1931 VFL premiership season
Teams12
PremiersGeelong
2nd premiership
Minor premiersGeelong
4th minor premiership
Brownlow MedallistHaydn Bunton, Sr. (Fitzroy)
Leading Goalkicker MedallistHarry Vallence (Carlton)
Matches played112
Highest60,712
← 1930
1932 →

The 1931 VFL season was the 35th season of the Victorian Football League (VFL), the highest level senior Australian rules football competition in Victoria. The season featured twelve clubs, ran from 2 May until 10 October, and comprised an 18-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 second time, after it defeated Richmond by 20 points in the 1931 VFL Grand Final.

Background

In 1931, the VFL competition consisted of twelve teams of 18 on-the-field players each, plus one substitute player, known as the 19th man. A player could be substituted for any reason; however, once substituted, a player could not return to the field of play under any circumstances.

Teams played each other in a home-and-away season of 18 rounds; matches 12 to 18 were the "home-and-way reverse" of matches 1 to 7.

Once the 18-round home-and-away season had finished, the 1931 VFL Premiers were determined by the specific format and conventions of the Page–McIntyre system. This was the first season to feature the new finals format, with the winner of the 2nd Semi Final going direct through to the Grand Final, and the loser through to a Preliminary Final against the winner of the 1st Semi Final. The league predominantly used variations of the Argus Challenge System over the previous thirty seasons.[1]

Home-and-away season

Round 1

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date North Melbourne 11.17 (83) South Melbourne 19.21 (135) Arden Street Oval 10,000 2 May 1931 Footscray 8.13 (61) Hawthorn 9.6 (60) Western Oval 12,000 2 May 1931 Collingwood 13.14 (92) Geelong 12.15 (87) Victoria Park 16,000 2 May 1931 Carlton 15.8 (98) Richmond 14.23 (107) Princes Park 26,500 2 May 1931 Melbourne 15.16 (106) Fitzroy 14.10 (94) MCG 19,330 2 May 1931 St Kilda 13.14 (92) Essendon 11.14 (80) Junction Oval 19,000 2 May 1931

Round 2

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date Geelong 20.6 (126) St Kilda 7.12 (54) Corio Oval 9,500 9 May 1931 Essendon 12.5 (77) Melbourne 10.13 (73) Windy Hill 15,000 9 May 1931 Richmond 30.19.199 North Melbourne 4.7 (31) Punt Road Oval 11,000 9 May 1931 South Melbourne 13.13 (91) Footscray 16.15 (111) Lake Oval 20,000 9 May 1931 Hawthorn 8.17 (65) Collingwood 11.18 (84) Glenferrie Oval 15,000 9 May 1931 Fitzroy 13.15 (93) Carlton 19.19 (133) Brunswick Street Oval 35,000 9 May 1931

Round 3

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date Footscray 7.10 (52) Richmond 13.16 (94) Western Oval 30,000 16 May 1931 Collingwood 13.16 (94) South Melbourne 10.13 (73) Victoria Park 15,000 16 May 1931 Carlton 18.18 (126) Essendon 5.14 (44) Princes Park 20,000 16 May 1931 St Kilda 10.12 (72) Hawthorn 10.8 (68) Junction Oval 14,000 16 May 1931 Melbourne 12.15 (87) Geelong 11.17 (83) MCG 19,767 16 May 1931 North Melbourne 6.12 (48) Fitzroy 12.16 (88) Arden Street Oval 7,000 16 May 1931

Round 4

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date Hawthorn 13.16 (94) Melbourne 16.13 (109) Glenferrie Oval 10,000 23 May 1931 Fitzroy 10.15 (75) Footscray 12.12 (84) Brunswick Street Oval 14,000 23 May 1931 Essendon 12.13 (85) North Melbourne 9.9 (63) Windy Hill 10,000 23 May 1931 South Melbourne 18.19 (127) St Kilda 16.10 (106) Lake Oval 18,000 23 May 1931 Richmond 10.12 (72) Collingwood 9.14 (68) Punt Road Oval 40,000 23 May 1931 Geelong 11.14 (80) Carlton 11.8 (74) Corio Oval 12,500 23 May 1931

