billsportsmaps.com

May 5, 2017

Australian rules football – the Australian Football League (AFL), 2017 location-map, with map showing all venues (17 venues) for 2017 AFL season; plus 2016 attendance figures & titles list./+ Illustration for the 2016 Grand Final champions – Western Bulldogs.

Filed under: Australia,Australian Rules Football — admin @ 12:20 pm

australian-rules-football_2017-afl_location-map_stadiums_2016-attendance_titles_post_c_.gif
Australian rules football: Australian Football League (AFL), 2017 location-map, with with map showing all venues for 2017 AFL season; plus 2016 attendance figures & titles list



By Bill Turianski on 5 May 2017; twitter.com/billsportsmaps.

Links…
-AFL official site
-2017 AFL season (en.wikipedia.org).
-theroar.com.au/aussie-rules.
-Aussie rules scores/fixtures/ladder, etc..scorespro.com/aussie-rules.
-If you are new to Aussie rules football and would like to see an explanation of the rules, and/or a brief thumbnail-history of the AFL, you can see all that on my first map-and-post on the subject, here:
[from April 2015] Australian rules football – the Australian Football League (AFL), 2015 location-map with: rules (in general), clubs-history-chart, and chart of 2014 attendances with titles listed./ Plus: 2014 champions the Hawthorn Hawks.

    2016 Grand Final champions – Western Bulldogs: their second Premiership (title) and first title in 62 years…

australia_afl_2016-grand-final_western-bulldogs_89-67_sydney-swans_jason_johannisen_tom-boyd_liam-picken_tory-dickson_b_.gif
Photo and Image credits above – Jason Johannisen, photo by Tim Carrafa at heraldsun.com.au/sport. Tom Boyd, photo by Getty Images via pinterest.com. Liam Picken, photo by Graham Denholm/Fairfax Media via standard.net.au. Tory Dickson, photo by Alex Coppel at theaustralian.com.au/sport. Shot of clinching goal celebration, photo by Phil Hillyard at heraldsun.com.au/sport.

    Australian rules football – the Australian Football League (AFL), 2017 location-map, with map showing all venues for 2017 AFL season; plus 2016 attendance figures & titles list.

2017 AFL, location-map with titles chart & attendances…
The main map shows all the venues for the 2017 season (17 venues), plus of course the 18 AFL teams’ crests and their primary-locations. At the far-upper left of the map-page is a small map showing the venue-location in Shanghai, China (see 3 paragraphs below). [Note: if you are confused why the Wikipedia page for the AFL currently shows there being 16 venues (and not 17 venues) for the 2017 AFL season, that is because the (recently-renovated) venue in Ballarat, Victoria is not included there...and the Western Bulldogs will be in fact playing one of their home games there (at the 11-K-capacity Eureka Statium), this season (on 19 August, 2017).]

On the upper-right-hand-side is a chart of all the AFL teams, arranged by titles. The chart lists the 6 following items for each team…

A). Club colours, crest & jersey-pattern.
B). Premiers (titles), with year of last premiership. The most-titled clubs in the AFL are the Essendon Bombers and the Carlton Blues, both of whom have won 16 Premiers (but neither has been AFL champion since 2000).
C). Australian state that the team is located in (10 teams from Victoria; and 2 teams each from: New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia).
D). Year-of-establishment as an AFL team (with Melbourne-to-Sydney franchise-move [of 1981-82] noted).
E). Seasons in the VFL/AFL [2017 will be the 121st season of the VFL/AFL).
F). Premiers-per-season percentage [Premiers (Titles) divided by seasons]. The best percentage is owned by the Brisbane Lions (who have won a Premier every 6.67 seasons) followed by the Hawthorn Hawks (a Premier won every 7.14 seasons), then the Essendon Bombers (a Premier won every 7.37 seasons), then the Carlton Blues (a Premier won every 7.5 seasons), then the Collingwood Magpies (a Premier won every 8 seasons).

