1990 VFA Premiership Season
(12th premiership)
Minor premiersPreston
(7th minor premiership)

The 1990 Victorian Football Association season was the 109th season of the Australian rules football competition. The premiership was won by the Williamstown Football Club, after it defeated Springvale in the grand final on 30 September by two points; it was Williamstown's twelfth top-division premiership.

Association membership

Merger between Brunswick and Broadmeadows

After enduring financial difficulties consistently since the early 1980s, the future of the Brunswick Football Club was uncertain at the end of the 1989 season. Its financial position was weak, its facilities at Gillon Oval were of increasingly poor quality, and it had only 300 members.[1] At a special meeting on 2 October 1989, the club met to decide on its future, and by a large margin it decided to enter a merger with the Broadmeadows Football Club; rejected options were continuing in the VFA as a stand-alone club, folding, or merging with Sunshine.[2] Under the terms of the merger, the new club was known as the Brunswick-Broadmeadows Magpies. It remained based at Gillon Oval, as Broadmeadows did not yet have its own home ground.

The Broadmeadows Football Club, known as the Falcons, was a club at an administrative level only. Its executive committee was established in 1987, and it had the support of the Broadmeadows council to develop a new Association-standard venue at the Johnstone Street Reserve, Jacana; but in the three years it had existed, it had never fielded a team in any suburban competition, and it did not have an existing home ground. The club was built entirely around its aspirations to play in the Association, and had made an unsuccessful bid to join for the 1988 season.[3]

The Brunswick-Broadmeadows merger was not a successful venture. Its huge board, which comprised seven former Brunswick committeemen and seven former Broadmeadows committeemen, suffered throughout the year from factional fighting which limited its ability to operate effectively as a unified club. As a result, the club was unable to meaningfully address its debt problems during the year, it failed to meet its financial reporting commitments to the Association, and several committeemen and the general manager resigned from the club as a result of the board's ineffectiveness. On 1 August, the Association intervened; it sacked the club's board, and Association executive director Athol Hodgetts was appointed as the club's administrator.[4][5] Hodgetts returned the club to a new board in September, but the club was still more than $250,000 in debt and at risk of Broadmeadows withdrawing from the merger.[6] It was the beginning of the end for the club, which did not survive in the Association to the end of 1991.[7]

Sunshine Football Club

After having withdrawn is senior and reserves teams midway through the 1989 season, Sunshine intended to regroup and return to the Association in 1990. Although the club believed it had restored a financial position stronger than at least five other struggling clubs in the competition, it appeared unlikely that the club would be permitted to continue as a stand-alone entity, so it proposed a merger with Brunswick to form a new club which would have been known as the Sunshine Magpies; but, on 2 October, Brunswick voted instead to merge with Broadmeadows.[8] A new opportunity for the club's survival emerged on 3 October, when it was announced that League clubs Fitzroy and Footscray were merging, with the new Fitzroy Bulldogs club to play at Princes Park, North Carlton;[9] this temporarily made Sunshine the only League or Association football team remaining in the inner western suburbs, giving it the chance to win over former Footscray fans, or enter a partnership with a new Footscray-based Association club;[10] however, there was a strong and successful fightback campaign from local residents and businesses which not only kept Footscray as an independent League club, but also drew attention and local support away from Sunshine's efforts to consolidate its own viability. On 25 October, two days after the Fitzroy Bulldogs merger collapsed, the Association terminated Sunshine's licence.[8] The club continued preparations for the 1990 season in the hope that it could convince the Association to change its mind,[11] but this did not happen, bringing an end to Sunshine's 31-year stint in the competition.

Premiership season

In the home-and-away season, each team played eighteen games; the top five then contested the finals under the McIntyre final five system. The primary finals venue was North Port Oval, and the grand final was played at Princes Park.


