1925 VFL premiership season
Geelong Football Club, premier team
Teams12
PremiersGeelong
1st premiership
Minor premiersGeelong
3rd minor premiership
Brownlow MedallistColin Watson (St Kilda)
Leading goalkicker medallistLloyd Hagger (Geelong)
Matches played106
Highest64,288
← 1924
1926 →

The 1925 VFL season was the 29th season of the Victorian Football League (VFL), the highest level senior Australian rules football competition in Victoria.

The league expanded to twelve clubs, with Footscray, Hawthorn and North Melbourne all newly admitted from the VFA to increase the league's size to its highest since its inception. The season ran from 2 May until 10 October, and comprised a 17-game home-and-away season followed by a finals series featuring the top four clubs.

The premiership was won by the Geelong Football Club for the first time, after it defeated Collingwood by ten points in the 1925 VFL Grand Final.

Background

Public Service Football Club

In July 1924, the Public Service Football Club, a club whose players would consist entirely of state and federal public servants rather than being drawn from a geographical recruiting district, was established and applied to join the VFL.[1] Melbourne Carnivals Ltd had offered to lease the Public Service club its newly developed venue, the Amateur Sports Ground, for football if it could gain entrance to the league. The venue was centrally located, between Batman Avenue and Swan Street, the site which later became Olympic Park, and was to have been expanded to a capacity of 100,000. The VFL was keen to have control over the venue, and equally keen to prevent the VFA or the local rugby league or soccer associations from controlling such a valuable asset.[2]

Since the end of World War I, the VFL had contained nine clubs; and, while the League had taken applications several times for a tenth club, it had each time opted to remain at nine clubs. But, the availability of the Amateur Sports Ground was an important strategic opportunity, and in September 1924, the VFL formally resolved to "draw up a scheme for the inclusion of one or more clubs, and secure the Amateur Sports Ground for the League" before the 1925 season.[3]

Claims of the Footscray Football Club

While the league reviewed the application of the Public Service, it was also fielding other applications, most notably that of the Footscray Football Club from the VFA. Footscray was widely regarded as the strongest candidate among existing clubs to join the VFL, and had been considered as such for many years. It was the richest VFA club, had a strong corporate backing due to its location in the heart of the industrial district of the western suburbs, and it had dominated the Association since the war, winning four of the previous six premierships and five minor premierships in a row.[2] Its win against VFL premiers Essendon in Dame Nellie Melba's Limbless Soldiers' Appeal match at the end of the 1924 season had affirmed its credentials.[4][5]

Admitting the Public Service team would have met both of the League's aims, but admitting Footscray would not have secured the Amateur Sports Ground. The League investigated other means of securing the venue without having to admit Public Service, including having Richmond leave the nearby Punt Road Oval to use it as a home venue,[6] having Geelong play all of its away matches at the venue,[7] or scheduling each club to play one or more of its home games at the neutral venue – similar to the way that VFL Park was later used in the 1970s and 1980s.[3]

There were two other significant problems with admitting Footscray – or indeed any other club from the VFA:

After having waited many months without response since first applying to the VFL in July 1924, the Public Service withdrew its application on 3 November and submitted an application to join the VFA;[10] and in December, the VFA provisionally accepted the application.[11] However, Melbourne Carnivals withdrew its offer to the Public Service to use the Amateur Sports Ground (now known as the Motordrome, with a motorcycling arena having been installed in November)[12] in the meantime.[13] Public Service was unable to secure a replacement, so withdrew from the VFA without playing a game.[14]

Breaking the agreement

With the Public Service club no longer available, and 'the agreement' all but preventing the VFL from admitting a VFA club, it looked likely that the VFL would remain at nine teams.[15] But, in December 1924, the VFA admitted the Coburg Football Club, from the VFL seconds competition, into its senior ranks.[11] The VFL contended that 'the agreement' was valid specifically between the two bodies as they were constituted at the time it was signed; and that by admitting a new club, the constitution of the VFA had changed and the agreement was voided.[16] This gave the VFL the opportunity to admit VFA clubs. The VFA considered its legal position, but decided not to proceed, the result being that both competitions considered the agreement broken.[17]

Admission of new VFL clubs

With 'the agreement' no longer an impediment, the VFL set about admitting a tenth club. Footscray and North Melbourne were both discussed, but both were rejected by the clubs set to lose sections of their recruiting districts. It was then proposed to admit three clubs instead of one; the VFL delegates agreed, and Footscray, Hawthorn and North Melbourne were admitted. This league saw two specific benefits with this scheme:[15]

One impediment to admitting North Melbourne was that the State Government had prevented the VFL from moving into the Arden Street Oval in 1921, after protest from the VFA that it would lose its most central venue. The VFL wrote to the Minister for Lands and obtained the necessary permission from the minister to use the venue before it was able to admit North Melbourne.[18] It is thought that Prahran would have been the twelfth team, had this permission not been obtained.