Since its founding in 1897, the VFL/AFL has played regular-season matches at 42 different venues…
From the Australian Football League page at Wikipedia…“Throughout the history of the VFL/AFL, there have been a total of 42 different grounds used…/…The largest capacity ground in use is the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), which has a capacity of over 100,000 people, and hosts the Grand Final each year. The MCG is shared by five [of the 10 Melbourne] teams as a home ground, whilst the other grounds used as home venues by multiple teams are Docklands Stadium in Melbourne [four of the 10 Melbourne teams primarily], Adelaide Oval in Adelaide [both Adelaide-based teams], and Subiaco Oval in Perth [both Perth-based teams]. The AFL has had exclusive ownership of Docklands Stadium (commercially known as Etihad Stadium) since late 2016.” (excerpt from en.wikipedia.org/Australian Football League/Venues).

Alternate venues for the 2017 AFL regular season…
I have expanded the original location-map I made 2 years ago by including all venues – 17 venues – that will host regular-season games in the 2017 AFL season. (You can also see 16 of the 17 venues at the following link at Wikipedia: venues used during the 2017 AFL season.) Included in that list of venues is a stadium in Shanghai, China: the 25,000-capacity Jiangwan Stadium, which will be re-configured to host Aussie rules football with a temporary-15-K-capacity, and will host a regular-season AFL match between the Port Adelaide Power and the Gold Coast Suns, on 14 May 2017.
-See this, Port, Suns to face off in Shanghai in round eight clash (by Dinny Navaratnam on 16 Oct. 2016, from afl.com.au).
-Also see this, Beating NFL and NBA to the punch: Port Adelaide bring real AFL deal to Shanghai (by Sam Agars on 3 Feb. 2017, from the South China Morning Post at scmp.com).

Aside from AFL regular-season games played previously in New Zealand, this will be the AFL’s first overseas regular-season match [ie, outside of Austalasia]. And, as pointed out in the article from the South China Morning Post linked-to above, the AFL match in Shanghai in May 2017 will be the first regular-season game played in China by any foreign professional league. In other words, the Australian Football League has beaten the NFL and the NBA (and the Premier League, for that matter), in being the first foreign major league to play a regular season game in the potentially-vastly-lucrative market that is China.

Many AFL teams regularly play matches outside of their home venues…

The Hawthorn Hawks and the North Melbourne Kangaroos both play a considerable percentage of their home regular-season games in the State of Tasmania (which is the southern-most of the 6 Australian States, and is an island located 240 km (150 mi) to the south of the Australian mainland). For 17 years now (since 2001), the Hawthorne Hawks have played some of their regular-season home matches in Launceston, Tasmania (which has a population of only around 86,000). There, Hawthorn play at York Park [aka the University of Tasmania Stadium], which has a capacity of 21,000. These days Hawthorn play four of their eleven home regular-season matches there. If Hawthorne played all their home matches at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (and not just 7 of their 11 home matches at the MCG), they would probably draw at-or-near-to the highest in the AFL. Because when you do the math, the 13.8 K per game they drew in Launceston, Tasmania last season depressed Hawthorne’s average attendance to the point that they were actually drawing highest in the league – on average – for their Melbourne home matches at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (they averaged 49.6 K at the MCG, a figure which is about 2.6 K higher than the 47.0 K that the top-drawing Adelaide Crows drew in 2016). Tasmania Tourism is also a major sponsor of the Hawthorne Hawks (as you can see in the jersey-photo below, with “Tasmania” emblazoned prominently on the Hawks’ gear).
hawthorn_hawks_play-4-home-matches-per-year_at_york-park_launceston_tasmania_e_.gif
Photo credits above – Photo of Launceston, Tasmania unattributed at realestate.com.au/neighbourhoods/launceston-tas. Photo inside York Park, Launceston, Tasmania for Hawthorne Hawks match, photo by city of Launceston at launceston.tas.gov.au/Events/AFL-2017-Hawthorn-v-Brisbane. Hawthorne 2017 jersey, photo from jerseys.com.au/products/hawthorn-hawks-2017-home-guernsey.

Another AFL team that plays in Tasmania is the North Melbourne Kangaroos…
Since 2012, the North Melbourne Kangaroos have played three of their eleven home regular-season matches in the Tasmanian capital-city of Hobart (the population of Greater Hobart is around 221,000). There, North Melbourne play at the Bellerive Oval, which has a capacity of 20,000.