1990 VFA ladder
Pos Team Pld W L D PF PA PP Pts
1 Preston 18 13 4 1 2188 1774 123.3 54
2 Springvale 18 13 5 0 2214 1828 121.1 52
3 Coburg 18 13 5 0 2105 1760 119.6 52
4 Williamstown (P) 18 12 6 0 2130 1539 138.4 48
5 Werribee 18 12 6 0 2257 1823 123.8 48
6 Dandenong 18 10 7 1 2122 1678 126.5 42
7 Frankston 18 10 8 0 2077 1988 104.5 40
8 Sandringham 18 9 9 0 2154 2200 97.9 36
9 Box Hill 18 8 10 0 2242 2142 104.7 32
10 Brunswick-Broadmeadows 18 8 10 0 1867 1856 100.6 32
11 Port Melbourne 18 8 10 0 2026 2247 90.2 32
12 Prahran 18 5 13 0 1775 2148 82.6 20
13 Oakleigh 18 4 14 0 1936 2460 78.7 16
14 Camberwell 18 0 18 0 1330 3010 44.2 0
Source: [12]
Rules for classification: 1) points; 2) percentage; 3) number of points for.
(P) Premiers


Qualifying final
Saturday, 1 September Springvale 23.19 (157) def. Coburg 12.12 (84) North Port Oval (crowd: 4,000) [13]
Elimination Final
Sunday, 2 September Williamstown 23.17 (155) def. Werribee 16.14 (110) North Port Oval (crowd: 4,523) [14]
First semi-final
Saturday, 8 September Coburg 8.12 (60) def. by Williamstown 14.21 (105) North Port Oval (crowd: 4,924) [15]
Second semi-final
Sunday, 9 September Preston 9.11 (65) def. by Springvale 24.15 (159) North Port Oval (crowd: 3,533) [15]
Preliminary Final
Sunday, 16 September Preston 15.6 (96) def. by Williamstown 23.15 (153) North Port Oval (crowd: 7,494) [16]

Grand final


The Grand Final was originally scheduled for Sunday, 23 September; this was intended to be a vacant day in the Australian Football League's finals fixture, meaning that the Association Grand Final was to be the premier football event in Melbourne on the day. However, these plans were disrupted on Saturday, 8 September, when the Australian Football League Qualifying Final between Collingwood and West Coast was drawn; it was replayed on Saturday, 15 September. As a result of the adjusted AFL finals fixture, the Association Grand Final was now scheduled to clash with the AFL Second Semi-Final. To overcome this, the Association pushed the date of the grand final back to Sunday, 30 September.[17]

Springvale was unhappy with the schedule change, because it meant that it now faced a three-week break between its Second Semi-Final victory on 9 September and the grand final on 30 September, which risking upsetting its form;[17] to try to overcome the handicap, Springvale played a practice match on 23 September against the Carlton reserves – which was also forced to endure a three-week break following adjustments made to the AFL reserves finals fixture on account of the draw in the seniors.[18] Williamstown, which qualified through the Preliminary Final on 16 September, faced a two-week break before the grand final.

Match details

The match is famous for Williamstown's final quarter come-from-behind victory. After Williamstown led by 17 points at quarter-time, Springvale dominated the second quarter to take a 19-point lead at half-time; at three-quarter time, Springvale led by 28 points, and it kicked the first goal of the final quarter to lead by 34 points. From that point, Williamstown kicked 6.6 (42) to 1.0 (6) to recover and win the game by two points. Veteran and dual-Liston Trophy winner Bill Swan kicked the winning goal for Williamstown with fifty seconds remaining;[19] Swan was not known for his long kicking, and most observers, including Swan, thought that the fifty metre set shot was well beyond his range.[20] Springvale coach Phil Maylin said after the game that he thought the three-week break had contributed to his team's slow finish.[21]

The game is considered one of the most memorable in VFA history; and in 2008, it was named as one of Australian rules football's 150 greatest moments, selected to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the sport.[22]

1990 VFA Grand Final
Sunday, 30 September Springvale def. by Williamstown Princes Park (crowd: 18,634[23]) [19]
2.5 (17)
8.11 (59)
13.15 (93)
 15.15 (105)
5.4 (34)
6.4 (40)
10.5 (65)
 16.11 (107)
Umpires: B. Bulluss, J. Russo
Norm Goss Memorial Medal: Barry Round (Williamstown)
Robinson 4, Maloni 3, Dempster 2, Dudley 2, Phillips 2, Jeffs, Maylin Goals Rickman 4, Johansen 3, Minett 3, Aziz, Gould, Muschialli, O'Connor, Smith, Swan
Meade (concussion)
Phillips (unspecified)


Notable events

Interleague matches

The Association played one interleague match, against the Australian Capital Territory, during the 1990 season. Phil Cleary (Coburg) was coach of the Association team, and Brett McTaggart (Williamstown) was captain.[26]

