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Although the league was still called the VFL until the start of the 1990 season, the 1999 season was the unofficial 13th 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 - Brisbane Lions, West Coast Eagles, Port Adelaide, Sydney Swans - participated in the 8 club finals series.

Club Changes[]

  • Former Collingwood coach, Leigh Matthews was appointed coach at Brisbane Lions. He had immediate success by taking the Lions from the wooden spoon to 3rd and into the Preliminary Finals.
  • Mark Williams replaced John Cahill as coach at Port Adelaide.
  • Tim Watson replaced Stan Alves as coach at St Kilda.
  • Damian Drum replaced Gerard Neesham as coach at Fremantle.

After playing in last season's Preliminary Finals, Melbourne fell 10 places to 14th. Whilst the premiers for the last 2 seasons, Adelaide fell 8 places to 13th and out of the final series.


North Melbourne finishing 2nd on the ladder won the premiership. Carlton played them in the Grand Final. Finishing 6th on the ladder, Carlton had to play 4 finals matches. Essendon were minor premiers. Whilst Collingwood won the wooden spoon.


Scott Cummings of West Coast Eagles won the Coleman Medal for the leading goalscorer. Shane Crawford of Hawthorn won the Brownlow Medal.


# 1998 Team Home Ground Coach Captain
1 ▲ 7   2010 Logo Essendon.png Essendon   MCG   Kevin Sheedy   James Hird
2 ▼ 1   2010 Logo North Melbourne.png North Melbourne   MCG   Denis Pagan   Wayne Carey
3   ▲ 13   2010 Logo Lions.png Brisbane Lions   Gabba   Leigh Matthews   Michael Voss
4 ▼ 2   2010 Logo Western Bulldogs.png Western Bulldogs   Princes Park   Terry Wallace   Scott Wynd
5 ▲ 2   2010 Logo West Coast.png West Coast Eagles   WACA/Subiaco Oval   Mick Malthouse   Guy McKenna
6 ▲ 5   2010 Logo Carlton-Football.png Carlton   Princes Park   David Parkin   Craig Bradley
7 ▲ 3   2010 Logo Port Adelaide.png Port Adelaide   Football Park   Mark Williams   Gavin Wanganeen
8 ▼ 5   2010 Logo Sydney.png Sydney Swans   SCG   Rodney Eade   Paul Kelly
9 ▲ 4   2010 Logo Hawthorn.png Hawthorn   Waverley Park   Ken Judge   Shane Crawford
10 ▼ 4   2010 Logo St Kilda.png St Kilda   Waverley Park   Tim Watson   Nathan Burke
11 ▲ 1   2010 Logo Geelong.png Geelong   Kardinia Park   Gary Ayres   Leigh Colbert
12 ▼ 3   2010 Logo Richmond.png Richmond   MCG   Jeff Gieschen   Matthew Knights
13 ▼ 8   2010 Logo Adelaide.png Adelaide   Football Park   Malcolm Blight   Mark Bickley
14   ▼ 10   Melbourne logo 2014.png Melbourne   MCG   Neale Daniher   Todd Viney
15   Fremantle-dockers.png Fremantle   WACA/Subiaco Oval   Damian Drum   Chris Bond
16 ▼ 2   2010 Logo Collingwood.png Collingwood   Victoria Park   Tony Shaw   Nathan Buckley

Finals Series[]

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