1978 VFL Premiership season
Teams12
PremiersHawthorn
(4th premiership)
Minor premiersNorth Melbourne
(2nd minor premiership)
Night seriesFitzroy
(1st Night series win)
Matches played138
Attendance3,478,015 (25,203 per match)
Highest attendance101,704
Coleman MedallistKelvin Templeton (Footscray)
Brownlow MedallistMalcolm Blight (North Melbourne)
← 1977
1979 →

The 1978 VFL season was the 82nd season of the Victorian Football League (VFL), the highest level senior Australian rules football competition in Victoria. The season featured twelve clubs, ran from 1 April until 30 September, and comprised a 22-game home-and-away season followed by a finals series featuring the top five clubs.

The premiership was won by the Hawthorn Football Club for the fourth time, after it defeated North Melbourne by 18 points in the 1978 VFL Grand Final.

Rule changes

Night series

Fitzroy defeated North Melbourne 13.18 (96) to 2.8 (20) in the final.

Premiership season

Round 1

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date Hawthorn 22.15 (147) Melbourne 9.14 (68) Princes Park 10,632 1 April 1978 Footscray 11.14 (80) North Melbourne 23.11 (149) Western Oval 20,420 1 April 1978 Fitzroy 15.11 (101) St Kilda 16.13 (109) Junction Oval 17,030 1 April 1978 Essendon 19.9 (123) South Melbourne 14.18 (102) Windy Hill 23,562 1 April 1978 Geelong 11.10 (76) Collingwood 17.16 (118) Kardinia Park 27,463 1 April 1978 Richmond 25.24 (174) Carlton 14.13 (97) MCG 49,031 1 April 1978

Round 2

Round 2
Saturday, 8 April (2:10 pm) Carlton 13.17 (95) def. by Geelong 15.19 (109) Princes Park (crowd: 18,932) Report
Saturday, 8 April (2:10 pm) Collingwood 22.23 (155) def. Essendon 12.16 (88) Victoria Park (crowd: 34,665) Report
Saturday, 8 April (2:10 pm) Melbourne 24.23 (167) def. Fitzroy 23.19 (157) MCG (crowd: 15,613) Report
Saturday, 8 April (2:10 pm) St Kilda 20.17 (137) def. Footscray 19.16 (130) Moorabbin Oval (crowd: 18,540) Report
Saturday, 8 April (2:10 pm) South Melbourne 16.8 (104) def. by Hawthorn 18.24 (132) Lake Oval (crowd: 15,072) Report
Saturday, 8 April (2:10 pm) North Melbourne 25.16 (166) def. Richmond 14.9 (93) Arden Street Oval (crowd: 22,505) Report
  • Fitzroy broke South Melbourne's 1976 record for the highest losing score against Melbourne by four points. This record would last until the 1989 VFL season.

Round 3

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date Richmond 16.14 (110) St Kilda 15.20 (110) MCG 35,602 15 April 1978 Footscray 10.16 (76) Geelong 21.14 (140) Western Oval 16,949 15 April 1978 Essendon 15.15 (105) Fitzroy 14.17 (101) Windy Hill 16,300 15 April 1978 Carlton 13.20 (98) Melbourne 11.19 (85) Princes Park 17,765 15 April 1978 South Melbourne 18.11 (119) Collingwood 14.18 (102) Lake Oval 20,733 15 April 1978 North Melbourne 16.15 (111) Hawthorn 12.14 (86) VFL Park 39,097 15 April 1978

Round 4

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date Geelong 18.17 (125) Richmond 15.8 (98) Kardinia Park 20,566 22 April 1978 Fitzroy 21.17 (143) South Melbourne 18.16 (124) Junction Oval 13,660 22 April 1978 Collingwood 14.19 (103) Hawthorn 15.15 (105) Victoria Park 28,714 22 April 1978 St Kilda 14.16 (100) North Melbourne 17.17 (119) Moorabbin Oval 29,117 22 April 1978 Melbourne 18.19 (127) Footscray 18.12 (120) MCG 14,865 22 April 1978 Essendon 19.17 (131) Carlton 16.8 (104) VFL Park 34,516 22 April 1978