Round 5

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date Hawthorn 11.10 (76) South Melbourne 11.13 (79) Glenferrie Oval 11,000 30 May 1931 Essendon 10.12 (72) Richmond 11.20 (86) Windy Hill 15,000 30 May 1931 Carlton 16.11 (107) Collingwood 13.13 (91) Princes Park 35,000 30 May 1931 St Kilda 13.19 (97) North Melbourne 7.10 (52) Junction Oval 10,000 30 May 1931 Melbourne 13.9 (87) Footscray 10.11 (71) MCG 20,244 30 May 1931 Geelong 20.22 (142) Fitzroy 12.9 (81) Corio Oval 9,000 30 May 1931

Round 6

Round 6 was a split round, but the two-halves of the round were unusually played almost three weeks apart. Three matches played on King's Birthday Monday (8 June), and the other three matches played Saturday 27 June – the Saturday between Rounds 8 and 9. This means that six teams played their Round 7 and 8 matches before their Round 6 match.[2]

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date Collingwood 15.10 (100) St Kilda 10.17 (77) Victoria Park 16,000 8 June 1931 North Melbourne 7.17 (59) Melbourne 15.8 (98) Arden Street Oval 7,000 8 June 1931 South Melbourne 6.8 (44) Geelong 13.15 (93) Lake Oval 30,000 8 June 1931 Richmond 9.15 (69) Hawthorn 8.10 (58) Punt Road Oval 19,000 27 June 1931 Fitzroy 7.14 (56) Essendon 10.10 (70) Brunswick Street Oval 12,000 27 June 1931 Footscray 8.8 (56) Carlton 8.11 (59) Western Oval 24,000 27 June 1931

Round 7

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date Geelong 12.15 (87) Richmond 8.12 (60) Corio Oval 18,250 13 June 1931 Footscray 13.8 (86) North Melbourne 5.13 (43) Western Oval 11,000 13 June 1931 Fitzroy 14.14 (98) South Melbourne 16.15 (111) Brunswick Street Oval 12,000 13 June 1931 Essendon 8.12 (60) Hawthorn 12.8 (80) Windy Hill 10,000 13 June 1931 Melbourne 7.12 (54) Collingwood 10.11 (71) MCG 26,436 13 June 1931 St Kilda 8.11 (59) Carlton 12.18 (90) Junction Oval 24,000 13 June 1931

Round 8

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date Richmond 12.12 (84) South Melbourne 7.15 (57) Punt Road Oval 18,000 20 June 1931 Essendon 7.13 (55) Geelong 13.11 (89) Windy Hill 10,000 20 June 1931 Collingwood 22.22 (154) North Melbourne 9.10 (64) Victoria Park 6,000 20 June 1931 Carlton 18.14 (122) Melbourne 9.4 (58) Princes Park 25,000 20 June 1931 St Kilda 7.10 (52) Footscray 11.11 (77) Junction Oval 17,000 20 June 1931 Hawthorn 12.8 (80) Fitzroy 7.14 (56) Glenferrie Oval 8,000 20 June 1931

Round 9

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date Melbourne 4.12 (36) St Kilda 9.9 (63) MCG 15,826 4 July 1931 Geelong 13.9 (87) Hawthorn 9.7 (61) Corio Oval 9,500 4 July 1931 Fitzroy 8.13 (61) Richmond 14.17 (101) Brunswick Street Oval 15,000 4 July 1931 South Melbourne 10.13 (73) Essendon 9.9 (63) Lake Oval 11,000 4 July 1931 Footscray 4.16 (40) Collingwood 6.8 (44) Western Oval 21,500 4 July 1931 North Melbourne 7.8 (50) Carlton 20.10 (130) Arden Street Oval 10,000 4 July 1931

Round 10

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date Hawthorn 14.12 (96) North Melbourne 3.6 (24) Glenferrie Oval 4,000 11 July 1931 Fitzroy 8.10 (58) St Kilda 12.18 (90) Brunswick Street Oval 11,000 11 July 1931 Richmond 8.18 (66) Melbourne 7.11 (53) Punt Road Oval 11,000 11 July 1931 Geelong 7.10 (52) Footscray 3.5 (23) Corio Oval 9,000 11 July 1931 Essendon 12.9 (81) Collingwood 8.9 (57) Windy Hill 10,000 11 July 1931 South Melbourne 10.12 (72) Carlton 11.11 (77) Lake Oval 16,000 11 July 1931