To round out all the rest of the alternate home-match-venues for 2017…
-The Melbourne Demons play two of their eleven home regular-season matches in the sparsely-populated Northern Territory, with one match in Darwin, NT and one match in Alice Springs, NT.
-Since 2014, the Western Bulldogs have been playing one of their eleven home regular-season matches in Cairns, York Peninsula, Queensland. Starting in 2017, the Western Bulldogs also will begin playing one other regular-season home match in a venue about 65 miles west of Melbourne, in Ballarat, VIC.
-The newest AFL team, the Greater Western Sydney Giants, play three of their eleven home regular-season games in the Australian capital, in Canberra, ACT.

In all but the latter of these alternate-home-venues mentioned above, the shift in venue means a considerable decrease in the teams’ average attendances. But the teams see the benefits of lucrative sponsorship deals and expanded team-support, and these things outweigh the ticket-revenue-shortfalls of the alternate-venues. And likewise, with respect to the game being played in China…if the match in Shanghai works out well for the Port Adelaide Power – and for the AFL in general – then it is very probable that a regular-season game in China will become an annual feature of the Australian Football League.

___
Sources for map page:
Thanks to all at these links…
-Attendances (2016 season): 2016 Australian football code crowds/Attendances by club (en.wikipedia.org).
-Dates of establishment: Australian Football League/Current clubs.
-Titles: List of Australian Football League premiers. (en.wikipedia.org).
-Rules: Australian rules football; Australian rules football playing field (en.wikipedia.org).

-Blank maps on map page…
-Thanks to Ssolbergj for globe-map of Australia, File:Australia (orthographic projection).svg (commons.wikimedia.org).
-Thanks to NordNordWest for blank map of Australia, File:Australia location map.svg (en.wikipedia.org).’-Thanks to TUBS for blank map of China showing Shanghai, File:Shanghai in China (+all claims hatched).svg.

-Jersey Icons…Thanks to thejoesbloggsblog for most of the jersey-pattern icons on the chart on the map page at Australian Football League/Current clubs (en.wikipedia.org). Thanks to the AFLstore for Western Eagles’ jersey-icon, theaflstore.com.au/west-coast-eagles.

-Thanks to Port Adelaide FC’s twitter-feed, twitter.com/PAFC, for the article from the South China Morning Post.
-For general historical info, thanks to australianfootball.com.
-Thanks to the contributors at Australian Football League (en.wikipedia.org).
-Thanks to AFL Tables site for attendances and for all-time list of AFL venues, afltables.com/afl/venues/overall.html.

March 21, 2016

Australia, Australian Football League: AFL attendance chart for 2015 regular season (with 2015 finishes listed)/+ the Hawthorn Hawks – 2015 AFL Premiers [champions] (their 3rd-straight title, and 13th overall).

Filed under: Australia,Australian Rules Football — admin @ 9:27 pm

By Bill Turianski on 21 March 2016; twitter.com/billsportsmaps.

Links…
-Official site… afl.com.au.
-2016 AFL teams previews… by Russell Jackson at Guardian/sporttheguardian.com/profile/russell-jackson.
-2016 season (teams, etc)… 2016 AFL season (en.wikipedia.org).
-2015 attendance figures… afltables.com/afl/crowds/2015 (AFL Tables site).

-My map-&-post of Aussie Rules Football/AFL, from April 2015,
Australian rules football – the Australian Football League (AFL), 2015 location-map with: rules (in general), clubs-history-chart, and chart of 2014 attendances with titles listed./ Plus: 2014 champions the Hawthorn Hawks.

    AFL attendance chart for 2015 regular season (with 2015 finishes listed)

australia_afl_2015-attendances_b_.gif
Credits for above –
2015 AFL attendance figures from AFL Tables.com, at afltables.com/afl/crowds/2015.html.
AFL teams’ jersey-pattern icons from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_Football_League#Current_clubs.




From Guardian/sport, from 3 Oct. 2015, by Russell Jackson, AFL grand final: Hawthorn defeat West Coast Eagles by 46 points – as it happened (theguardian.com/sport/blog).