Round 5

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date Richmond 19.16 (130) Melbourne 8.11 (59) MCG 34,212 25 April 1978 St Kilda 14.14 (98) Geelong 9.11 (65) VFL Park 43,388 25 April 1978 Hawthorn 14.17 (101) Fitzroy 15.12 (102) Princes Park 13,528 29 April 1978 Footscray 15.20 (110) Essendon 13.15 (93) Western Oval 20,328 29 April 1978 North Melbourne 19.10 (124) Collingwood 17.13 (115) Arden Street Oval 31,424 29 April 1978 South Melbourne 18.9 (117) Carlton 17.14 (116) Lake Oval 20,183 29 April 1978

Round 6

Round 6
Saturday, 6 May (2:10 pm) Carlton 19.12 (126) def. by Hawthorn 24.13 (157) Princes Park (crowd: 19,649) Report
Saturday, 6 May (2:10 pm) Fitzroy 14.12 (96) def. by Collingwood 22.16 (148) Junction Oval (crowd: 25232) Report
Saturday, 6 May (2:10 pm) Essendon 22.18 (150) def. Richmond 19.15 (129) Windy Hill (crowd: 21946) Report
Saturday, 6 May (2:10 pm) Footscray 16.9 (105) def. by South Melbourne 18.15 (123) VFL Park (crowd: 19263) Report
Saturday, 6 May (2:10 pm) Geelong 12.16 (88) def. by North Melbourne 16.14 (110) Kardinia Park (crowd: 23,074) Report
Saturday, 6 May (2:10 pm) Melbourne 21.15 (141) def. by St Kilda 31.18 (204) MCG (crowd: 24852) Report
  • Melbourne and St Kilda set the current record for the highest aggregate score in a game, the two teams amassing 52.33 (345). This broke the record set in the 1972 VFL Grand Final. The Saints also kicked their highest score in a match.

Round 7

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date Richmond 14.14 (98) South Melbourne 19.11 (125) MCG 25,904 13 May 1978 Hawthorn 27.15 (177) Footscray 13.13 (91) Princes Park 9,099 13 May 1978 North Melbourne 14.14 (98) Fitzroy 14.11 (95) Arden Street Oval 14,150 13 May 1978 St Kilda 17.11 (113) Essendon 16.11 (107) Moorabbin Oval 30,760 13 May 1978 Collingwood 9.14 (68) Carlton 12.13 (85) Victoria Park 26,782 13 May 1978 Melbourne 21.13 (139) Geelong 18.18 (126) VFL Park 13,072 13 May 1978

Round 8

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date Melbourne 8.13 (61) North Melbourne 20.17 (137) MCG 21,268 20 May 1978 Essendon 11.10 (76) Geelong 7.18 (60) Windy Hill 21,212 20 May 1978 Carlton 8.15 (63) Fitzroy 9.7 (61) Princes Park 21,520 20 May 1978 South Melbourne 20.16 (136) St Kilda 4.13 (37) Lake Oval 21,494 20 May 1978 Footscray 14.5 (89) Collingwood 14.9 (93) Western Oval 19,096 20 May 1978 Hawthorn 14.15 (99) Richmond 9.16 (70) VFL Park 27,224 20 May 1978

Round 9

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date Geelong 16.13 (109) South Melbourne 14.11 (95) Kardinia Park 21,603 27 May 1978 Fitzroy 13.14 (92) Footscray 18.9 (117) Junction Oval 11,903 27 May 1978 Collingwood 12.20 (92) Richmond 10.16 (76) Victoria Park 28,651 27 May 1978 Carlton 18.9 (117) North Melbourne 8.11 (59) Princes Park 30,976 27 May 1978 St Kilda 8.9 (57) Hawthorn 13.19 (97) Moorabbin Oval 25,293 27 May 1978 Essendon 15.12 (102) Melbourne 8.12 (60) VFL Park 28,231 27 May 1978

Round 10

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date Hawthorn 12.24 (96) Geelong 8.13 (61) Princes Park 11,066 3 June 1978 Richmond 12.14 (86) Fitzroy 11.14 (80) MCG 21,122 3 June 1978 North Melbourne 13.7 (85) Essendon 12.10 (82) Arden Street Oval 28,828 3 June 1978 South Melbourne 24.18 (162) Melbourne 14.8 (92) Lake Oval 15,738 5 June 1978 Footscray 19.11 (125) Carlton 15.14 (104) Western Oval 30,197 5 June 1978 Collingwood 18.23 (131) St Kilda 14.13 (97) VFL Park 72,669 5 June 1978

