Permanent Fixture at Bear Park
Joined: 17 Apr 2003
|Posted: Mon Sep 25, 2017 11:26 pm Post subject: Port Melbourne Win Second VFL Flag as Stand-alone Club
|I have to start with some background to put the point of this post into context.
The Victorian Football League (VFL) is an equivalent level competition to the NSW Cup. It was formed in 1877 as the Victorian Football Association (VFA), the second oldest football competition in Australia, forming shortly after the South Australian Football Association (now called the SANFL), also formed in 1877. The original VFL (now called the AFL) was formed in 1897 after some clubs broke away from the VFA. The original VFL became the AFL from the 1990 season and the VFA became the VFL from the 1996 season.
After more than a century of parallel competitions, the VFL became the AFL's second tier comp in 2000. Since then, most of the winners have been affiliated with an AFL club, similar to how NSW Cup sides (such as North Sydney) are afflilated with an NRL club. I suspect it's where NRL clubs got the idea - it's not the first idea that rugby league has taken from VFL/AFL, State of Origin being the prime example.
Anyway, last weekend, Port Melbourne won its second title under the current competition structure, despite not being affiliated with an AFL side. Port also won in 2011. In between these wins, another unaffiliated club - Williamstown - won in 2015. As in the NSW Cup and the NRL, affilations in the VFL and AFL come and go. A summary is at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_Football_League_reserves_affiliations. Some are described as being "partially affiliated" but the article doesn't explain what this means.
North Sydney wasn't affiliated with anyone in the two or three years after the Northern Eagles folded and we struggled badly. I remember my brother coming along to a game once and saying that we looked like an A-grade side. However, Port Melbourne and Williamstown have shown that with the right business model and player recruitment, it's possible to be successful in the second tier without being affiliated. More recently, Wyong wasn't affiliated in its first season in the NSW Cup and made the finals.
VFL Premiers 2000-2017
Year Club (AFL Affiliation)
2000 Sandringham (Melbourne)
2001 Box Hill (Hawthorn)
2002 Geelong (Geelong)
2003 Williamstown (Collingwood)
2004 Sandringham (Melbourne)
2005 Sandringham (Melbourne)
2006 Sandringham (Melbourne)
2007 Geelong (Geelong)
2008 North Ballarat (North Melbourne) (partial)
2009 North Ballarat (North Melbourne) (partial)
2010 North Ballarat (North Melbourne) (partial)
2011 Port Melbourne (Stand alone)
2012 Geelong (Geelong)
2013 Box Hill (Hawthorn)
2014 Footscray (Western Bulldogs) (Footscray is the WB reserve grade side, reflecting the club's original name)
2015 Williamstown (Stand alone)
2016 Footscray (Western Bulldogs)
2017 Port Melbourne (Stand alone)
10 Clubs affiliated with an AFL club
5 AFL reserve grade sides (Geelong 2002, 2007, 2012; and Footscray/Western Bulldogs 2014, 2016)
3 Stand alone clubs
In addition, on three occasions, clubs defeated in the grand final were unaffiliated at the time - North Ballarat (2000) and Port Melbourne (2008 & 2012).