Championship of australia

The Championship of Australia was the name given to an Australian rules football tournament which was contested between football clubs from the Victorian, South Australian and West Australian football leagues. The Championship took place three times in the 19th century and then from 1907 to 1914 with the exception of 1912 and every year from 1968 to 1976. All but two of the Championships were played in Adelaide and all of them occurred after the respective league seasons had ended.


The first group of Club Championships were between the Victorian Football Association and South Australian Football Association premiers while from 1907 until 1914, the final competition for 54 years, it was contested between the premiers of the VFL and SAFL. Port Adelaide were champions a record four times during this period. The inaugural Championship was a best of three game series but all future tournaments were decided by a Grand Final.

In 1968 the Championship returned under the same format but the Australian National Football Council refused to grant it official status as a team from Western Australia and Tasmania were not competing and it thus couldn't be referred to as a Championship of 'Australia'. Both state's premiers joined the tournament from 1972 onwards to make it a four club championship. For Tasmania, it was the premier of the Tasmanian State Premiership that was invited to the Championship – except in 1974, when no state premiership was held and a composite team of players from the premier clubs of the various Tasmanian leagues took part. VFL clubs won every Championship from 1968, except in 1972 when South Australia's North Adelaide Football Club upset Victoria's Carlton Football Club to win by a point.[1]

The final Championship, in 1976, was known as the NFL Wills Cup and was played under a new format. In an extended competition there were a total of 12 clubs: five from the VFL, four from the SANFL and three from the West Australian National Football League. They were divided into four groups of three and the winners of each group met in the semi finals. The tournament was played in parallel with the 1976 premiership seasons, and qualification was based on performance in the 1975 season.

Although the NFL Championship was played again in 1977, no clubs from the VFL took part as they were competing in the VFL's Night Series, a new tournament which offered a similar midseason format. This ultimately spelled the end of the Championship of Australia.[2]

Until the nationalisation of the VFL in 1990 to become the Australian Football League, the Championship of Australia was effectively the premier national club competition.

Champions by year

Year Champion Runner-Up Score Venue
1888 Norwood South Melbourne 3 games - 0 Kensington Oval, Adelaide
1890 Port Adelaide South Melbourne 7.10 - 6.13 * Adelaide Oval
1893 Essendon South Adelaide 10.23 - 3.6 * Victoria Park, Melbourne
1907 Norwood Carlton 13.12 (90) - 8.10 (58) Adelaide Oval
1908 West Adelaide Carlton 12.9 (81) - 7.10 (52) Adelaide Oval
1909 South Melbourne West Adelaide 11.8 (74) - 7.14 (56) Melbourne Cricket Ground
1910 Port Adelaide Collingwood 15.20 (110) - 7.9 (51) Adelaide Oval
1911 West Adelaide Essendon 8.9 (57) - 7.12 (54) Adelaide Oval
1913 Port Adelaide Fitzroy 13.16 (94) - 4.7 (31) Adelaide Oval
1914 Port Adelaide Carlton 9.16 (70) - 5.6 (36) Adelaide Oval
1968 Carlton Sturt 13.15 (93) - 6.20 (56) Adelaide Oval
1969 Richmond Sturt 15.27 (117) - 9.10 (64) Adelaide Oval
1970 Carlton Sturt 21.13 (139) - 12.22 (94) Adelaide Oval
1971 Hawthorn North Adelaide 13.13 (91) - 10.7 (67) Adelaide Oval
1972 North Adelaide Carlton 10.13 (73) - 10.12 (72) Adelaide Oval
1973 Richmond Subiaco 12.20 (92) - 10.19 (79) Adelaide Oval
1974 Richmond Sturt 27.11 (173) - 13.17 (95) Football Park
1975 North Melbourne Norwood 17.15 (117) - 5.11 (41) Football Park
1976 Hawthorn North Melbourne 12.17 (89) - 5.11 (41) Norwood Oval **

* During the 1890s behinds, although recorded, were not added to a team's score as whoever kicked more goals won the game.
** Night Game

Most Championships

Club Premierships Runners-Up
Port Adelaide 4 0
Richmond 3 0
Carlton 2 4
Norwood 2 1
West Adelaide 2 1
Hawthorn 2 0
South Melbourne 1 2
Essendon 1 1
North Adelaide 1 1
North Melbourne 1 1
Sturt 0 4
Collingwood 0 1
Fitzroy 0 1
South Adelaide 0 1
Subiaco 0 1


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