 0 281 966 29.1 0
Source: VFL ladder
Rules for classification: 1) points; 2) percentage; 3) number of points for.

Ladder progressionEdit

  • Numbers highlighted in green indicate that the team finished the round inside the top 4.
  • Numbers highlighted in blue indicates the team finished first on the ladder in that round.
  • Numbers highlighted in red indicates the team finished in last place on the ladder in that round.

FinalsEdit

Week 1Edit

Week 1
Saturday, 21 August Geelong 3.11 (29) def. by Essendon 5.5 (35) Corio Oval (crowd: 5,000)
Saturday, 21 August Melbourne 7.5 (47) def. by Collingwood 7.9 (51) MCG (crowd: 7,000)

Week 2Edit

Week 2
Saturday, 28 August Essendon 9.16 (70) def. Collingwood 4.6 (30) MCG (crowd: 8,000)
Saturday, 28 August Geelong 5.16 (46) def. Melbourne 5.7 (37) Brunswick Street Oval (crowd: 4,000)

Week 3Edit

Week 3
Saturday, 4 September Essendon 1.8 (14) def. Melbourne 0.8 (8) Lake Oval (crowd: 3,800)
Saturday, 4 September Geelong 8.4 (52) def. Collingwood 6.12 (48) EMCG (crowd: 3,000)

Finals LadderEdit

1897 Finals Ladder
Team P W L D PF PA % Pts
1 Essendon 3 3 0 0 119 67 177.61 12
2 Geelong 3 2 1 0 127 120 105.83 8
3 Collingwood 3 1 2 0 129 169 76.33 4
4 Melbourne 3 0 3 0 92 111 82.88 0
Key: P = Played, W = Won, L = Lost, D = Drawn, PF = Points for, PA = Points against

Grand finalEdit

Essendon won the premiership for finishing on top of the round robin finals ladder and no Grand Final was played.

See List of Australian Football League premiers for a complete list.

AwardsEdit

Notable eventsEdit

  • The game between Essendon and Melbourne in the third round of the round robin tournament holds the record for the lowest combined score in a match in VFL/AFL history: 1.16 (22).
  • George Stuckey, the captain of the Essendon Football Club team that won the VFL's inaugural premiership, also won the 130-yard Stawell Gift in 1897 in 12.2 seconds off a handicap of 12 yards.
  • In the first round of 1897, the VFL revoked the VFA's (then prevailing) push-in-the-back rule. The rule was reinstated before the second round's matches on the following Saturday due to complaints from fans, players and officials.
  • On 12 June, a League representative team played against a Ballarat Football League representative team at the Brunswick Street Oval. Ballarat 13.11 (89) defeated the League 8.6 (54).[2]
  • On 3 July 1897, Fitzroy rover Bill McSpeerin weaved his way and bounced the ball the length of the Brunswick Street Oval to score a goal against St Kilda.[3]
  • Fred Waugh was unable to play in South Melbourne's team for the Round 11 game with St Kilda after attempting suicide. He had been spurned by his lover, and had become disconsolate. His mother found him in his room covered in blood, having cut his throat with a blunt knife. Luckily, he missed severing his windpipe and blood vessels, and a doctor was able to repair the wounds.[4]
  • Carlton's first six matches were all away games due to renovations at Princes Park, with the first game at Princes Park being a 5.6 (36) loss to Collingwood 6.4 (40) on the 22nd of June - Diamond Jubilee Holiday.[5]
  • The first round finals match between Geelong and Essendon at the Corio Oval was the only finals match to be played in Geelong until 2013.[5]

FootnotesEdit

  1. ^ "THE FOOTBALL SEASON". The Argus. Melbourne. 8 May 1897. p. 11.
  2. ^ Markwell (19 June 1897). "Football Notes". The Australasian. Melbourne. p. 1229.
  3. ^ Markwell, "Football: Hollow Defeat", The Australasian, (Saturday, 10 July 1897), p.21.
  4. ^ A Footballer's Romance: Rejected by his Sweetheart: He Attempts Suicide, The Argus, (Monday, 12 July 1897), p.5.
  5. ^ a b Ross, John (1996). 100 Years of Australian Football. Ringwood, Victoria: Penguin Books. p. 39. ISBN 978-0670868148.

ReferencesEdit

  • Maplestone, M., Flying Higher: History of the Essendon Football Club 1872–1996, Essendon Football Club, (Melbourne), 1996. ISBN 0-9591740-2-8
  • Rogers, S. & Brown, A., Every Game Ever Played: VFL/AFL Results 1897–1997 (Sixth Edition), Viking Books, (Ringwood), 1998. ISBN 0-670-90809-6
  • Ross, J. (ed), 100 Years of Australian Football 1897–1996: The Complete Story of the AFL, All the Big Stories, All the Great Pictures, All the Champions, Every AFL Season Reported, Viking, (Ringwood), 1996. ISBN 0-670-86814-0

External linksEdit