|1949 VFA premiership season|
(4th minor premiership)
The 1949 Victorian Football Association season was the 68th season of the Australian rules football competition. The premiership was won by the Williamstown Football Club, which defeated Oakleigh by three points in the Grand Final on 1 October. It was the fifth premiership won by the club.
During the season, the Association agreed to join the Australian National Football Council, effective from the 1950 season, ending a decade of division in Victorian football. Consequently, it was the final season in which the throw-pass was legal in the Association.
Main article: Australian rules football schism (1938–1949)
During the 1940s, unity of football control within Victoria had been a topic of regular discussion. The two football bodies in Victoria had been divided since 1938, when the Association broke away from Australian National Football Council. In the following decade, the Association had introduced a number of rule changes, most notably legalising throwing of the football in general play, while the ANFC-affiliated Victorian Football League was bound by the national rules; and, there was no player transfer agreement between the two bodies, allowing players to switch codes without a clearance.
By standing alone, the Association's throw-pass innovation and aggressive recruiting of League stars substantially boosted its attendances during the 1940s. However, the schism was problematic for Australian rules football as a whole: the poaching of players from one body by the other was undermining public opinion, giving other sports the opportunity to attract disenchanted fans; and, the lack of a consistent code of rules made it more difficult to spread the game to other parts of the country. The VFL, VFA and ANFC all believed that the sport would benefit from unified control in Victoria, and there were regular discussions between the VFA and VFL during the early 1940s seeking amalgamation; none were successful. In the late 1940s, the VFA began looking at obtaining a seat on the ANFC as a means of unifying football control while maintaining its independence.
No arrangement for affiliation to the ANFC was reached for the 1949 season, but in March the VFA and VFL reached a separate bilateral agreement to recognise the validity of each other's clearances, effective from the start of the 1949 season. The new agreement meant that League players were not legally permitted to play in the Association without a clearance from their League clubs, or vice versa; prior to the agreement, players who switched competitions without a clearance received a suspension which was binding only in his former competition.
By the end of the season, both the League and the Association had agreed to lift any active suspensions which players had received for switching codes without a clearance.
The Association formally agreed to affiliate with the ANFC in August 1949. Under the terms of the affiliation:
The motion to affiliate was passed on 8 August 1949 by a majority of 18–7. Delegates representing Oakleigh, Williamstown and Yarraville voted against the motion. The Association remained affiliated with the ANFC until it was expelled in March 1970 for playing League players without an endorsed clearance.
The home-and-home season was played over twenty-one matches, before the top four clubs contested a finals series under the Page–McIntyre system to determine the premiers for the season.
|Key: P = Played, W = Won, L = Lost, D = Drawn, PF = Points For, PA = Points Against, Pct = Percentage; (P) = Premiers, PTS = Premiership points||Source|
|Saturday, 10 September||Brighton 14.15 (99)||def.||Coburg 11.8 (74)||St Kilda Cricket Ground (crowd: 14,000)|||
|Saturday, 17 September||Williamstown 14.13 (97)||def.||Oakleigh 13.14 (92)||St Kilda Cricket Ground (crowd: 23,000)|||
|Saturday, 24 September||Oakleigh 14.16 (100)||def.||Brighton 12.13 (85)||St Kilda Cricket Ground (crowd: 22,000)|||
|1949 VFA Grand Final|
|Saturday, 1 October||Williamstown||def.||Oakleigh||St Kilda Cricket Ground (crowd: 40,000)|||
|Todd 5, Walker 3, Abberton, Bernard, Molyneux||Goals||Smeaton 2, Watson 2, Edward, Finn, Scott, Wenn|
|Simpson (ankle), Walker (cramp)||Injuries||Baxter (thigh), Rawlings (thigh)|