1961 VFL Premiership season
Teams12
PremiersHawthorn
(1st premiership)
Minor premiersHawthorn
(1st minor premiership)
Consolation seriesGeelong
(1st Consolation series win)
Matches played112
Highest attendance107,935
Coleman MedallistTom Carroll (Carlton)
Brownlow MedallistJohn James (Carlton)
← 1960
1962 →

The 1961 VFL season was the 65th season of the Victorian Football League (VFL), the highest level senior Australian rules football competition in Victoria. The season featured twelve clubs, ran from 15 April until 23 September, 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 Hawthorn Football Club for the first time, after it defeated Footscray by 43 points in the 1961 VFL Grand Final.

Premiership season

In 1961, the VFL competition consisted of twelve teams of 18 on-the-field players each, plus two substitute players, known as the 19th man and the 20th 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 1961 VFL Premiers were determined by the specific format and conventions of the Page–McIntyre system.

Round 1

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date Hawthorn 7.14 (56) South Melbourne 11.15 (81) Glenferrie Oval 20,000 15 April 1961 Fitzroy 6.10 (46) Melbourne 10.15 (75) Brunswick Street Oval 31,787 15 April 1961 Richmond 11.8 (74) Footscray 15.12 (102) Punt Road Oval 20,000 15 April 1961 North Melbourne 8.10 (58) Essendon 6.13 (49) Arden Street Oval 24,000 15 April 1961 Geelong 13.18 (96) Collingwood 8.9 (57) Kardinia Park 23,973 15 April 1961 St Kilda 5.8 (38) Carlton 6.12 (48) Junction Oval 30,400 15 April 1961

Round 2

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date Footscray 13.19 (97) North Melbourne 8.4 (52) Western Oval 22,178 22 April 1961 Essendon 13.7 (85) St Kilda 9.15 (69) Windy Hill 23,000 22 April 1961 Collingwood 3.16 (34) Richmond 7.15 (57) Victoria Park 23,000 22 April 1961 Carlton 9.5 (59) Fitzroy 6.18 (54) Princes Park 29,384 22 April 1961 Melbourne 5.14 (44) Hawthorn 11.10 (76) MCG 34,640 22 April 1961 South Melbourne 12.8 (80) Geelong 12.12 (84) Lake Oval 24,258 22 April 1961

Round 3

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date Richmond 6.9 (45) South Melbourne 12.17 (89) Punt Road Oval 27,650 25 April 1961 Essendon 8.9 (57) Melbourne 11.16 (82) Windy Hill 32,000 25 April 1961 Collingwood 12.16 (88) North Melbourne 9.8 (62) Victoria Park 26,574 29 April 1961 Carlton 11.6 (72) Footscray 11.15 (81) Princes Park 34,254 29 April 1961 St Kilda 12.11 (83) Geelong 6.14 (50) Junction Oval 29,300 29 April 1961 Hawthorn 13.17 (95) Fitzroy 10.9 (69) Glenferrie Oval 21,500 29 April 1961

Round 4

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date Melbourne 12.9 (81) St Kilda 12.12 (84) MCG 40,572 6 May 1961 Fitzroy 13.17 (95) Richmond 16.12 (108) Brunswick Street Oval 17,861 6 May 1961 North Melbourne 8.7 (55) Hawthorn 12.13 (85) Arden Street Oval 13,500 6 May 1961 Geelong 7.19 (61) Essendon 22.11 (143) Kardinia Park 21,437 6 May 1961 Footscray 10.13 (73) Collingwood 10.4 (64) Western Oval 34,029 6 May 1961 South Melbourne 7.14 (56) Carlton 11.6 (72) Lake Oval 25,624 6 May 1961

