Towards a National Competition – Timeline of VFL/AFL Expansion (updated 8/1/16)

Sources used:

  • The Australian Game of Football…since 1858, edited by Geoff Slattery
  • 100 Years of Australian Football – the official History of the AFL
  • The South Australian Football Story, by Bernard Whimpress
  • Behind the Play – A history of football in Western Australia, by Anthony Barker
  • From Port to a Power, by Bruce Abernethy
  • Football Limited, by Garry Linnell
  • The Phoenix Rises, by Ross Oakley
  • Fitzroy, by Dyson Hore Lacy
  • Urge to Merge, by Ian Ridley
  • Shake down the thunder, by Jim Main
  • Camry Crows 1991 Yearbook
  • Various sources at Trove.

Revised and Extended Timeline of VFL Expansion

  • 1990 – August 1. Port Adelaide announces its intention to join the AFL.
  • 1990 – August 2. Nine SANFL Clubs have a crisis meeting. Amongst the options are a counter submission to the AFL, and kicking Port out of the SANFL. The SANFL announces that Port will not be allowed to use Football Park for AFL games (From Port to a Power, pg 68)
  • 1990 – August 3. The SANFL unanimously voted to kick Port out of the SANFL if it proceeded with its AFL plans. Eleven SANFL officials fly to Melourne to lobby against Port Adelaides entry into the AFL. (from Port to a Power pg 68)
  • 1990 – August 6. Oakley says that the AFL should stop waiting for a SANFL application and accept Port Adelaide. The SANFL makes its first counter-offer. The AFL declines to accept. (from Port to a Power pg 70)
  • 1990 – August 6. Port Adelaide informs its members that it has an agreement with the AFL.
  • 1990 – August 12. Glenelg wins an injunction against Port Adelaide. Justice Olssen prohibits Port from having further contact with the AFL, but doest prohibit the SANFL from talking to the AFL. (from Port to a Power pg 68)
  • 1990. August 20. The SANFL launches its own AFL bid. (Crows 1991 Yearbook)
  • 1990 – September 12. The AFL reported to be seriously looking at a SANFL offer for a composite side.(From Port to a Power pg 71)
  • 1990 – August 25. Port Director, Dave Boyd, resigns over the clubs AFL application.
  • 1990 – September 13. Max Basheer says that he is almost certain there will be a SANFL side in the AFL for 1991. Sometime about now, it is leaked that Norwood had also been prepared to breakaway. (Football Limited pg. 351)
  • 1990 – September 20. The AFL Board of Directors formally votes in favour of the SANFL composite application. Only Richmond vote against. The AFL pays $125,000 for Ports legal costs, and the SANFL are required to drop all legal action against Port Adelaide. (From Port to a Power pg 73)
  • 1990. October 9. The SANFL and AFL formally sign an agreement for Adelaide to enter the competition. (Crows 1991 Yearbook)
  • 1990. October 12. The SANFL appoints an interim board for Adelaide. It included Max Basheer, Leigh Whicker, Bob Lee, Ed Betro, Bob Hammond, Ric allert and Adrian Salter. Graham Cornes was apponted coach and Neil Kerley football manager. (Crows 1991 Yearbook)
  • 1990, October 25. Adelaide announces an initial squad of 57, later increased to 61, before finally being set at 52. (Crows 1991 Yearbook)
  • 1990. October. The WAFC proceeds witha feasibility study into a second side. (Behind the play pg 284)
  • 1992 – Reuben Pelerman voluntarily returns Brisbane to the AFL and subsequently to a member owned structure. (The Phoenix Rises pg.153)
  • 1992 – October 22. AFL Board of Directors votes to keep Sydney in the competition for a futher three years.
  • 1992 – Sometime in 1992, Alan Schwab signs off on a list of draft requirements for a new club based in Fremantle, and due to begin operating in 1993.  (Football Limited pg. 354)
  • 1993 – June. The AFL Commission sits down with the WAFC to look at the issues involved in getting a second team off the ground. (The Phoenix Rises pg 156)
  • 1992 – June 8. Port Adelaide launches its bid for the next AFL license. (from Port to a Power pg 105)
  • 1993 – Canberra launches another bid for an AFL side to relocate.
  • 1993 – September. Port Adelaide launch Club 96 with the specific aim of generating funds for its next AFL license bid. (From Port to a Power pg 104)
  • 1993 – December 15. The AFL announces that it has reached its ceiling of teams with the inclusion of Fremantle, and no more than 16 teams will be in the AFL. Plans for a second SA license hinge on relocation or merging of Victorian sides.
  • 1994 – The AFL announces a second license for South Australia. This kicks off a round of applications from Port Adelaide, as well as joint applications from Norwood-Sturt, and Glenelg-South, however Port Adelaide was the AFLs preferred choice (The Phoenix Rises pg 156). Norwood spent $150,000 putting together a joint Norwood-Sturt bid to claim the second licence. After Oakley briefed the SANFL delegates at a hotel on North Tce, Norwood director Phil Gallagher left the meeting declaring the bidding process was a farce – the AFL wanted Port Adelaide.
  • 1994 – March. Fremantle is formally awarded the second WA license. (Behind the Play pg 290). The Dockers were given a list size of 42, first pick of the draft for two years, and two priority draft picks, and the ability to recruit 12 out of contract players over the two year period.
  • 1994 – April 6. Port Adelaide submits a comprehensive business plan to the SANFL for its AFL bid. (from Port to a Power pg 112)
  • 1994 – June 15. The SANFL Future Directions committee hands down a report recommending the second license go to a team formed of the amalgamation of two clubs. (from Port to a Power pg.113)
  • 1994 – June 16. Norwood-Sturt officially launch a bid for the AFL license. (From Port to a Power pg 113)
  • 1994 – June 23. Glenelg-South Adelaide launch a bid for the AFL license (from Port to a Power pg 113)
  • 1994 – July 1. A SANFL strategy paper says that the license should go to Port Adelaide, while the Crows should be adopted by Norwood. (From Port to a Power pg 114)
  • 1994 – August. Dyson Hore-Lacy, who had taken over the presidency of Fitzroy from Leon Wiegard in 1992, and Ian Ridley of Melbourne fronted the commission with a proposal for a Fitzroy-Melbourne merger given Fitzroy’s debt, which was then revealed to the commission as $2 million but later that month became $2.6 million. (The Phoenix Rises pg 158)
  • 1994 – September 14. All SA license bids are officially lodged with the SANFL. Port Adelaides bid document is almost a thousand pages. (from Port to a Power pg 116)
  • 1994 – October 11. A SANFL 9 member committee begins to evaluate the bids. The Committee takes 34 days to go through the process. (From Port to a Power pg 116)

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