11 facts you don’t know about AFL

To know this great game is to love it. If your team is top 4, you really love it. If your team is bottom 4, you really love talking up trivia to help pass the time. On that note, here’s something for all you Port Adelaide and Melbourne fans!

Fitzroy managed to take out both the ‘wooden spoon’ AND the Premiership in the same year!

Only four teams competed in the war-time Australian Rules season of 1916. Fitzroy finished bottom of the ladder, losing the last 9 of 12 games, but then won the three finals to become Premiers. Never before, or since, has a team gone into the finals with nine straight losses, let alone taken out the Premiership!

Hawthorn were originally called the MAYBLOOMS
Think we’re kidding? There were even unconfirmed reports they skipped around a ribbon pole at half-time. North Melbourne, who were obviously a fair bit harder at the time, were known as the ‘Shinboners’.

Best ever vertical jump score at the annual AFL draft combine fitness tests is by the aptly named Dean Towers
COLAC district football export Towers jumped a whopping 85cm. AFL reigning premiers Sydney Swans selected Towers with pick number 22 of the 2012 AFL national draft.

Size doesn’t always count
James “Nipper” Bradford holds the honour of the shortest footy player ever in the VFL/AFL and at 155 cm and 53 kg, managed a very credible 24 goals in a 16 game career at Collingwood and North Melbourne in the 1940s. But the aptly named Jack “Skinny” Titus proved to be one of the greats of the game. At just 175 cm and a bit over 60 kg, Titus who wouldn’t be considered a potential talent in the modern AFL, was one of the great forwards at Richmond in the golden era of the 1930s.

Biggest comeback ever
Essendon managed a 69 point comeback against the Roos, to win 171 to 159, in Round 16 of the 2001 Season at the MCG.

The longest ever suspension was 99 weeks!
Carlton players Doug Fraser and Alex Lang were found guilty of bribery in 1910 and suspended for 99 weeks. In third place was Fred Rutley of North Melbourne. He had a hell of game against Geelong in 1925, where he was reported an impressive total of 6 times in one match: 2 kicking, 3 striking and 1 melee, for a grand total of 89 weeks suspension.

Most hard-done-by-the-umpires story of the AFL
You can’t get any more hard-done-by than Ted Whitfield of South Melbourne, who was suspended for 19 matches for attempted striking in the 1945 Grand Final against Carlton. These days you could escape with a nice little fine or three for that kind of behaviour, just ask Alistair Lynch.

TV coverage isn’t getting any better
Television coverage of the VFL began in 1957, with direct telecasts of only the final quarter permitted. At first, several channels competed by broadcasting different games, but when the VFL realised that television was reducing crowds, no coverage at all was allowed in 1960.

The Poms can play footy
A tough one to swallow, we know. An English football team toured Australia in 1888, playing 25 matches of which they won 14 – ouch.

Best of the Best and Fairest
South Melbourne legend Bobby Skilton and Kevin Murray of Fitzroy both hold a record 9 individual club best and fairest; Skilton over 11 years and Murray over a whopping 14 year period! That’s automatic legend qualification in our book.

Greatest club of all time?
Collingwood sits at the top of the all-time VFL/AFL ladder with 1,460 wins from 2,396 games.


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