Round 11

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date Fitzroy 16.15 (111) Geelong 16.18 (114) Junction Oval 10,300 17 June 1978 Essendon 16.8 (104) Hawthorn 19.19 (133) Windy Hill 23,302 17 June 1978 Collingwood 17.25 (127) Melbourne 10.7 (67) Victoria Park 19,931 17 June 1978 Carlton 23.27 (165) St Kilda 8.17 (65) Princes Park 25,388 17 June 1978 Richmond 23.17 (155) Footscray 14.13 (97) MCG 22,764 17 June 1978 North Melbourne 17.15 (117) South Melbourne 15.7 (97) VFL Park 31,037 17 June 1978

Round 12

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date Carlton 20.17 (137) Richmond 13.16 (94) Princes Park 28,266 24 June 1978 Melbourne 15.18 (108) Hawthorn 18.20 (128) MCG 14,652 24 June 1978 North Melbourne 8.12 (60) Footscray 13.12 (90) Arden Street Oval 14,269 24 June 1978 St Kilda 17.9 (111) Fitzroy 20.14 (134) Moorabbin Oval 15,822 24 June 1978 South Melbourne 13.19 (97) Essendon 17.18 (120) Lake Oval 18,574 24 June 1978 Geelong 13.18 (96) Collingwood 7.14 (56) VFL Park 31,636 24 June 1978

Round 13

Round 13
Saturday, 1 July (2:10 pm) Geelong 8.9 (57) def. by Carlton 9.13 (67) Kardinia Park (crowd: 25,185) Report
Saturday, 1 July (2:10 pm) Essendon 12.26 (98) def. by Collingwood 14.21 (105) Windy Hill (crowd: 29,768) Report
Saturday, 1 July (2:10 pm) Fitzroy 19.27 (141) def. Melbourne 8.13 (61) VFL Park (crowd: 13,933) Report
Saturday, 1 July (2:10 pm) Footscray 33.15 (213) def. St Kilda 16.10 (106) Western Oval (crowd: 16,300) Report
Saturday, 1 July (2:10 pm) Hawthorn 21.14 (140) def. South Melbourne 18.11 (119) Princes Park (crowd: 13,853) Report
Saturday, 1 July (2:10 pm) Richmond 21.16 (142) def. North Melbourne 17.15 (117) MCG (crowd: 27,156) Report
  • Footscray kicked their highest-ever score of 33.15 (213) and Kelvin Templeton also set a club record for most goals in a game by an individual player, kicking 15 goals 9 behinds. It also set the record for the most scoring shots in a game by an individual player. The last Bulldog to kick 10 goals in a game was Ron Grove against Melbourne in Round 5, 1946. The score also broke the VFL record previously held by Carlton who kicked 30.30 (210) against Hawthorn in Round 2, 1969.

Round 14

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date North Melbourne 19.7 (121) St Kilda 18.16 (124) Arden Street Oval 12,599 8 July 1978 Footscray 20.7 (127) Melbourne 8.11 (59) Western Oval 13,325 8 July 1978 Richmond 17.20 (122) Geelong 18.9 (117) MCG 24,417 8 July 1978 South Melbourne 22.11 (143) Fitzroy 13.15 (93) Lake Oval 16,642 8 July 1978 Essendon 13.24 (102) Carlton 14.11 (95) Windy Hill 29,831 8 July 1978 Collingwood 13.6 (84) Hawthorn 10.14 (74) VFL Park 46,066 8 July 1978

Round 15

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date Hawthorn 10.14 (74) North Melbourne 7.13 (55) Princes Park 16,214 15 July 1978 Collingwood 17.12 (114) South Melbourne 12.22 (94) Victoria Park 23,729 15 July 1978 St Kilda 10.11 (71) Richmond 19.11 (125) Moorabbin Oval 18,954 15 July 1978 Geelong 12.12 (84) Footscray 10.12 (72) Kardinia Park 15,700 15 July 1978 Fitzroy 15.11 (101) Essendon 11.17 (83) Junction Oval 13,550 15 July 1978 Carlton 17.13 (115) Melbourne 2.14 (26) VFL Park 16,870 15 July 1978

Round 16

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date Melbourne 14.9 (93) Richmond 17.19 (121) MCG 18,416 22 July 1978 Geelong 16.8 (104) St Kilda 12.20 (92) Kardinia Park 16,219 22 July 1978 Fitzroy 18.14 (122) Hawthorn 17.19 (121) Junction Oval 12,240 22 July 1978 Collingwood 7.17 (59) North Melbourne 15.11 (101) Victoria Park 32,286 22 July 1978 Carlton 16.16 (112) South Melbourne 9.17 (71) Princes Park 24,277 22 July 1978 Footscray 15.17 (107) Essendon 13.8 (86) VFL Park 30,200 22 July 1978