    Hawthorn Hawks – 2015 AFL Premiers [champions] (their third-straight title).
    3 October 2015: 2015 AFL Grand Final at Melbourne Cricket Ground (attendance: 98,633),
    Hawthorn Hawks 16.11 (107), West Coast Eagles 8.13 (61).

australia_afl_2015_grand-final_mcg_hawthorn-hawks-107_61-west-coast-eagles_cyrile-rioli_norm-smith-medalist_c_.gif
Photo credits above – Aerial shot of Melbourne Cricket ground [photo circa 2014], home of the AFL Grand Final, photo unattributed at piecesofvictoria.com. Photo of Hawthorn’s giant banner which was displayed prior to the match; photo from File:2015 AFL Grand Final Hawthorn banner.JPG, photo by Jenks24 at commons.wikimedia.org. Cyril Rioli leaps for a mark, photo by Julian Smith/AAP via theguardian.com/sport. Cyril Rioli scores his second first-quarter goal, photo by Julian Smith/AAP via abc.net.au/cyril-rioli-keeps-up-family-tradition-with-norm-smith-medal-win. Jack Gunston, photo unattributed at pinterest.com. Isaac Smith being tackled (but not without a fight), photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images AsiaPac via zimbio.com. Shaun Burgoyne and Cyril Rioli of the Hawks celebrate with fans as trophy gets passed towards them, photo by Darrian Traynor/AFL Media/Getty Images AsiaPac via zimbio.com. Cyrile Rioli with winners medal and Neal Smith medal (man of the match), photo unattributed at tlaworldwide.com/jpg.
___
Thanks to the contributors at Australian Football League (en.wikipedia.org).
Thanks to Russell Jackson for the live-blog article at The Guardian/sport/blog.
A Big Thanks to afltables.com, for attendance figures.

April 11, 2015

Australian rules football – the Australian Football League (AFL), 2015 location-map with: rules (in general), clubs-history-chart, and chart of 2014 attendances with titles listed./ Plus: 2014 champions the Hawthorn Hawks.

Filed under: Australia,Australian Rules Football — admin @ 3:14 pm

australian-rules-football_2015-afl_location-map_w-2014-attendances_titles-list_post_e_.gif
AFL (Australia): Australian Rules Football’s 1st division – map, with brief league history, 2014 attendances, and club titles listed



Links…
-Teams…Australian Football League/Current clubs (en.wikipedia.org).
-Live scores…scoreboard.com/aussie-rules.
-Fixtures & Results (official site)…afl.com.au/fixture.
-Official website…afl.com.au.

    Australian Football League: 2015 location-map with: Rules (in general), Clubs-history-chart; Attendances, Club colours, and Titles listed

By Bill Turianski on 11 April 2015; twitter.com/billsportsmaps.com.

Update -
Please note: here is an “update” I posted in 2016 (on the 2015 season of the AFL),
AFL attendance chart for 2015 regular season (with 2015 finishes listed)/+ the Hawthorn Hawks – 2015 AFL Premiers [champions] (their 3rd-straight title, and 13th overall) (billsportsmaps.com, posted on 21 March 2016).

First off, apologies to all the regulars from Down Under who have waited patiently (over 7 years) for me to finally make a map and a post of an Australian pro league. I will also soon have a post, in the near future (around mid-May 2015), for Australian rugby league football (the NRL).

On the map page…
At the top left-hand side of the map page is a Clubs-formation chart which shows a brief history of the VFL/AFL, with each current clubs’ date of inclusion into the league noted. At the lower left is a globe-map of Australia, with the 5 largest cities noted. At the center of the map page is a location-map of the 18 AFL teams. At the upper right-hand side of the map page are two illustrations of the typical Australian rules field, with a brief rules description and a brief word on typical-playing-field-dimensions (there also is a section below, on rules/playing-field/traditional-positions). Below that is a chart which shows 2014 home regular season attendance for the 18 AFL clubs, with three other things listed…1). club’s dates of formation and of inclusion into VFL/AFL; 2). club colours, crest, and jersey-pattern; 3). Premiers (titles) won by each club (with date of last title noted).