Round 5

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date Richmond 13.7 (85) St Kilda 11.20 (86) Punt Road Oval 22,000 13 May 1961 Geelong 7.13 (55) Melbourne 17.18 (120) Kardinia Park 18,673 13 May 1961 Collingwood 8.7 (55) Fitzroy 16.20 (116) Victoria Park 30,560 13 May 1961 South Melbourne 12.12 (84) Footscray 12.10 (82) Lake Oval 26,748 13 May 1961 Hawthorn 9.21 (75) Essendon 12.4 (76) Glenferrie Oval 31,000 13 May 1961 North Melbourne 11.17 (83) Carlton 17.7 (109) Arden Street Oval 21,500 13 May 1961

Round 6

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date Fitzroy 14.13 (97) North Melbourne 11.13 (79) Brunswick Street Oval 17,693 20 May 1961 Essendon 20.13 (133) South Melbourne 6.18 (54) Windy Hill 32,600 20 May 1961 Richmond 9.14 (68) Geelong 16.16 (112) Punt Road Oval 24,600 20 May 1961 Footscray 9.8 (62) Melbourne 13.9 (87) Western Oval 29,490 27 May 1961 Carlton 9.11 (65) Collingwood 7.12 (54) Princes Park 33,161 27 May 1961 St Kilda 14.16 (100) Hawthorn 12.9 (81) Junction Oval 32,900 27 May 1961

Round 7

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date North Melbourne 9.14 (68) St Kilda 11.16 (82) Arden Street Oval 13,000 3 June 1961 Hawthorn 10.13 (73) Richmond 8.12 (60) Glenferrie Oval 15,000 3 June 1961 Collingwood 18.11 (119) Essendon 8.10 (58) Victoria Park 28,290 3 June 1961 Geelong 13.13 (91) Footscray 4.14 (38) Kardinia Park 18,683 3 June 1961 South Melbourne 7.8 (50) Fitzroy 17.15 (117) Lake Oval 14,500 3 June 1961 Melbourne 15.14 (104) Carlton 11.13 (79) MCG 49,678 3 June 1961

Round 8

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date St Kilda 16.14 (110) South Melbourne 5.16 (46) Junction Oval 28,800 10 June 1961 North Melbourne 11.13 (79) Geelong 11.13 (79) Arden Street Oval 16,000 10 June 1961 Fitzroy 10.14 (74) Essendon 6.18 (54) Brunswick Street Oval 28,083 10 June 1961 Footscray 14.19 (103) Hawthorn 13.13 (91) Western Oval 24,132 12 June 1961 Carlton 7.7 (49) Richmond 13.11 (89) Princes Park 24,660 12 June 1961 Melbourne 17.19 (121) Collingwood 7.10 (52) MCG 78,465 12 June 1961

Round 9

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date Geelong 9.7 (61) Hawthorn 10.10 (70) Kardinia Park 14,197 17 June 1961 Collingwood 14.10 (94) St Kilda 12.12 (84) Victoria Park 27,280 17 June 1961 Richmond 12.10 (82) North Melbourne 10.16 (76) Punt Road Oval 10,000 17 June 1961 South Melbourne 8.14 (62) Melbourne 14.14 (98) Lake Oval 10,200 17 June 1961 Footscray 9.5 (59) Fitzroy 9.9 (63) Western Oval 21,197 17 June 1961 Essendon 12.17 (89) Carlton 7.12 (54) Windy Hill 23,000 17 June 1961

Round 10

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date Collingwood 12.12 (84) South Melbourne 6.8 (44) Victoria Park 24,637 24 June 1961 North Melbourne 5.14 (44) Melbourne 14.9 (93) Arden Street Oval 11,500 24 June 1961 St Kilda 8.11 (59) Footscray 4.13 (37) Junction Oval 28,100 24 June 1961 Geelong 9.10 (64) Fitzroy 8.9 (57) Kardinia Park 16,881 24 June 1961 Richmond 12.20 (92) Essendon 10.14 (74) Punt Road Oval 23,000 24 June 1961 Hawthorn 12.6 (78) Carlton 6.10 (46) Glenferrie Oval 21,500 24 June 1961