Round 17

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date St Kilda 20.21 (141) Melbourne 13.11 (89) Moorabbin Oval 13,118 29 July 1978 North Melbourne 18.14 (122) Geelong 10.16 (76) Arden Street Oval 15,775 29 July 1978 South Melbourne 15.15 (105) Footscray 13.13 (91) Lake Oval 14,112 29 July 1978 Richmond 20.16 (136) Essendon 13.18 (96) MCG 41,878 29 July 1978 Hawthorn 13.17 (95) Carlton 18.11 (119) Princes Park 28,132 29 July 1978 Collingwood 16.11 (107) Fitzroy 11.11 (77) VFL Park 32,246 29 July 1978

Round 18

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date Footscray 17.10 (112) Hawthorn 17.16 (118) Western Oval 17,285 5 August 1978 Fitzroy 11.16 (82) North Melbourne 19.10 (124) Junction Oval 13,022 5 August 1978 Essendon 11.16 (82) St Kilda 18.13 (121) Windy Hill 18,410 5 August 1978 Carlton 14.19 (103) Collingwood 8.14 (62) Princes Park 43,313 5 August 1978 Melbourne 13.17 (95) Geelong 14.17 (101) MCG 12,363 5 August 1978 South Melbourne 14.9 (93) Richmond 9.16 (70) VFL Park 31,717 5 August 1978

Round 19

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date St Kilda 13.7 (85) South Melbourne 3.19 (37) Moorabbin Oval 20,933 12 August 1978 Hawthorn 18.19 (127) Richmond 10.10 (70) Princes Park 15,980 12 August 1978 Collingwood 11.16 (82) Footscray 10.6 (66) Victoria Park 24,069 12 August 1978 North Melbourne 26.18 (174) Melbourne 8.13 (61) Arden Street Oval 9,183 12 August 1978 Geelong 14.8 (92) Essendon 13.7 (85) Kardinia Park 15,080 12 August 1978 Carlton 9.15 (69) Fitzroy 8.10 (58) VFL Park 21,410 12 August 1978

Round 20

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date Essendon 19.16 (130) Melbourne 21.10 (136) Windy Hill 11,984 19 August 1978 South Melbourne 24.11 (155) Geelong 26.11 (167) Lake Oval 15,259 19 August 1978 Footscray 9.17 (71) Fitzroy 21.13 (139) Western Oval 12,525 19 August 1978 Richmond 16.13 (109) Collingwood 19.9 (123) MCG 59,580 19 August 1978 North Melbourne 9.16 (70) Carlton 19.17 (131) Arden Street Oval 28,965 19 August 1978 St Kilda 21.13 (139) Hawthorn 12.11 (83) VFL Park 31,677 19 August 1978

Round 21

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date Melbourne 15.16 (106) South Melbourne 11.19 (85) MCG 13,488 26 August 1978 Geelong 13.8 (86) Hawthorn 13.10 (88) Kardinia Park 21,663 26 August 1978 Fitzroy 20.14 (134) Richmond 17.15 (117) Junction Oval 11,200 26 August 1978 Collingwood 22.15 (147) St Kilda 15.17 (107) Victoria Park 31,537 26 August 1978 Carlton 23.7 (145) Footscray 15.12 (102) Princes Park 22,397 26 August 1978 North Melbourne 11.11 (77) Essendon 7.9 (51) VFL Park 22,337 26 August 1978

Round 22

Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date North Melbourne 16.15 (111) South Melbourne 12.15 (87) Arden Street Oval 15,607 2 September 1978 Geelong 13.22 (100) Fitzroy 5.8 (38) Kardinia Park 22,842 2 September 1978 Hawthorn 17.16 (118) Essendon 16.13 (109) Princes Park 14,534 2 September 1978 Melbourne 19.11 (125) Collingwood 24.12 (156) MCG 40,267 2 September 1978 St Kilda 16.10 (106) Carlton 9.12 (66) Moorabbin Oval 35,850 2 September 1978 Richmond 19.20 (134) Footscray 11.15 (81) VFL Park 17,768 2 September 1978

