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Although the league was still called the VFL until the start of the 1990 season, the 2004 season was the unofficial 18th 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 - Port Adelaide, Brisbane Lions, Sydney Swans, West Coast Eagles - participated in the 8 club finals series.

Club Changes[]

Gary Ayres resigned mid-season and was replaced with Neil Craig as Adelaide coach.

Four clubs - Port Adelaide, West Coast Eagles, Essendon, North Melbourne - finished in the same ladder position as 2003. St Kilda, Geelong and Melbourne climbed to qualify for the finals series. Whilst Collingwood had the biggest decline, falling 11 places after playing in the last 2 Grand Finals.


Port Adelaide won the minor premiers for the last 2 seasons but did not reach the Grand Final. In 2004, Port Adelaide again won the minor premiers and its 1st AFL Premiership. Brisbane Lions, who won the Premiership for the last 3 seasons, played them in the Grand Final. Whilst Richmond won the wooden spoon.


Fraser Gehrig of St Kilda won the Coleman Medal for the leading goalscorer. Chris Judd of West Coast Eagles won the Brownlow Medal.


# 2003 Team Home Ground Coach Captain
1   2010 Logo Port Adelaide.png Port Adelaide   Football Park   Mark Williams   Matthew Primus
2 ▲ 1   2010 Logo Lions.png Brisbane Lions   Gabba   Leigh Matthews   Michael Voss
3 ▲ 8   2010 Logo St Kilda.png St Kilda   Docklands Stadium   Grant Thomas   Lenny Hayes
4 ▲ 8   2010 Logo Geelong.png Geelong   Kardinia Park   Mark Thompson   Steven King
5 ▲ 9   Melbourne logo 2014.png Melbourne   MCG   Neale Daniher   David Neitz
6 ▼ 2   2010 Logo Sydney.png Sydney Swans   SCG   Paul Roos   Stuart Maxfield
7   2010 Logo West Coast.png West Coast Eagles   Subiaco Oval   John Worsfold   Ben Cousins
8   2010 Logo Essendon.png Essendon   Docklands Stadium   Kevin Sheedy   James Hird
9 ▼ 4   Fremantle-dockers.png Fremantle   Subiaco Oval   Chris Connolly   Peter Bell
10   2010 Logo North Melbourne.png North Melbourne   Docklands Stadium   Dean Laidley   Adam Simpson
11 ▲ 4   2010 Logo Carlton-Football.png Carlton   Princes Park   Denis Pagan   Anthony Koutoufides
12 ▼ 6   2010 Logo Adelaide.png Adelaide   Football Park   Gary Ayres
  Neil Craig
  Mark Ricciuto
13   ▼ 11   2010 Logo Collingwood.png Collingwood   MCG   Mick Malthouse   Nathan Buckley
14 ▲ 2   2010 Logo Western Bulldogs.png Western Bulldogs   Docklands Stadium   Peter Rohde   Chris Grant
15 ▼ 6   2010 Logo Hawthorn.png Hawthorn   MCG   Peter Schwab   Shane Crawford
16 ▼ 3   2010 Logo Richmond.png Richmond   MCG   Danny Frawley   Wayne Campbell

Finals Series[]

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