Size and population of Australia…
I will start of with a brief description of the size, relative size, and population of Australia. If you click on the following link you can see, at a glance, how large the island/Continent of Australia is when it is compared to the Continental USA, {here (aboutaustralia.com)}. As you can see in that graphic, Australia is about the same size as the Continental USA, but when you factor in Alaska (and Hawaii), Australia ends up being about 23% “smaller” than the 50 United States. Australia is the 6th-largest country on Earth, at around 7.6 million km-squared (or around 2.9 million miles-squared), which makes it about 10% “smaller” than the 5th-largest country – Brazil, and more than twice the size of the 7th-largest country – India. To put it another way, Australia is massive. It is also not very populous for its size, because Australia is only the 52nd-most-populous nation, with a population of around 23.7 million {2015 figure}. To give you an idea of how sparsely populated Australia is, it has slightly less inhabitants than the pretty-small-sized nations of Nepal, Ghana, or North Korea. {Sources of data: sizes: List of countries and dependencies by area; populations: List of countries and dependencies by population (both from en.wikipedia.org).}

The Big 5 Cities in Australia…
There are 5 major cities in Australia, all of which have AFL teams. On the map page, in the globe-map on the lower left there, I have placed those 5 cities along with their populations. Sydney is the largest city in the country, with around 4.7 million inhabitants (in the metro area/urban population/all listed here are 2013 or 2014 estimates). Melbourne is the second-city of Australia – but only just…it has a population of only about 300 K less than Sydney, at around 4.4 million. Brisbane is third-largest, at about 2.3 million; Perth is fourth at around 2.0 million; and Adelaide is fifth at around 1.2 million. The capital of Australia, Canberra (which is situated in the small Australian Capital Territory, located midway between Sydney and Melbourne) is a rather small city, and is the eighth-largest, with about 411,000 inhabitants. {Sources, each city’s Wikipedia page for the most-recent population estimates, however the following link is relatively recently updated (2012 figures), List of cities in Australia by population (en.wikipedia.org).}

There are 4 football codes in Australia which have professional major leagues (the most of any country)…
There are 4 football codes in Australia (listed below with first-division 2014 league-average-attendances):
Australian rules football (1st division: AFL, which averaged 32,327 per game in 2014).
Rugby union football (1st division: Super Rugby, which averaged 16,913 per game in 2014).
Rugby league football (1st division: NRL, which averaged 15,787 per game in 2014).
Association football [aka soccer]: only pro division: A-League, which averaged 14,759 per game in 2014).
[source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2014_Australian_football_code_crowds#Attendances_by_league.]

An extremely simplified guide to the 4 football codes’ popularity in Australia…
Aussie rules football…
[please note: a very basic VFL/AFL history is shown at the top left-hand-side of the map page.]
To simplify it in the extreme, Australian Rules Football, which originated in the 1860s in and around Melbourne in the state of Victoria, turned semi-pro when the AFL was formed in 1897. Although first division teams were not based in any of the other states and territories of the country for almost 90 years (until the 1980s and 1990s), Aussie rules football has always been hugely popular throughout all the 8 states and the 2 territories of Australia, with the exception of New South Wales (NSW) and Queensland. In and around Sydney (which is the capital of New South Wales) and in all of Queensland (including Brisbane), Australian rules football has been historically overshadowed by rugby league football. The split described in the last two sentences can be see in the map at Barassi Line (en.wikipedia.org) {that map is also at the top-left-hand-side of the map page}.

The 2 Rugby codes in Australia…
Rugby Union, a little over a century ago, became the major sport of the city of Melbourne and of the state of Victoria. The highest level of competition in Australia is the National Rugby Championship, although there is a higher tier that involves teams from South Africa, New Zealand, and Australia, Super Rugby.

Rugby League, a little over a century ago, became the major sport of the city of Sydney and of the state of New South Wales (as well as the major sport of Brisbane in Queensland). The highest level of competition in Australia is the National Rugby League (NRL), which has 16 teams (9 teams from New South Wales).