Through all of this, the VFL failed to secure use of the Motordrome, and the VFA began using it for finals matches, but it never became one of its regularly used venues. It never was expanded to become the 100,000 capacity, strategically critical, centrally located venue once imagined.

Format

In 1925, the VFL competition consisted of twelve teams of 18 on-the-field players each, with no "reserves", although any of the 18 players who had left the playing field for any reason could later resume their place on the field at any time during the match. Teams played each other in a home-and-away season of 17 rounds; matches 12 to 17 were the "home-and-away reverse" of matches 1 to 6. Once the 17 round home-and-away season had finished, the 1925 VFL Premiers were determined by the specific format and conventions of the amended "Argus system".

Home-and-away season

Round 1

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date Melbourne 9.19 (73) St Kilda 3.8 (26) MCG 15,267 2 May 1925 Hawthorn 5.8 (38) Richmond 11.11 (77) Glenferrie Oval 20,000 2 May 1925 Geelong 8.11 (59) North Melbourne 9.13 (67) Corio Oval 12,500 2 May 1925 Fitzroy 8.15 (63) Footscray 8.6 (54) Brunswick Street Oval 28,000 2 May 1925 Essendon 14.14 (98) Collingwood 10.13 (73) Windy Hill 22,000 2 May 1925 South Melbourne 9.14 (68) Carlton 4.6 (30) Lake Oval 25,000 2 May 1925

Round 2

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date Footscray 10.10 (70) South Melbourne 8.12 (60) Western Oval 25,000 9 May 1925 Collingwood 10.11 (71) Melbourne 7.12 (54) Victoria Park 15,000 9 May 1925 Carlton 7.14 (56) Essendon 14.17 (101) Princes Park 25,000 9 May 1925 St Kilda 17.12 (114) Hawthorn 8.12 (60) Junction Oval 12,000 9 May 1925 Richmond 9.5 (59) Geelong 13.14 (92) Punt Road Oval 20,000 9 May 1925 North Melbourne 6.3 (39) Fitzroy 8.16 (64) Arden Street Oval 18,000 9 May 1925

Round 3

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date Geelong 9.8 (62) St Kilda 3.12 (30) Corio Oval 12,500 16 May 1925 Fitzroy 17.11 (113) Richmond 8.11 (59) Brunswick Street Oval 20,000 16 May 1925 Essendon 16.15 (111) Footscray 9.9 (63) Windy Hill 32,000 16 May 1925 South Melbourne 12.10 (82) North Melbourne 8.13 (61) Lake Oval 17,000 16 May 1925 Hawthorn 9.11 (65) Collingwood 11.16 (82) Glenferrie Oval 13,000 16 May 1925 Melbourne 12.12 (84) Carlton 4.14 (38) MCG 16,570 16 May 1925

Round 4

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date Richmond 11.9 (75) South Melbourne 10.10 (70) Punt Road Oval 22,000 23 May 1925 Footscray 6.6 (42) Melbourne 9.16 (70) Western Oval 12,000 23 May 1925 Collingwood 13.9 (87) Geelong 13.12 (90) Victoria Park 16,000 23 May 1925 Carlton 10.10 (70) Hawthorn 6.13 (49) Princes Park 10,000 23 May 1925 St Kilda 5.8 (38) Fitzroy 12.12 (84) Junction Oval 17,000 23 May 1925 North Melbourne 5.17 (47) Essendon 13.10 (88) Arden Street Oval 15,000 23 May 1925

