List of VFL/AFL premiers

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This page is a complete chronological listing of VFL/AFL premiers. The Australian Football League (AFL), known as the Victorian Football League (VFL) until 1989, is the elite national competition in men's Australian rules football.[1]

A group of young men posing for a team photograph
Essendon won the inaugural VFL premiership in 1897
A medal inscribed with "Carlton Football Club, V.F.L. Premiers 1907"
A premiership medal awarded to Norm Clark in 1907
A group of players walk holding a silver trophy
Geelong players doing a lap of honour with the premiership cup after their grand final win in 2009

The inaugural premiership was awarded as a result of a round-robin finals system;[2] this format was replaced after the first season, and a grand final has been held every season since 1898 to determine the premiers,[3] with the exception of 1924 when a modified round-robin system was used.[4][5] The formation of a national competition, beginning in 1987,[6] has resulted in the league attempting to develop "an even and stable competition"[7] through a range of equalisation policies, such as a salary cap and draft (introduced in 1985 and 1986, respectively).[7][8] This has had a significant impact on the spread of premierships: since 1990, thirteen clubs have won a premiership,[9] compared with only five clubs between 1967 and 1989.[10]

Three clubs, Carlton, Collingwood and Essendon, have won the most VFL/AFL premierships, with 16 each.[11] Every team currently competing in the Australian Football League, with the exception of Gold Coast, has made a grand final; only Fremantle, Gold Coast and Greater Western Sydney—three of the competition's four newest teams—are yet to win a premiership.[12]