Soccer (aka association football), in Australia…
Soccer was widely shunned by many if not most Australian fans and players for decades (ie, only “Sheilas, Wogs & Poofters” played soccer, as the bigotry of the day held [circa 1950s through '80s]). Only in the last decade-and-a-half or so has soccer become a viable pro sport in Australia. And now, going into the 2010s, soccer has made significant gains in popularity, to the point that the Australian first division in soccer (the A-League) is currently drawing only marginally less than both rugby codes in the country (see list with league-attendance 4 paragraphs above).

Australian Rules Football: Rules (in general), Field Size, and Traditional Positions…
australian-rules-football_rules_typical-oval_field-size_traditional-positions_b_.gif
Image credits above – Field markings on the oval, illustration by Schultz at File:Footygroundfix.svg (en.wikipedia.org). Traditional positions in Aussie rules, illustration by Robert Merkel at File:Aussie rules ground positions.svg. Typical oval, illustration by clfm at File:AFL stadium.svg (commons.wikimedia.org).

Australian Rules Football: Rules (in general)…
[Note: the text below is the same as the text in the upper-right-hand-part of the illustration above.]
Each team has 18 players. The playing field is very large (~135 to 185 meters), and is usually oval in shape. The ball is oval, and has much more bounce to it than an American gridiron football. 4 quarters of 20 minutes each are played (80:00). Each quarter starts with a ball-up, which is similar to a tip-off, but with the umpire bouncing the ball down hard onto the ground, and thus high into the air, to be contested on the way down by each team’s ruckman (usually the tallest man on the team). Aussie rules is a contact sport and opposing players can stop the ball carrier by tackling, but dangerous play will result in distance penalties or suspension.

Out of bounds balls are put back in play by umpire, who, with his back turned, tosses ball overhead back into play.

There are four goalposts, and kicking the ball through the two center-posts is the object of the game. Goals are scored by kicking the ball, untouched by anyone else, through the center-uprights (6 points). If ball goes through the flanking uprights instead, it is called a behind (1 point).
-Players can advance the ball (in any direction) by running with the ball, but must bounce the ball (or touch ball to ground) every 15 meters (~16 yards).
-Players can also advance the ball by kicking the ball to teammates.
-Players can also advance the ball via a clenched-fist hand-pass (called a handball), or by an open-hand-tap.
-No throwing of the ball is allowed.
A mark is made when a player catches a kick of more than 15 meters. Play stops, and then that player kicks the ball from the mark.
{For further details, see this, Australian rules football/Laws of the game;
and see this, Australian rules football playing field.}

AFL season:
The AFL (regular) season spans from late-March to early-September, and has 22 matches per team (11 home games for each team, played in a 23-weeks-span, with one bye week per team per season). Four points are awarded for each win and two points are awarded for a draw. That is illogical mathematics. Because what would be the difference if it was 2 points for a win, and 1 for a draw? There would be no difference. Hey Melbourne, why don’t you just give 2 million points for a win and 1 million points for a draw? Because the standings would still end up the same. Sheesh. {See this, Why does the AFL use 4 points for a win and 2 points for a draw? (answers.yahoo.com/question), which features some bloke positing the following theory…”Mate, I have no idea why they award 4 points for a win in the AFL. Almost every other Aussie Rules Football competition, outside of Victoria uses the 2-1-0 system. My hunch: 4 points looks bigger and better, exactly the way Victorians see themselves! (comment by Graham).}

The top 8 [of the 18] teams qualify for a post-season playoffs, which is a bit complicated {see this, AFL finals system}. Basically, of the 8 that make it to the post-season, the top 4 only have to win 2 more matches to advance to the Grand Final, while the lower 4 [of the 8 who qualify for the post-season] have to win 3 more matches to advance to the Grand Final. Excerpt from Australian Football League/Finals series (en.wikipedia.org)…”The grand final is traditionally played at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on the afternoon of the last Saturday in September. The winning team receives a silver premiership cup and a navy blue premiership flag – a new one of each is manufactured each year. The flag has been presented since the league began and is traditionally unfurled at the team’s first home game of the following season.”

