|1960 VFA premiership season|
1st minor premiership
The 1960 Victorian Football Association season was the 79th season of the Australian rules football competition. The premiership was won by the Oakleigh Football Club, after it defeated Sandringham in the Grand Final on 1 October by 60 points. It was Oakleigh's fifth premiership.
The season was the first in which Association premiership matches were played on Sunday afternoons, a change which dramatically increased the Association's popularity over the following decades.
The Prahran Football Club was re-admitted to the Association in 1960, bringing the number of teams to seventeen. Prahran had been expelled in 1959 when the Prahran Council leased Toorak Park to the Victorian Rugby Union on alternate Saturdays, leaving the football club unable to meet the Association's minimum home ground requirements, but the club was re-admitted once it had secured a winter-long lease for the ground.
It was speculated that the Association would admit an eighteenth team to avoid the need for a bye in the fixture, and because it had previously announced its strategic intention to expand to twenty teams. Several groups interested in applying for the Association were mentioned in the press during 1959, including the North Geelong Football Club, the Altona City Council and a group of locals from Broadmeadows; but, ultimately the Association did not find a club with suitable facilities, so the membership remained at seventeen clubs.
On 1 April 1960, the Association approved for the first time the playing of VFA premiership matches on Sunday afternoons. Amateur football and charity and practice matches had been played on Sundays in Melbourne before, but top level commercial senior football had not. Playing on Sunday had long been seen as a strong opportunity for the Association to improve its popularity, as it would not be competing for gate takings with the Victorian Football League, which was played entirely on Saturdays; however, Sunday trading was still decades away from being legal, and neither councils nor communities widely approved of playing professional and commercial sport on Sundays. The Association had formally considered and rejected playing on Sundays twice before, most recently in 1957 (when night football was introduced as an alternative timeslot in which the Association would not be competing with League matches).
Although the Association approved Sunday matches, it did not formally schedule any to be played. Instead, clubs were given free rein to move any Saturday game to Sunday, provided there was mutual agreement between the clubs involved, and it was approved by the grounds management committee and the local council; additionally, the Association committed to donating 25% of Sunday gates to charity. The number of games on any given Sunday in 1960 varied from none to as many as three.
The first Sunday game was played on 24 April between Brunswick and Coburg; the match, which also happened to the Brunswick's first match back at Brunswick Oval after its redevelopment in 1959, drew a crowd of 17,000, Brunswick's highest home crowd since the 1930s; Coburg 12.17 (89) defeated Brunswick 9.17 (71). Other Sunday matches drew huge crowds: on 15 May, Northcote drew a larger crowd to a rain-affected Sunday match than it had drawn to any dry weather Saturday match for more than five years; and on 17 July, a Sunday game between ladder-leaders Oakleigh and winless Prahran, which would normally have roused little interest due to its one-sided nature, drew a gate of £310, compared with the combined gate of £391 for all seven of that weekend's Saturday games.
Despite the successful crowds, the matches were not universally accepted in 1960. Nine of the seventeen councils had approved Sunday matches within six weeks of the VFA announcing them, but some councils were slower to move – the Box Hill council, for example, did not approve Sunday matches until 1969. The Sandringham Football Club committee voted not to play any matches on Sundays during 1960. Yarraville played before large Sunday crowds early in the season, but refused requests and opted for smaller Saturday crowds later in the year because one of its star players, Geoff Williams, was unavailable to play on Sundays and it didn't want to jeopardise its premiership chances by playing without him. Another consequence of the Association playing on Sundays was a significant reduction in attendances at amateur games, which had previously been the highest level of football played on Sunday.
Sunday football went on to provide the most significant and lasting popularity boost to the Association since the throw-pass era in the 1930s and 1940s. By the early 1970s, almost all Association matches were played on Sunday, and the State Government refused to allow the League to play its matches on Sunday, meaning that the two competitions were no longer competing for the same gate. This fixturing segregation between the competitions continued until 1979, when the VFL began playing occasional televised matches in Sydney on Sundays; this was followed by the South Melbourne Football Club moving permanently Sydney in 1982 and playing all home games on Sunday, followed by progressively introducing Sunday VFL matches in Victoria through the mid-1980s.
With seventeen teams, the format of the season changed from previous years. The home-and-home season lasted for twenty weeks, arranged as nineteen rounds with one of those rounds split across two weekends. Each team played eighteen home-and-home matches with one bye – except for Prahran and Brighton, who each had two byes, but played an extra match (against each other) during the split round.
The top six teams then qualified for the finals series; in all previous years since the introduction of finals in 1903, four teams had played finals. Under the new final six system, used only in this 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, 3 September (12:00 pm)||Yarraville 18.10 (118)||def.||Moorabbin 15.5 (95)||St Kilda Cricket Ground (crowd: 9,000 CR)|||
|Saturday, 3 September (2:30 pm)||Williamstown 12.10 (82)||def.||Coburg 6.11 (47)||St Kilda Cricket Ground (crowd: 9,000)|||
|Saturday, 10 September||Yarraville 9.8 (62)||def. by||Williamstown 8.19 (67)||St Kilda Cricket Ground (crowd: 8,000)|||
|Saturday, 17 September||Sandringham 10.11 (71)||def.||Oakleigh 8.11 (59)||St Kilda Cricket Ground (crowd: 8,000)|||
|Saturday, 24 September||Oakleigh 6.12 (48)||def.||Williamstown 4.9 (33)||St Kilda Cricket Ground (crowd: 8,000)|||
|1960 VFA Grand Final|
|Saturday, 1 October||Sandringham||def. by||Oakleigh||St Kilda Cricket Ground (crowd: 30,000)|||
|Umpires: F. Allen|
|Bouyer 3, Richards 2, Strachan 2, Murray||Goals||Jones 5, Coughlan 3, Allsopp 2, McCooke 2, Naismith 2, Ash, Buckley, d'Arcy, Pannam|
|Gleeson (arm), Ransom (knee)||Injuries||Clements (leg)|
As a result of finishing last in the 1958 Melbourne Carnival, the Association was relegated to Division 2 of the ANFC championships. The 1960 Minor States Carnival was held in Sydney during 1960, with the winner then playing off a month later against the Australian Amateurs, winners of the Division 2 competition in 1958, in Canberra for promotion to Division 1. Matches were played with the national standard eighteen players per team, rather than the sixteen players used under Association rules. Brunswick's Jim Whiley captained the VFA team.
The Association team dominated the Sydney Carnival, winning all three games by more than 100 points; it then defeated the Amateurs by 26 points in the playoff match.
|1960 Minor States Carnival|
|Sunday, 26 June||Victoria (VFA) 17.31 (133)||def.||Canberra 3.11 (29)||Trumper Park (crowd: 6,000)|||
|Wednesday, 29 June||Victoria (VFA) 22.20 (152)||def.||Queensland 3.7 (25)||Trumper Park|||
|Sunday, 3 June||Victoria (VFA) 23.24 (162)||def.||New South Wales 8.9 (57)||Trumper Park|||
|Sunday, 31 July||Australian Amateurs 8.7 (55)||def. by||Victoria (VFA) 12.9 (81)||Manuka Oval|||