Round 5

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date Melbourne 12.13 (85) North Melbourne 10.5 (65) MCG 11,954 30 May 1925 Essendon 10.7 (67) Richmond 8.13 (61) Windy Hill 20,000 30 May 1925 South Melbourne 16.9 (105) St Kilda 10.13 (73) Lake Oval 18,000 30 May 1925 Hawthorn 10.14 (74) Footscray 8.10 (58) Glenferrie Oval 10,000 30 May 1925 Fitzroy 6.11 (47) Collingwood 7.10 (52) Brunswick Street Oval 25,000 30 May 1925 Geelong 22.12 (144) Carlton 10.12 (72) Corio Oval 12,500 30 May 1925

Round 6

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date Footscray 9.8 (62) Geelong 12.11 (83) Western Oval 14,000 6 June 1925 Richmond 9.16 (70) Melbourne 10.10 (70) Punt Road Oval 38,000 6 June 1925 North Melbourne 8.13 (61) Hawthorn 8.9 (57) Arden Street Oval 7,000 6 June 1925 Collingwood 13.14 (92) South Melbourne 7.11 (53) Victoria Park 26,000 8 June 1925 Carlton 9.7 (61) Fitzroy 11.13 (79) Princes Park 30,000 8 June 1925 St Kilda 13.14 (92) Essendon 8.12 (60) Junction Oval 30,000 8 June 1925

Round 7

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date Geelong 15.11 (101) Hawthorn 7.7 (49) Corio Oval 11,000 13 June 1925 Footscray 7.12 (54) North Melbourne 11.12 (78) Western Oval 15,000 13 June 1925 Essendon 9.11 (65) South Melbourne 8.9 (57) Windy Hill 18,000 13 June 1925 Carlton 9.12 (66) Richmond 5.13 (43) Princes Park 25,000 13 June 1925 Melbourne 12.11 (83) Fitzroy 6.9 (45) MCG 23,601 13 June 1925 St Kilda 11.10 (76) Collingwood 5.10 (40) Junction Oval 24,500 13 June 1925

Round 8

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date North Melbourne 9.9 (63) St Kilda 10.8 (68) Arden Street Oval 15,000 20 June 1925 Fitzroy 7.15 (57) Geelong 9.15 (69) Brunswick Street Oval 25,000 20 June 1925 South Melbourne 7.12 (54) Melbourne 14.16 (100) Lake Oval 16,000 20 June 1925 Richmond 9.21 (75) Footscray 12.9 (81) Punt Road Oval 12,000 20 June 1925 Hawthorn 9.7 (61) Essendon 10.14 (74) Glenferrie Oval 10,000 20 June 1925 Collingwood 11.12 (78) Carlton 9.10 (64) Victoria Park 17,000 20 June 1925

Round 9

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date Geelong 15.9 (99) Melbourne 10.15 (75) Corio Oval 19,500 27 June 1925 Essendon 9.7 (61) Fitzroy 8.9 (57) Windy Hill 22,000 27 June 1925 Collingwood 11.14 (80) Richmond 8.12 (60) Victoria Park 15,000 27 June 1925 Carlton 14.11 (95) North Melbourne 10.7 (67) Princes Park 15,000 27 June 1925 South Melbourne 15.14 (104) Hawthorn 5.7 (37) Lake Oval 10,000 27 June 1925 St Kilda 18.24 (132) Footscray 13.6 (84) Junction Oval 21,000 27 June 1925

Round 10

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date North Melbourne 7.9 (51) Richmond 10.9 (69) Arden Street Oval 7,000 11 July 1925 Geelong 18.13 (121) South Melbourne 3.10 (28) Corio Oval 11,000 11 July 1925 Fitzroy 19.11 (125) Hawthorn 5.11 (41) Brunswick Street Oval 8,000 11 July 1925 Melbourne 8.7 (55) Essendon 5.8 (38) MCG 22,872 11 July 1925 Footscray 9.8 (62) Collingwood 15.16 (106) Western Oval 9,000 11 July 1925 St Kilda 8.17 (65) Carlton 5.10 (40) Junction Oval 15,000 11 July 1925

Round 11

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date Richmond 8.14 (62) St Kilda 6.9 (45) Punt Road Oval 20,000 18 July 1925 Hawthorn 6.10 (46) Melbourne 14.18 (102) Glenferrie Oval 6,000 18 July 1925 Essendon 9.11 (65) Geelong 11.10 (76) Windy Hill 30,000 18 July 1925 Collingwood 16.17 (113) North Melbourne 11.4 (70) Victoria Park 9,000 18 July 1925 Carlton 9.12 (66) Footscray 7.11 (53) Princes Park 12,000 18 July 1925 South Melbourne 6.11 (47) Fitzroy 12.12 (84) Lake Oval 15,000 18 July 1925