    Australian Football League (AFL): est. 1897 as the VFL…

(Note: The VFL changed its name to the AFL in 1990.)

1896: the Australian Football League (AFL), was formed in 1896 as the Victorian Football League (VFL), when 6 Melbourne-based clubs broke away from the the Victorian Football Association (Collingwood, Essendon, Fitzroy [now Brisbane Lions], Geelong, Melbourne, South Melbourne [now Sydney Swans]).

1897: a few months later, in early 1897, those 6 clubs invited two other Melbourne-based clubs to join the competition for its first season of 1897 (Carlton, and St Kilda).

In 1908, two more teams joined (Richmond, and the Melbourne University team), making the VFL, temporarily, a 10-team league for a 7-year-spell (1908-14).

(By around 1911 or so, player payments were becoming common in the VFL.)

1914: but one of those 2 new teams dropped out 6 years later – that was the Melbourne University VFL team. They were constrained by only being able to field players who were students there, and so never fielded professional players [just as the league was being filled more and more with semi-pro and pro players]. Melbourne University finished last 3 straight seasons, lost their last 51 games in the league, and left the competition for good in 1914. (Melbourne University team was re-started 5 years later in 1919 as 2 teams – the University Blues and the University Blacks – both of whom are currently in the top division of the seven-tier Victorian Amateur Football Association.)

1913: the VFL existed as a 9-team league from 1913 to 1925.

In 1925, 3 more Melbourne-based clubs joined, to make it a 12-team league (Footscray [now Western Bulldogs], Hawthorn, North Melbourne).

For over 5 decades (57 years/1925 to 1982), the VFL continued to exist in the 12-teams/all-Greater-Melbourne-based-clubs form.

1982: then one club moved up north to New South Wales – that was the South Melbourne Swans. The club’s Victoria-based supporters tried to stop it, but in fact the players wanted to move to Sydney, and so the move stood. Thus, in 1982, the first Interstate team (ie, a club outside of Victoria state) was established, when the South Melbourne Swans moved to the-land-of-rugby-league (NSW), and became the Sydney Swans. And several others clubs from outside of Victoria state soon followed…

1987: the first of two AFL clubs from the far western state of Western Australia, in Perth, joined the AFL in 1987 (West Coast Eagles/ 8 years later, in 1995, Fremantle, of Greater Perth, joined the league).

Also in 1987, the first of two AFL clubs from Queensland joined the league (the Brisbane Bears, who later became the Brisbane Lions in 1997, via a merger with Fitzroy [of Melbourne]/ 14 years later, the Gold Coast Suns, of far-southern Queensland, joined in 2011).

In 1991, the first of two AFL clubs from Victoria state’s neighboring state of South Australia joined the league (Adelaide Crows, who are currently the highest-drawing AFL club at ~48 K per game/ 6 years later, in 1997, the Adelaide Power joined the league).

2012: to round out the league, in 2012, another club from Sydney joined, and that was the Greater Western Sydney Giants.

So, at present [2015], there are 18 AFL teams, 10 of which are from Greater Melbourne/Victoria state; 2 from New South Wales state (in Greater Sydney); 2 from Western Australia state (in Greater Perth); 2 from South Australia state (in Adelaide); and 2 from Queensland state (1 in Brisbane, and 1 just south of there in the Gold Coast region).

To this day, first-division Aussie rules football draws best by far of any sport in Australia…in 2014, the AFL drew 32.3 K per game, which was almost double what its closest competitor for the fan-dollar (rugby union) drew. And for good reason, because Australian rules football is an awesome thing to behold. The AFL’s title-game, the Grand Final, which is held at the 95,000-capacity Melbourne Cricket Ground, draws the highest crowd of any national championship game in the world. The AFL’s 118th Grand Final drew over 99,000 last October (see illustration below).