Ladder

1978 VFL ladder
Pos Team Pld W L D PF PA PP Pts
1 North Melbourne 22 16 6 0 2407 1991 120.9 64 Finals
2 Hawthorn (P) 22 16 6 0 2496 2120 117.7 64
3 Collingwood 22 15 7 0 2347 2072 113.3 60
4 Carlton 22 14 8 0 2329 1994 116.8 56
5 Geelong 22 12 10 0 2153 2104 102.3 48
6 St Kilda 22 11 10 1 2330 2503 93.1 46
7 Richmond 22 10 11 1 2459 2389 102.9 42
8 South Melbourne 22 9 13 0 2390 2383 100.3 36
9 Fitzroy 22 8 14 0 2258 2339 96.5 32
10 Essendon 22 8 14 0 2203 2337 94.3 32
11 Footscray 22 7 15 0 2272 2508 90.6 28
12 Melbourne 22 5 17 0 2025 2929 69.1 20
Source: VFL ladder
Rules for classification: 1) points; 2) percentage; 3) number of points for.
(P) Premiers

Ladder progression

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22
 
1 North Melbourne 42 81 121 161 201 241 281 321 321 361 401 441 441 441 481 481 521 521 561 561 601 641
2 Hawthorn 41 82 122 124 129 167 204 205 244 246 285 286 287 326 365 404 443 482 523 562 602 642
3 Collingwood 44 413 414 813 1210 168 169 206 245 284 286 287 288 289 327 366 405 445 484 524 564 603
4 Carlton 010 012 410 411 411 411 811 128 168 168 207 246 284 402 402 403 442 444 446 523 563 564
5 Geelong 09 410 86 123 128 1212 1610 207 246 285 324 324 325 364 403 442 444 483 522 445 443 485
6 St Kilda 46 84 102 105 142 182 222 223 224 283 322 323 362 363 364 365 366 406 387 426 426 466
7 Richmond 43 84 85 810 814 814 1212 1610 1612 1613 1614 1615 2014 2015 2413 2812 3210 3212 369 387 387 427
8 South Melbourne 08 017 415 812 127 1210 1211 1213 1610 1612 2010 2010 2410 2410 2810 329 368 407 447 368 368 368
9 Fitzroy 07 09 011 49 88 89 810 811 811 812 2011 2011 2012 2012 2015 2413 2811 2411 2411 2810 329 329
10 Essendon 45 47 86 811 125 165 167 1611 208 2010 247 248 249 287 289 327 329 329 3210 329 3210 3210
11 Footscray 011 011 012 012 412 412 412 412 812 1210 248 285 324 325 326 328 367 2810 2810 2811 2811 2811
12 Melbourne 012 48 49 87 810 417 815 817 817 1214 1613 2012 2013 2013 2411 2810 2812 2813 1212 1612 2012 2012

Finals

Elimination final

Home team Score Away team Score Venue Crowd Date Geelong 9.18 (72) Carlton 15.15 (105) VFL Park 57,505 9 September

Qualifying final

Home team Score Away team Score Venue Crowd Date Collingwood 14.14 (98) Hawthorn 23.16 (154) MCG 79,931 9 September

Semi finals

Home team Score Away team Score Venue Crowd Date Collingwood 15.18 (108) Carlton 13.15 (93) MCG 91,933 16 September Hawthorn 12.15 (87) North Melbourne 10.13 (73) VFL Park 48,716 16 September

Preliminary final

Home team Score Away team Score Venue Crowd Date Collingwood 12.12 (84) North Melbourne 14.12 (96) VFL Park 73,354 23 September

Grand final

Main article: 1978 VFL Grand Final

Hawthorn defeated North Melbourne 18.13 (121) to 15.13 (103), in front of a crowd of 101,704 people. (For an explanation of scoring see Australian rules football).

Game Home team Home team score Away team Away team score Venue Crowd Date Grand final Hawthorn 18.13 (121) North Melbourne 15.13 (103) MCG 101,704 30 September 1978

Awards

Notes

  1. ^ The Coleman was first awarded in 1981. In 2001, the AFL announced that the Coleman Medal would be awarded retrospectively from 1955 onwards.

Notable events

See also

References

  1. ^ "History of Rule Changes". AFL Media. Retrieved 11 April 2021.
  2. ^ Lovett (2019), p. 1088
  3. ^ "All the scores". The Age. Melbourne, VIC. 2 October 1978. p. 32.

Bibliography