|1982 VFA Premiership Season|
(4th minor premiership)
(2nd D2 premiership)
(2nd D2 minor premiership)
The 1982 Victorian Football Association season was the 101st season of the top division of the Australian rules football competition, and the 22nd season of second division competition. It was the first season of a restructured two-division competition, in which automatic promotion and relegation between the divisions was abandoned.
The Division 1 premiership was won by the Port Melbourne Football Club, after it defeated Preston in the Grand Final on 19 September by seven points; it was Port Melbourne's 15th Division 1 premiership, the third of three premierships won in a row between 1980 and 1982, and the last of six premierships won in nine seasons from 1974 until 1982. The Division 2 premiership was won by Northcote; it was the club's second Division 2 premiership, and it was the last premiership ever won by the club.
In the late 1970s, the popularity and financial viability of the Association was in decline. One factor contributing to this came about as a result of the promotion and relegation system which existed between the two divisions: this system, which had been in place since 1961, saw promotion for the Division 2 premiers and relegation for the Division 1 wooden-spooners at the end of each season, giving a fair opportunity for promotion and relegation based on on-field performance; but, the automatic nature of this promotion and relegation meant that no consideration was given to the off-field strength of the club, which was the most critical factor in determining a club's viability. By the late 1970s, there was a growing off-field gap between the strongest and weakest clubs, and the fickle correlation between off-field strength and on-field finishing positions meant that some strong clubs were stuck in Division 2 and some weak clubs were holding their places in Division 1. This had a wide range of consequences detrimental to the Association as a whole.
The conclusion was that the Association would be more viable if the clubs which made up Division 1 were selected based on off-field merit and viability, rather than on-field results. A new structure, which was first proposed in September 1980 under Alex Gillon's presidency, was ratified in May 1981 under Alan Wickes' presidency by a margin of 19–4, well in excess of the three-quarters majority required. Under the new structure:
The Association also encouraged a number of its weaker clubs to consider amalgamating with neighbouring clubs to improve long-term viability, although it stopped short of forcing amalgamations. As many as fourteen of the Association's twenty clubs were sent letters on the matter of amalgamation during 1981 – Prahran and Caulfield, Box Hill and Camberwell, and Oakleigh and Waverley were amongst the pairs of clubs known to have been approached – but no amalgamations resulted.
The composition of the new Division 1 was announced on 7 September 1981, the day after the 1981 Division 2 Grand Final. Four Division 2 clubs were promoted to the expanded Division 1 in 1982:
The changes also helped to spread Division 1 more evenly across Melbourne: Werribee and Williamstown were the first western suburban clubs in Division 1 since 1977, and Waverley's inclusion provided more representation to the sprawling south-eastern suburbs.
Two Division 1 clubs were relegated for 1982:
Two other clubs who were considered for relegation but held their places were: Geelong West, who had gone through but recovered from a severe financial crisis in 1980–81; and Coburg, who, like Brunswick, was suffering from a low fanbase due to demographic shifts in its locality.
Two new clubs joined Division 2 for the 1982 season. These were the first new admissions to the Association since Frankston joined in 1966. The new clubs were:
Altogether, seven clubs applied to join, although the identities of the unsuccessful candidates were never formally revealed. North Ballarat, Ringwood and Greensborough were among the clubs speculated to have applied.
The two new clubs brought the total size of the Association to twenty-two clubs, a new record. Division 1 was expanded to twelve clubs, and Division 2 remained constant at ten clubs.
Although Division 1 expanded from ten clubs to twelve clubs, the home-and-away season continued to be played over 18 rounds, rather than being expanded to 22 rounds. This meant that not all pairs of teams played both home and away against each other. The top four then contested the finals under the Page–McIntyre system. The finals were played at the Junction Oval.
|3||Port Melbourne (P)||18||13||5||0||2861||2111||135.5||52|
|Sunday, 29 August||Port Melbourne 25.20 (170)||def.||Geelong West 16.12 (108)||Junction Oval (crowd: 6,469)|||
|Sunday, 5 September||Preston 17.18 (120)||def.||Coburg 10.12 (72)||Junction Oval (crowd: 8,176)|||
|Sunday, 12 September||Coburg 18.8 (116)||def. by||Port Melbourne 19.22 (136)||Junction Oval (crowd: 8,452)|||
|1982 VFA Division 1 Grand Final|
|Sunday, 19 September||Preston||def. by||Port Melbourne||Junction Oval (crowd: 20,732)|||
|Umpires: Ogston, Vergona|
|Halas 5, Boden 2, Dintinosante 2, McGaw 2, Ohlsen 2, Shaw 2, Vann 2, Austen, McCann, Towan||Goals||Anderson 5, Cook 5, Davies 2, Ebeyer 2, Kavanagh 2, Evans, Rodda, Swan, Tantsis, Wilkinson|
The Division 2 home-and-away season was played over eighteen rounds; the top four then contested the finals under the Page–McIntyre system; all finals were played on Sundays at Toorak Park.
|Sunday, 22 August||Caulfield 27.14 (176)||def.||Brunswick 15.9 (99)||Toorak Park (crowd: 1,400)|||
|Sunday, 29 August||Oakleigh 23.9 (147)||def. by||Northcote 25.20 (170)||Toorak Park (crowd: 3,500)|||
|Sunday, 5 September||Oakleigh 21.13 (139)||def. by||Caulfield 25.15 (165)||Toorak Park (crowd: 3,700)|||
|1982 VFA Division 2 Grand Final|
|Sunday, 12 September||Northcote||def.||Caulfield||Toorak Park (crowd: 6,000)|||
|Umpires: Quinn, Fitzpatrick|
|Jurgenstein 4, Hepburn 3, Jim Christou 2, Dilorio, Minnitt, Smith||Goals||McClennan 3, Guileri 2, Hocking 2, Booth, Lennon, Morrison, Stewart|
The Association's Division 1 and Division 2 teams each played two interleague matches during the season, including the Association's first ever matches against the Victorian Amateur Football Association. Fred Cook (Port Melbourne) captained the Division 1 team and Gary Brice (Port Melbourne) was coach; Jim Christou (Northcote) captained Division 2 against the S.A.F.A., and Russ Hodges (Kilsyth) captained Division 2 against the V.A.F.A. after Christou was unavailable through injury.
|1982 Interleague Matches|
|Sunday, 30 May (C-R)||V.F.A. Second Division 13.24 (102)||def. by||S.A.F.A. 18.18 (126)||Beach Oval (crowd: 3,258)|||
|Sunday, 30 May||V.F.A. First Division 27.33 (195)||def.||G.N.F.L. 9.9 (63)||Beach Oval (crowd: 3,258)|||
|Sunday, 13 June (C-R)||V.F.A. Second Division 20.13 (133)||def.||V.A.F.A. Second XVIII 10.12 (72)||Beach Oval (crowd: 5,548)|||
|Sunday, 13 June||V.F.A. First Division 19.17 (131)||def. by||V.A.F.A. First XVIII 23.13 (151)||Beach Oval (crowd: 5,548)|||