Hold onto your hats here, because this one is a real doozy: The AFL Commission appears likely to accept a radical proposal being presented to club presidents today that would significantly shake up the game’s history and effectively gift Carlton six additional premierships, suddenly making them the most successful football club in the history of the Australian Football League.
If that sounds utterly fucken ridiculous, it’s because it is. Nonetheless, we press on.
To understand why this is happening, first we need a quick history lesson: The AFL currently recognises its own history that traces back to 1897, which is when the then-Victorian Football League broke away from the Victorian Football Association and became the top tier football league in the country (South Australians, we’ll get to you in a minute).
At the moment, premierships dating back to the VFL’s founding in 1897 are recognised and form the basis of the premiership table, which is topped by Essendon and Carlton, both on 16.
The foundation clubs of the VFL, however, also played in the VFA that has history dating back to 1870.
VFA records were formally struck from the VFL record books in around the 1920s by club officials, leading to what we now formally recognise as the history of the league.
Under the proposal, history would be adjusted to formally recognise that the league that eventually evolved into the AFL began in 1870, and not 1897. That VFA gap would be formally recognised and included in the AFL’s historical lineage, and clubs would be credited with premierships won during that period.
That means a bunch of clubs would be given “bonus” premierships, and the all-time premiership ladder would be re-shuffled. Specifically, it means Carlton would be credited with six extra premierships, taking them to 22 overall and making them the most successful club in the VFA/VFL/AFL lineage.
Before you scratch your head as to what maniac would think this is a good idea to rewrite 150-year-old history, it’s important to note who benefits most from this proposal, and then who is actually proposing it: Should it be accepted, Geelong would be given a whopping 7 extra flags, bumping the club up to 16 overall and putting them fourth on the overall list. Which makes sense when you consider the fact the proposal is being pushed by current Cats president Colin Carter. Peak Geelong nuffy behaviour through and through.
It’s not the first time the proposal has been brought up – Collingwood president Eddie McGuire is famously quite opposed to it, probably because it credits the Magpies with just one extra flag – but this time around it’s believed key AFL officials, including Gillon McLachlan, are strongly considering it.
If it goes through, that means the new premiership ladder would read thusly:
- Carlton (22)
- Essendon (20)
- Collingwood (16)
- Geelong (16)
- Melbourne (15)
- Hawthorn (13)
- Richmond (11)
- South Melbourne/Sydney (10)
- Fitzroy (9)
- North Melbourne (4)
- West Coast (4)
- Brisbane Lions (3)
- Adelaide (2)
- Footscray/Western Bulldogs (2)
- St Kilda (1)
- Port Adelaide (1)
Meanwhile Port Magpies fans are wearily over there in SA tapping the sign like