Round 11

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date Melbourne 4.7 (31) South Melbourne 12.10 (82) MCG 15,258 18 July 1931 Collingwood 14.20 (104) Fitzroy 8.10 (58) Victoria Park 12,000 18 July 1931 Carlton 16.15 (111) Hawthorn 5.8 (38) Princes Park 17,000 18 July 1931 St Kilda 6.12 (48) Richmond 11.19 (85) Junction Oval 24,000 18 July 1931 North Melbourne 9.10 (64) Geelong 19.17 (131) Arden Street Oval 4,000 18 July 1931 Footscray 8.10 (58) Essendon 12.13 (85) Western Oval 19,000 18 July 1931

Round 12

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date Fitzroy 11.11 (77) Melbourne 9.12 (66) Brunswick Street Oval 8,000 25 July 1931 Essendon 15.14 (104) St Kilda 9.5 (59) Windy Hill 15,000 25 July 1931 South Melbourne 13.16 (94) North Melbourne 9.12 (66) Lake Oval 7,500 25 July 1931 Hawthorn 8.5 (53) Footscray 6.19 (55) Glenferrie Oval 8,000 25 July 1931 Geelong 4.19 (43) Collingwood 4.6 (30) Corio Oval 15,000 25 July 1931 Richmond 8.17 (65) Carlton 6.12 (48) Punt Road Oval 36,000 25 July 1931

Round 13

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date North Melbourne 9.15 (69) Richmond 16.12 (108) Arden Street Oval 8,000 1 August 1931 Footscray 9.14 (68) South Melbourne 5.11 (41) Western Oval 18,500 1 August 1931 Collingwood 15.13 (103) Hawthorn 7.16 (58) Victoria Park 9,000 1 August 1931 Carlton 18.13 (121) Fitzroy 13.11 (89) Princes Park 18,500 1 August 1931 St Kilda 7.10 (52) Geelong 15.10 (100) Junction Oval 16,000 1 August 1931 Melbourne 11.6 (72) Essendon 10.11 (71) MCG 13,828 1 August 1931

Round 14

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date Hawthorn 11.9 (75) St Kilda 11.11 (77) Glenferrie Oval 8,000 8 August 1931 Geelong 11.11 (77) Melbourne 6.9 (45) Corio Oval 9,250 8 August 1931 Fitzroy 21.12 (138) North Melbourne 8.12 (60) Brunswick Street Oval 8,000 8 August 1931 Richmond 7.12 (54) Footscray 10.18 (78) Punt Road Oval 25,000 8 August 1931 South Melbourne 6.23 (59) Collingwood 8.13 (61) Lake Oval 14,000 8 August 1931 Essendon 18.14 (122) Carlton 11.22 (88) Windy Hill 20,000 8 August 1931

Round 15

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date St Kilda 6.18 (54) South Melbourne 8.14 (62) Junction Oval 6,000 22 August 1931 Collingwood 6.10 (46) Richmond 10.10 (70) Victoria Park 15,000 22 August 1931 Carlton 5.9 (39) Geelong 3.10 (28) Princes Park 18,000 22 August 1931 Melbourne 13.15 (93) Hawthorn 2.6 (18) MCG 3,614 22 August 1931 Footscray 10.12 (72) Fitzroy 6.6 (42) Western Oval 8,000 22 August 1931 North Melbourne 9.7 (61) Essendon 11.17 (83) Arden Street Oval 4,000 22 August 1931

Round 16

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date North Melbourne 7.8 (50) St Kilda 11.15 (81) Arden Street Oval 4,000 29 August 1931 Footscray 10.12 (72) Melbourne 5.8 (38) Western Oval 12,000 29 August 1931 Fitzroy 9.8 (62) Geelong 9.22 (76) Brunswick Street Oval 8,000 29 August 1931 South Melbourne 12.18 (90) Hawthorn 9.5 (59) Lake Oval 4,500 29 August 1931 Richmond 23.14 (152) Essendon 15.11 (101) Punt Road Oval 16,000 29 August 1931 Collingwood 20.15 (135) Carlton 10.14 (74) Victoria Park 20,000 29 August 1931