Round 11

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date Melbourne 17.18 (120) Richmond 7.12 (54) MCG 38,000 1 July 1961 Fitzroy 9.9 (63) St Kilda 9.8 (62) Brunswick Street Oval 19,291 1 July 1961 Essendon 12.11 (83) Footscray 13.14 (92) Windy Hill 22,440 1 July 1961 Carlton 10.18 (78) Geelong 17.16 (118) Princes Park 17,936 1 July 1961 South Melbourne 9.14 (68) North Melbourne 7.8 (50) Lake Oval 8,750 1 July 1961 Hawthorn 13.12 (90) Collingwood 4.12 (36) Glenferrie Oval 31,500 1 July 1961

Round 12

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date Footscray 6.6 (42) Richmond 4.9 (33) Western Oval 16,648 8 July 1961 Essendon 9.9 (63) North Melbourne 3.10 (28) Windy Hill 12,800 8 July 1961 Collingwood 5.11 (41) Geelong 8.10 (58) Victoria Park 20,700 8 July 1961 Carlton 9.8 (62) St Kilda 3.12 (30) Princes Park 14,636 8 July 1961 South Melbourne 7.7 (49) Hawthorn 9.11 (65) Lake Oval 13,860 8 July 1961 Melbourne 6.8 (44) Fitzroy 6.8 (44) MCG 29,947 8 July 1961

Round 13

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date Hawthorn 8.10 (58) Melbourne 5.10 (40) Glenferrie Oval 27,500 15 July 1961 North Melbourne 10.15 (75) Footscray 11.6 (72) Arden Street Oval 15,000 15 July 1961 Richmond 5.8 (38) Collingwood 6.18 (54) Punt Road Oval 22,799 15 July 1961 Geelong 11.16 (82) South Melbourne 9.13 (67) Kardinia Park 18,489 22 July 1961 St Kilda 13.20 (98) Essendon 7.8 (50) Junction Oval 34,600 22 July 1961 Fitzroy 12.13 (85) Carlton 9.22 (76) Brunswick Street Oval 34,561 22 July 1961

Round 14

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date Geelong 11.7 (73) St Kilda 10.8 (68) Kardinia Park 25,723 29 July 1961 Fitzroy 12.15 (87) Hawthorn 13.16 (94) Brunswick Street Oval 23,012 29 July 1961 South Melbourne 16.9 (105) Richmond 9.14 (68) Lake Oval 14,350 29 July 1961 Melbourne 10.18 (78) Essendon 13.9 (87) MCG 31,455 29 July 1961 North Melbourne 9.13 (67) Collingwood 9.10 (64) Arden Street Oval 15,000 29 July 1961 Footscray 12.11 (83) Carlton 7.9 (51) Western Oval 21,639 29 July 1961

Round 15

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date Hawthorn 15.10 (100) North Melbourne 6.11 (47) Glenferrie Oval 14,000 5 August 1961 Essendon 13.16 (94) Geelong 7.14 (56) Windy Hill 27,500 5 August 1961 Collingwood 5.10 (40) Footscray 11.12 (78) Victoria Park 22,324 5 August 1961 Carlton 17.9 (111) South Melbourne 7.10 (52) Princes Park 16,889 5 August 1961 St Kilda 9.12 (66) Melbourne 7.13 (55) Junction Oval 33,100 5 August 1961 Richmond 9.9 (63) Fitzroy 9.14 (68) Punt Road Oval 15,547 5 August 1961

Round 16

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date Footscray 14.17 (101) South Melbourne 5.16 (46) Western Oval 19,242 12 August 1961 Essendon 10.12 (72) Hawthorn 11.13 (79) Windy Hill 27,200 12 August 1961 Carlton 9.16 (70) North Melbourne 10.8 (68) Princes Park 15,439 12 August 1961 St Kilda 12.19 (91) Richmond 0.8 (8) Junction Oval 20,600 12 August 1961 Melbourne 12.17 (89) Geelong 12.15 (87) MCG 48,245 12 August 1961 Fitzroy 12.20 (92) Collingwood 10.10 (70) Brunswick Street Oval 23,768 12 August 1961

