|1961 VFL premiership season|
1st minor premiership
1st Consolation series win
|Brownlow Medallist||John James (Carlton)|
|Coleman Medallist||Tom Carroll (Carlton)|
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.
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.
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)
Main article: 1961 VFL finals series
The 1961 VFL finals series was contested under the Page-McIntyre System, which had been used since 1931.
|SF1: Saturday, 2 September (2:30 pm)||St Kilda 8.12 (60)||def. by||Footscray 9.15 (69)||MCG (crowd: 86,411)||Report|
|SF2: Saturday, 9 September (2:30 pm)||Hawthorn 12.8 (80)||def.||Melbourne 11.7 (73)||MCG (crowd: 87,744)||Report|
|Saturday, 16 September (2:30 pm)||Melbourne 8.10 (58)||def. by||Footscray 13.7 (85)||MCG (crowd: 86,118)||Report|
Main article: 1961 VFL Grand Final
|Saturday, 23 September (2:50 pm)||Hawthorn 13.16 (94)||def.||Footscray 7.9 (51)||MCG (crowd: 107,935)||Report|