Round 12

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date Collingwood 15.19 (109) Essendon 4.5 (29) Victoria Park 25,000 1 August 1925 Carlton 9.9 (63) South Melbourne 9.20 (74) Princes Park 12,000 1 August 1925 St Kilda 7.9 (51) Melbourne 10.10 (70) Junction Oval 20,000 1 August 1925 Richmond 6.11 (47) Hawthorn 3.11 (29) Punt Road Oval 10,000 1 August 1925 North Melbourne 9.5 (59) Geelong 22.22 (154) Arden Street Oval 10,000 1 August 1925 Footscray 13.13 (91) Fitzroy 7.8 (50) Western Oval 10,000 1 August 1925

Round 13

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date Hawthorn 8.11 (59) St Kilda 8.8 (56) Glenferrie Oval 10,000 8 August 1925 Geelong 11.20 (86) Richmond 4.8 (32) Corio Oval 13,500 8 August 1925 Fitzroy 17.18 (120) North Melbourne 11.8 (74) Brunswick Street Oval 7,000 8 August 1925 South Melbourne 13.14 (92) Footscray 12.15 (87) Lake Oval 15,000 8 August 1925 Melbourne 7.10 (52) Collingwood 9.11 (65) MCG 33,642 8 August 1925 Essendon 15.11 (101) Carlton 8.14 (62) Windy Hill 10,000 8 August 1925

Round 14

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date North Melbourne 12.8 (80) South Melbourne 7.16 (58) Arden Street Oval 5,000 22 August 1925 Collingwood 11.18 (84) Hawthorn 8.12 (60) Victoria Park 6,000 22 August 1925 Carlton 6.9 (45) Melbourne 18.14 (122) Princes Park 7,000 22 August 1925 St Kilda 9.8 (62) Geelong 7.9 (51) Junction Oval 15,000 22 August 1925 Richmond 8.7 (55) Fitzroy 9.7 (61) Punt Road Oval 9,000 22 August 1925 Footscray 5.13 (43) Essendon 9.15 (69) Western Oval 12,000 22 August 1925

Round 15

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date Fitzroy 11.12 (78) St Kilda 8.7 (55) Brunswick Street Oval 20,000 29 August 1925 Essendon 14.19 (103) North Melbourne 6.9 (45) Windy Hill 14,000 29 August 1925 South Melbourne 6.9 (45) Richmond 9.9 (63) Lake Oval 12,000 29 August 1925 Melbourne 10.9 (69) Footscray 9.13 (67) MCG 11,264 29 August 1925 Geelong 11.8 (74) Collingwood 8.17 (65) Corio Oval 26,025 29 August 1925 Hawthorn 7.10 (52) Carlton 11.14 (80) Glenferrie Oval 9,000 29 August 1925

Round 16

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date St Kilda 11.9 (75) South Melbourne 9.8 (62) Junction Oval 10,000 5 September 1925 Footscray 15.10 (100) Hawthorn 10.10 (70) Western Oval 8,000 5 September 1925 Collingwood 12.13 (85) Fitzroy 14.15 (99) Victoria Park 27,000 5 September 1925 Carlton 14.10 (94) Geelong 15.13 (103) Princes Park 10,000 5 September 1925 North Melbourne 11.7 (73) Melbourne 6.10 (46) Arden Street Oval 5,000 5 September 1925 Richmond 7.8 (50) Essendon 10.14 (74) Punt Road Oval 18,000 5 September 1925

Round 17

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date Melbourne 9.9 (63) Richmond 2.12 (24) MCG 16,989 12 September 1925 Hawthorn 7.13 (55) North Melbourne 4.6 (30) Glenferrie Oval 8,000 12 September 1925 Essendon 10.7 (67) St Kilda 8.10 (58) Windy Hill 15,000 12 September 1925 Geelong 14.16 (100) Footscray 9.7 (61) Corio Oval 10,800 12 September 1925 South Melbourne 4.6 (30) Collingwood 14.11 (95) Lake Oval 12,000 12 September 1925 Fitzroy 7.24 (66) Carlton 9.10 (64) Brunswick Street Oval 20,000 12 September 1925