Round 17

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date Melbourne 18.15 (123) North Melbourne 11.13 (79) MCG 3,944 5 September 1931 Hawthorn 5.13 (43) Richmond 13.21 (99) Glenferrie Oval 11,000 5 September 1931 Geelong 16.12 (108) South Melbourne 8.11 (59) Corio Oval 10,500 5 September 1931 Essendon 15.7 (97) Fitzroy 12.8 (80) Windy Hill 10,000 5 September 1931 Carlton 6.14 (50) Footscray 7.12 (54) Princes Park 39,000 5 September 1931 St Kilda 21.16 (142) Collingwood 20.8 (128) Junction Oval 17,000 5 September 1931

Round 18

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date Collingwood 18.19 (127) Melbourne 8.9 (57) Victoria Park 14,000 12 September 1931 Carlton 10.6 (66) St Kilda 6.12 (48) Princes Park 25,000 12 September 1931 Richmond 8.8 (56) Geelong 11.17 (83) Punt Road Oval 15,000 12 September 1931 North Melbourne 3.16 (34) Footscray 5.13 (43) Arden Street Oval 9,000 12 September 1931 South Melbourne 5.14 (44) Fitzroy 10.14 (74) Lake Oval 4,500 12 September 1931 Hawthorn 8.15 (63) Essendon 9.12 (66) Glenferrie Oval 5,000 12 September 1931

Ladder

(P) Premiers
Qualified for finals
# Team P W L D PF PA % Pts
1 Geelong (P) 18 15 3 0 1572 1038 151.4 60
2 Richmond 18 15 3 0 1627 1153 141.1 60
3 Carlton 18 12 6 0 1613 1289 125.1 48
4 Collingwood 18 12 6 0 1589 1281 124.0 48
5 Footscray 18 12 6 0 1161 1054 110.2 48
6 Essendon 18 10 8 0 1416 1428 99.2 40
7 South Melbourne 18 9 9 0 1393 1406 99.1 36
8 Melbourne 18 8 10 0 1286 1403 91.7 32
9 St Kilda 18 8 10 0 1323 1484 89.2 32
10 Fitzroy 18 4 14 0 1380 1605 86.0 16
11 Hawthorn 18 3 15 0 1145 1395 82.1 12
12 North Melbourne 18 0 18 0 1000 1969 50.8 0

Rules for classification: 1. premiership points; 2. percentage; 3. points for
Average score: 76.4
Source: AFL Tables

Finals series

All of the 1931 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; however, in the Grand Final, the home team was the team that won the preliminary final.

Semi-finals

1st Semi Final
Saturday, 19 September Carlton 20.10 (130) def. Collingwood 5.12 (42) MCG (crowd: 51,140)


2nd Semi Final
Saturday, 26 September Geelong 10.6 (66) def. by Richmond 15.9 (99) MCG (crowd: 48,353)

Preliminary final

Preliminary final
Saturday, 3 October Geelong 11.17 (83) def. Carlton 11.11 (77) MCG (crowd: 36,653)

Grand final

Main article: 1931 VFL Grand Final

Grand final
Saturday, 10 October (2:50 pm) Geelong 9.14 (68) def. Richmond 7.6 (48) MCG (crowd: 60,712)

Season notes

Awards

References

  1. ^ Rodgers, Stephen (1992), Every Game Ever Played: VFL/AFL Results, 1897–1991 (3rd ed.), Ringwood, VIC: Viking O'Neil
  2. ^ Rodgers, Stephen, Every Game Ever Played, VFL/AFL Results 1897–1991, Ringwood, VIC: Viking O'Neal, p. 212
  3. ^ "Brownlow History". afl.com.au. Retrieved 1 October 2023.
  4. ^ H. A. deLacy (31 January 1031). "Football on Motordrome – V.F.L. has option on three other grounds". The Sporting Globe. p. 4.
  5. ^ Southerner (25 March 1931). "Victorian grounds trouble settled". Referee. Sydney, NSW. p. 11.
  6. ^ W. S. Sharland (14 March 1931). "League arranges fixtures". The Sporting Globe. Melbourne. p. 4.
  7. ^ "Second Eighteens". The Argus. Melbourne. 12 October 1931. p. 9.

Sources