AFL Wiki
AFL logo.png

         ♦ 1987198819891990 19911992199319941995 19961997199819992000 20012002200320042005 20062007200820092010 20112012201320142015 201620172018201920202021

Although the league was still called the VFL until the start of the 1990 season, the 1997 season was the unofficial 11th AFL season as the league expanded from 12 clubs to 14 clubs in 1987.

The new clubs were West Coast Eagles and Brisbane Bears. In 1991 Adelaide Crows joined followed by Fremantle Dockers in 1995.

1997 was the start of a new era of the AFL. Footscray changed its name to Western Bulldogs. Brisbane Bears and Fitzroy Lions merged to become Brisbane Lions. And Port Adelaide Power joined retaining the league with 16 clubs.

In this new era of the AFL, four of the six interstate clubs - Adelaide, West Coast Eagles, Sydney Swans, Brisbane Lions - participated in the 8 club finals series.

Club Changes[]

  • Malcolm Blight replaced Robert Shaw as coach at Adelaide and achieved immediate success by winning the Premiership.
  • Footscray's name change to Western Bulldogs also brought immediate success climbing 12 places from 15th into the Preliminary Finals.
  • After a poor start to the season, Jeff Gieschen replaced Robert Walls as Richmond coach.
  • Whilst Hawthorn fell 7 places finishing one place above the wooden spoon.


Finishing 4th on the ladder, Adelaide won its 1st AFL Premiership. It required them winning four finals matches. St Kilda were minor premiers and played them in the Grand Final. Whilst Melbourne won the wooden spoon.


Tony Modra of Adelaide won the Coleman Medal for the leading goalscorer. Robert Harvey of St Kilda won the Brownlow Medal.


# 1996 Team Home Ground Coach Captain
1 ▲ 9   2010 Logo St Kilda.png St Kilda   Waverley Park   Stan Alves   Nathan Burke
2 ▲ 5   2010 Logo Geelong.png Geelong   Kardinia Park   Gary Ayres   Barry Stoneham
3  ▲ 12   2010 Logo Western Bulldogs.png Western Bulldogs   Western Oval   Terry Wallace   Scott Wynd
4 ▲ 8   2010 Logo Adelaide.png Adelaide   Football Park   Malcolm Blight   Mark Bickley
5 ▼ 1   2010 Logo West Coast.png West Coast Eagles   WACA/Subiaco Oval   Mick Malthouse   John Worsfold
6 ▼ 5   2010 Logo Sydney.png Sydney Swans   SCG   Rodney Eade   Paul Kelly
7 ▼ 5   2010 Logo North Melbourne.png North Melbourne   MCG   Denis Pagan   Wayne Carey
8 ▼ 5   2010 Logo Lions.png Brisbane Lions   Gabba   John Northey   Michael Voss
9 n/a   2010 Logo Port Adelaide.png Port Adelaide   Football Park   John Cahill   Gavin Wanganeen
10 ▲ 1   2010 Logo Collingwood.png Collingwood   Victoria Park   Tony Shaw   Gavin Brown
11 ▼ 6   2010 Logo Carlton-Football.png Carlton   Princes Park   David Parkin   Stephen Kernahan
12 ▲ 1   Fremantle-dockers.png Fremantle   WACA/Subiaco Oval   Gerard Neesham   Peter Mann
13 ▼ 4   2010 Logo Richmond.png Richmond   MCG   Robert Walls
  Alex Jesaulenko
  Matthew Knights
14 ▼ 8   2010 Logo Essendon.png Essendon   MCG   Kevin Sheedy   Gary O'Donnell
15 ▼ 7   2010 Logo Hawthorn.png Hawthorn   Waverley Park   Ken Judge   Jason Dunstall
16 ▼ 2   Melbourne logo 2014.png Melbourne   MCG   Neil Balme   Garry Lyon

Finals Series[]

  Qualifying Final
5  West Coast Eagles
4  Adelaide Semi Final
 West Coast Eagles
  Qualifying Final  North Melbourne Preliminary Final
8  Brisbane Lions  North Melbourne
1  St Kilda  St Kilda Grand Final
 St Kilda
  Qualifying Final Preliminary Final  Adelaide
3  Western Bulldogs  Western Bulldogs
6  Sydney Swans Semi Final  Adelaide
  Qualifying Final  Geelong
2  Geelong
7  North Melbourne
Key:       Losing team progressing       Winning team progressing