1990 Interleague matches
Sunday, 10 June A.C.T. 13.14 (92) def. by V.F.A. 21.11 (137) Football Park, Phillip (crowd: 5,000) [27]

Other notable events

See also


  1. ^ Amanda Buivids (11 August 1989). "Brunswick in merger talks with 'outsider'". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne, VIC. p. 75.
  2. ^ Amanda Buivids (3 October 1989). "Wicks settle on merger option". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne, VIC. p. 59.
  3. ^ Paul Cunningham (29 July 1987). "Broadmeadows in VFA entry bid". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne, VIC. p. 79.
  4. ^ Amanda Buivids (2 August 1990). "none". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne, VIC. p. 75.
  5. ^ Amanda Buivids (17 August 1990). "Combine's saga set to drag on". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne, VIC. p. 79.
  6. ^ Amanda Buivids (20 September 1990). "Club in danger of getting the boot". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne, VIC. p. 77.
  7. ^ Adrian Dunn (7 May 1991). "Death of VFA Magpies". Herald-Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne, VIC. pp. 72, 69.
  8. ^ a b Amanda Buivids (26 October 1989). "Sunshine licence terminated". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne, VIC. p. 91.
  9. ^ Tony de Bolfo; Michael Stevens (3 October 1989). "VFL clubs "to merge"". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne, VIC. pp. 1–2.
  10. ^ Amanda Buivids (5 October 1989). "Merger may help lost clubs". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne, VIC. p. 80.
  11. ^ "McGhie to coach Sunshine". Sunshine–Western Suburbs Advocate. Sunshine, VIC. 29 November 1989. p. 3.
  12. ^ Amanda Buivids (27 August 1990). "Bullants cement ladder lead". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne, VIC. p. 80.
  13. ^ Amanda Buivids (3 September 1990). "Springvale takes roar out of Lions". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne, VIC. p. 84.
  14. ^ Amanda Buivids (3 September 1990). "Tigers no match for the Gulls". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne, VIC. p. 84.
  15. ^ a b Nicholas Johnston (10 September 1990). "Big win puts Vales in Grand Final". The Age. Melbourne, VIC. p. 31.
  16. ^ Amanda Buivids (17 September 1990). "Straight shooting". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne, VIC. p. 85.
  17. ^ a b Amanda Buivids (10 September 1990). "VFA puts off Grand Final". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne, VIC. p. 72.
  18. ^ Amanda Buivids (14 September 1990). "Matchless Vales tee up Carlton". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne, VIC. p. 83.
  19. ^ a b c Amanda Buivids (1 October 1990). "Seagulls steal glory". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne, VIC. p. 77.
  20. ^ Amanda Buivids (1 October 1990). "A fairytale Swan-song". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne, VIC. p. 77.
  21. ^ Amanda Buivids (1 October 1990). "Maylin blames break". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne, VIC. p. 77.
  22. ^ "AFL's 150 greatest moments: No. 32". Herald Sun. Melbourne, VIC. 18 April 2008. Retrieved 15 December 2014.
  23. ^ Fiddian, Marc (2003), Seagulls over Williamstown, Williamstown, VIC: Williamstown Football Club, p. 151
  24. ^ Amanda Buivids (30 August 1990). "Four tie for Liston". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne, VIC. p. 79.
  25. ^ "Fothergill-Round Medallists". Sportingpulse. 29 October 2014. Retrieved 20 December 2014.
  26. ^ Amanda Buivids (9 June 1990). "Serious clash of reputations". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne, VIC. p. 91.
  27. ^ Amanda Buivids (11 June 1990). "VFA Cleary the best". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne, VIC. p. 51.
  28. ^ Sam Kekovich (1 April 1990). "VFA on fire in the 90s". The Sunday Sun. Melbourne, VIC. p. 97.
  29. ^ Amanda Buivids (25 May 1990). "Cobras, Devils in crisis". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne, VIC. p. 74.
  30. ^ Amanda Buivids (29 May 1990). "Cobras all fired up". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne, VIC. p. 53.
  31. ^ Amanda Buivids (14 July 1990). "Results leave queries". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne, VIC. p. 73.
  32. ^ "VFA's final support". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne, VIC. 6 September 1990. p. 82.
  33. ^ Marc Fiddian (26 May 1979). "Council to decide on VFA finals". The Age. Melbourne, VIC. p. 37.