Although the league was still called the VFL until the start of the 1990 season, the 1998 season was the unofficial 12th 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.
Last season 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.
- Neale Daniher was appointed coach at Melbourne. Neale Daniher had immediate success by taking Melbourne from the wooden spoon to 4th and into the Preliminary Finals.
- After a poor start to the season, Roger Merrett replaced John Northey as Brisbane Lions coach.
- Western Bulldogs left Western Oval and started playing their home matches at Princes Park.
- Geelong fell 10 places to 12th.
Adelaide repeated last season's success by again winning the premiership. From 5th on the ladder, it required them playing 4 finals matches. North Melbourne were minor premiers and played them in the Grand Final. Whilst Brisbane Lions won the wooden spoon.
Tony Lockett of Sydney Swans won the Coleman Medal for the leading goalscorer, the second time in 3 years. Robert Harvey of St Kilda won the Brownlow Medal for the second year in a row.
|Qualifying Final||St Kilda||Preliminary Final|
|1||North Melbourne||North Melbourne||Grand Final|
|Qualifying Final||Preliminary Final||Adelaide|
|2||Western Bulldogs||Western Bulldogs|
|7||West Coast Eagles||Semi Final||Adelaide|
|Qualifying Final||Sydney Swans|