Hawthorn Hawks have won the last two Premiers…
Hawthorn Hawks are of course Melbourne-based, and play most of their home matches at Melbourne Cricket Ground, but, since 2007, they have been playing 4 of their 11 home games per year at the 21,000-capacity York Park in Launceston, Tasmania, which is the second-largest city in Tasmania and is located on the north part of the island of Tasmania, 202 km or 126 miles north of the state capital of Hobart, by road. Distance by air from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia to Launceston, Tasmania, Australia is 442 km (or 275 mi). (Tasmania is the only Australian state located outside of the island/continent of Australia; Launceston is the only non-coastal city in Tasmania, with a population of around 103,000.)

Hawthorn Hawks – back-to-back champions of the Australian Football League (2013 & 2014 Premiers)…
-From Dailymail.co.uk, from 27 Sept. 2014, by Louise Cheer, Daniel Mills, and Sally Lee, Hawks soar to victory as Swans sink without trace: Hawthorn smash Sydney 137-74 as [more than 99,000] fans watch AFL grand final in Melbourne (dailymail.co.uk/news/article [w/ dozens of photos]).
-From Guardian/sports, from 27 Sept.2014, by Scott Heinrich, AFL grand final: Hawthorn win 12th flag with demolition of Sydney Swans (guardian.com/sport).

    Below: the reigning AFL champions, the 12-time Premiership-winning Hawthorn Hawks, of Melbourne (and of Tasmania)…

hawthorn-hawks_2014-afl-champions_2014-grand-final_photos_k_.gif
Photos and Images above -
Hawthorn FC colours, in swatch form, from File:AFL Hawthorn Icon.jpg (by the realjoebloggsblog at en.wikipedia.org).
Photo of Jared Lewis, from heraldsun.au. Photo-illustration of Peter Crimmins Medal from hawthornfc.com.au. Quote from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Crimmins_Medal. Photo of Jarryd Roughead, by Michael Dodge/Getty Images AsiaPac via zimbio.com.

Photos from 2014 Grand Final…Hawks fans at the G with flags and banners, photo by Getty Images via dailymail.co.uk. Luke Breust stooping to win possession, photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images AsiaPac via zimbio.com. Cyril Rioli scoring a goal from a tight angle, photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images AsiaPac via zimbio.com. Luke Hodge claimed his second Norm Smith Medal [best player in Grand Final] and helped the Hawks to another Grand Final, photo by Michael Willson/AFL Media via theroar.com.au. Hawks players celebrate at the final siren, photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images via gettyimages.com. Will Langford after leaping into stands to celebrate with Hawks fans, photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images AsiaPac via zimbio.com. Hawks’ Trophy celebration, photo by Joe Castro/AAP Images via guardian.com/sport.

Here is a very recent article about AFL’s efforts to lure American college basketball players into converting into pro Aussie rules football players, from the New York Times, by Scott Cacciola from 8 May 2015,
Australian Football Visits U.S. in Search of Basketball Big Men (nytimes.com/sports/ncaabasketball).
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Sources for map page:
Thanks to all at these links…
-Attendances (2014 season): 2014 Australian football code crowds/Attendances by team.

-Dates of establishment: Australian Football League/Current clubs.

-Titles: List of Australian Football League premiers. (en.wikipedia.org).

-Rules: Australian rules football; Australian rules football playing field (en.wikipedia.org).

-Australian rules football ovals (3 illustrations)…
Thanks to Schultz at File:Footygroundfix.svg (en.wikipedia.org).
Thanks to clfm at File:AFL stadium.svg (commons.wikimedia.org).
Thanks to Robert Merkel at File:Aussie rules ground positions.svg.
-Blank maps on map page…
Thanks to Ssolbergj for globe-map of Australia, File:Australia (orthographic projection).svg (commons.wikimedia.org).
Thanks to NordNordWest for blank map of Australia, File:Australia location map.svg (en.wikipedia.org).
-Jersey Icons…
Thanks to thejoesbloggsblog for most of the jersey-pattern icons on the chart on the map page at Australian Football League/Current clubs (en.wikipedia.org).
Thanks to the AFLstore for Western Eagles’ jersey-icon, theaflstore.com.au/west-coast-eagles.

Thanks to the contributors at Australian Football League.
Thanks to the bloke in the Geelong Cats cap, in the stairwell at the Fairport, NY library last November, who told me that Aussie rules football is…”the best sport in the world, mate.”

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