Ladder

(P) Premiers
Qualified for finals
# Team P W L D PF PA % Pts
1 Geelong (P) 17 15 2 0 1564 1024 152.7 60
2 Essendon 17 13 4 0 1271 1065 119.3 52
3 Melbourne 17 12 4 1 1273 919 138.5 50
4 Collingwood 17 12 5 0 1377 1083 127.1 48
5 Fitzroy 17 12 5 0 1292 1028 125.7 48
6 St Kilda 17 8 9 0 1116 1120 99.6 32
7 Richmond 17 6 10 1 981 1131 86.7 26
8 South Melbourne 17 6 11 0 1089 1271 85.7 24
9 Carlton 17 5 12 0 1066 1349 79.0 20
10 North Melbourne 17 5 12 0 1030 1370 75.2 20
11 Footscray 17 4 13 0 1132 1368 82.7 16
12 Hawthorn 17 3 14 0 902 1365 66.1 12

Rules for classification: 1. premiership points; 2. percentage; 3. points for
Average score: 69.1
Source: AFL Tables

Finals series

All of the 1925 finals were played at the MCG so the home team in the semi-finals and preliminary final is purely the higher ranked team from the ladder but in the Grand Final the home team was the team that won the preliminary final. Geelong lost to Melbourne in the semi-final, but still went on to the grand final because they were minor premiers.

Semi-finals

Home team Score Away team Score Venue Crowd Date Essendon 10.8 (68) Collingwood 12.6 (78) MCG 60,055 19 September Geelong 13.8 (86) Melbourne 14.17 (101) MCG 51,256 26 September

Preliminary final

Home team Score Away team Score Venue Crowd Date Melbourne 3.8 (26) Collingwood 8.15 (63) MCG 49,833 3 October

Grand final

Main article: 1925 VFL Grand Final

Season notes

Awards

References

  1. ^ "Football – another League club". The Argus. Melbourne. 5 July 1924. p. 22.
  2. ^ a b Old Boy (23 September 1924). "Football – the Tenth Club". The Argus. Melbourne. p. 10.
  3. ^ a b Old Boy (29 September 1924). "Football – Essendon premiers". The Argus. Melbourne. p. 14.
  4. ^ Old Boy (6 October 1924). "Football – Footscray champions". The Argus. Melbourne. p. 7.
  5. ^ Old Boy (14 October 1924). "Football – the tenth club". The Argus. Melbourne. p. 6.
  6. ^ "Football – the tenth club". The Argus. Melbourne. 17 October 1924.
  7. ^ "Negotiations with League". The Argus. Melbourne. 19 February 1925. p. 5.
  8. ^ a b "Football – Tenth Club proposal". The Argus. Melbourne. 2 October 1924. p. 12.
  9. ^ Old Boy (17 January 1925). "Football – more league teams". The Australasian. Melbourne. p. 144.
  10. ^ "Public Service Club – admittance to league". The Argus. Melbourne. 4 November 1924. p. 17.
  11. ^ a b "Association Football – Two new clubs". The Argus. Melbourne. 16 December 1924. p. 13.
  12. ^ "Motorcycle racing – record speeds at Motordrome". The Argus. Melbourne. 24 November 1924. p. 16.
  13. ^ "League Football – Three New Clubs". The Argus. Melbourne. 23 January 1925. p. 6.
  14. ^ "Football – Position of Association". The Argus. Melbourne. 3 March 1925. p. 18.
  15. ^ a b "League Football – Three New Clubs". The Argus. Melbourne. 29 January 1925. p. 5 – via National Library of Australia.
  16. ^ Old Boy (13 January 1925). "Football League – admitting more teams". The Argus. Melbourne. p. 13.
  17. ^ "Football – Broken agreement". The Argus. Melbourne. 5 May 1925. p. 7.
  18. ^ "Football – More league clubs". The Australasian. Melbourne. 24 January 1925. p. 193.
  19. ^ Victorian football League: Amendments and Additions made to Laws of Game, The Yackandandah Times, (Friday, 29 May 1925), p.4.
  20. ^ admin (3 May 2022). "The most enduring sponsorships of all time". Elevent. Retrieved 27 March 2023.
  21. ^ "Longest time to sponsor a sports team". Guinness World Records. Retrieved 27 March 2023.

Sources