Round 17

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date Hawthorn 19.6 (120) St Kilda 14.7 (91) Glenferrie Oval 34,500 19 August 1961 Geelong 11.11 (77) Richmond 6.10 (46) Kardinia Park 17,976 19 August 1961 Melbourne 11.22 (88) Footscray 7.6 (48) MCG 52,195 19 August 1961 North Melbourne 10.15 (75) Fitzroy 8.15 (63) Arden Street Oval 15,000 19 August 1961 South Melbourne 11.12 (78) Essendon 16.11 (107) Lake Oval 14,125 19 August 1961 Collingwood 10.12 (72) Carlton 13.10 (88) Victoria Park 31,849 19 August 1961

Round 18

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date Footscray 12.12 (84) Geelong 8.15 (63) Western Oval 42,015 26 August 1961 Fitzroy 25.29 (179) South Melbourne 11.10 (76) Brunswick Street Oval 12,815 26 August 1961 Carlton 13.12 (90) Melbourne 13.13 (91) Princes Park 21,863 26 August 1961 St Kilda 10.12 (72) North Melbourne 9.13 (67) Junction Oval 24,250 26 August 1961 Richmond 8.8 (56) Hawthorn 11.15 (81) Punt Road Oval 15,177 26 August 1961 Essendon 12.16 (88) Collingwood 13.10 (88) Windy Hill 18,500 26 August 1961

Ladder

1961 VFL ladder
Pos Team Pld W L D PF PA PP Pts
1 Hawthorn (P) 18 14 4 0 1467 1173 125.1 56 Finals
2 Melbourne 18 12 5 1 1510 1151 131.2 50
3 St Kilda 18 11 7 0 1373 1173 117.1 44
4 Footscray 18 11 7 0 1334 1216 109.7 44
5 Fitzroy 18 10 7 1 1469 1258 116.8 42
6 Geelong 18 10 7 1 1367 1362 100.4 42
7 Essendon 18 9 8 1 1462 1335 109.5 38
8 Carlton 18 9 9 0 1279 1325 96.5 36
9 Collingwood 18 5 12 1 1166 1375 84.8 22
10 Richmond 18 5 13 0 1126 1428 78.9 20
11 South Melbourne 18 5 13 0 1187 1644 72.2 20
12 North Melbourne 18 4 13 1 1133 1433 79.1 18
Source: VFL ladder
Rules for classification: 1) points; 2) percentage; 3) number of points for.
(P) Premiers

Consolation Night Series Competition

The night series were held under the floodlights at Lake Oval, South Melbourne, for the teams (5th to 12th on ladder) out of the finals at the end of the season.

Final: Geelong 9.20 (74) defeated North Melbourne 9.8 (62)

Finals series

Main article: 1961 VFL finals series

The 1961 VFL finals series was contested under the Page-McIntyre System, which had been used since 1931.

Week one

First Semi-final
SF1: Saturday, 2 September (2:30 pm) St Kilda 8.12 (60) def. by Footscray 9.15 (69) MCG (crowd: 86,411) Report

Week two

Second Semi-final
SF2: Saturday, 9 September (2:30 pm) Hawthorn 12.8 (80) def. Melbourne 11.7 (73) MCG (crowd: 87,744) Report

Week three

Preliminary final
Saturday, 16 September (2:30 pm) Melbourne 8.10 (58) def. by Footscray 13.7 (85) MCG (crowd: 86,118) Report
  • Footscray qualified for their second VFL Grand final and stopped Melbourne from playing what would have been their eighth consecutive Grand final.

Week four

Main article: 1961 VFL Grand Final

Grand final
Saturday, 23 September (2:50 pm) Hawthorn 13.16 (94) def. Footscray 7.9 (51) MCG (crowd: 107,935) Report
  • This was the first appearance in a grand final for Hawthorn.
  • This was the first grand final in league history which did not feature any of the VFL's foundation clubs.
  • Hawthorn won its maiden VFL/AFL premiership.

Awards

Notable events

References

  1. ^ Rex Pullen (2 October 1961). "Saints run hot to take flag". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne. p. 39.