- 1956 VFL season
Infobox VFL Premiership Season
year = 1956
teams = 12
premiers = AFL Mel
minor premiers = AFL Mel
top goal scorer =
Bill Young(AFL StK)
brownlow medalist =
Peter Box(AFL Foo)
Results and statistics for the
VFL/AFLseason of 1956.
1956 Summer Olympics
From 22 November to 8 December, the
1956 Summer Olympicswere to be held in Melbourne, with a re-configured Melbourne Cricket Groundas its Main Stadium.
The need to accommodate this fact brought certain unusual changes to the 1956 VFL home-and-away season:
* Given VFL requirement that its Grand Final must be held at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the 1956 Grand Final had to be brought forward to 15 September in order to allow sufficient time for the MCG pre-Olympic reconfiguration.
* Given the VFL additional requirement of an 18 match home-and-away season, an earlier Grand Final also demanded an earlier start to the season.
* Due to the time constraints of the demolition of the old Grandstand and the construction of the new Northern (Olympic) Stand, the reconstructed and refurbished Melbourne Cricket Ground would not be available to Melbourne for its home matches until 12 May 1956.
It was a well-established VFL practice to treat the Melbourne-Richmond and South Melbourne-St Kilda team pairs in a particular way: at no time would a pair of teams play a home game on the same day. This was done for:
* Casual staffing reasons: the ground managements of the Melbourne Cricket Ground and Richmond Cricket Ground (
Punt Road Oval), and those of the South Melbourne Cricket Ground ( Lake Oval) and St Kilda Cricket Ground ( Junction Oval) drew on the same local casual labour pool.
* Transport reasons: the grounds of each pair were served by the same tram, bus, and train routes.
The fact that Melbourne could not use the Melbourne Cricket Ground before 12 May (round 5), and that Melbourne would therefore have 4 "away" matches in rounds 1-4 was demonstrably unfair to the other 11 teams, because Melbourne would then have 4 "home" matches in rounds 12-15 (closer to the "business end" of the season). It would be even more unjust to its "paired" team Richmond, who would be forced to play 4 "home" matches in rounds 1-4 and 4 "away" matches in rounds 12-15. To overcome this perceived anomaly in the best possible way, the VFL designated Melbourne's round 4 match against Fitzroy as a Melbourne "home" match and scheduled it to be played at the
Punt Road Oval.
In order, to accommodate all these extraordinary issues, the VFL eventually determined that Melbournewould play their nine home and nine away matches as follows: (1) Away, (2) Away, (3) Away, (4) Home (Punt Road), (5) Home (MCG), (6) Away, (7) Home (MCG), (8) Away, (9) Home (MCG), (10) Home (MCG), (11) Away, (12) Home (MCG), (13) Home (MCG), (14) Home (MCG), (15) Away, (16) Away, (17) Home (MCG), (18) Away.
All of the other 11 teams' 1956 seasons were scheduled to accommodate Melbourne's extraordinary situation.
In 1956, 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 1956 VFL "Premiers" were determined by the specific format and conventions of the "Page-McIntyre system".
* The 1956 VFL Premiership team was Melbourne.
* The VFL's leading goalkicker was Bill Young of St Kilda who kicked 56 goals (in 16 games).
* The winner of the 1956
Brownlow Medalwas Peter Boxof Footscray with 22 votes.
* North Melbourne took the "wooden spoon" in 1956.
* The VFL introduced a "Night Premiership", played between teams that finished outside the final four. The seven elimination matches were played under lights at the
Lake Oval. The matches were renowned for their violence both on and off the field. In 1956 Melbourne, with its "Six o'clock closing" the opportunity of having somewhere to have a drink after six o'clock, made these matches very attractive, and the seven matches were attended by an average of 20,000+ patrons, who were far from bothered that the somewhat dim lighting meant that most of the spectators standing on the terraces along the Albert Road side could not always clearly see what was happening on the other side of the ground over at the Lake outer wing (all the way from the back flank at the bowling club to the forward pocket in front of the scoreboard). On occasion the fights amongst the spectators were so fierce that the players stopped to watch. There was also much violence on the field, with players soon learning that keeping to the well-lit parts of the ground offered considerable protection.
* In winning the Grand Final, Melbourne creates a record by having defeated the same opponent (Collingwood) four times in a single senior VFL season.
* The official Grand Final attendance of 115,802, based on gate entrance sales (it had been anticipated that it would be a very close and hard-fought match), breaks VFL records. The
Melbourne Cricket Groundwas so packed that spectators sat between the fence and the boundary line. The gates were closed for safety. During the third quarter the crowd milling outside the MCG broke a perimeter fence and an estimated additional 15,000 people poured into the MCG; this crowd, estimated at 130,000, for an Australian sporting event, stands as a record still in 2008. Next year (in 1957), the ticket sales were first used for the final series to prevent overcrowding.
* The 1956 season was somewhat disrupted by the
1956 Summer Olympics(see above).
* Inspired by the imminent Olympic Games, the VFl decides to inaugurate a public
Brownlow Medalpresentation ceremony to be held at the First Semi-Final.
* Essendon Third Eighteen footballer and junior champion athlete
Ron Clarke, son of 1931 Essendon Best and Fairest Tom Clarke , and brother of Essendon champion Jack Clarke, lit the Olympic Flamein the 1956 Olympics' opening ceremony.
* Australian Rules Football was a
demonstration sportat the 1956 Olympics: on Friday 7 December 1956, as a curtain raiser to the soccer match to decide third and fourth places between Bulgaria and India at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, a combined team of amateur players from the VFA and VFL played a demonstration match of Australian Rules Football against a team of Victorian Amateur Football Associationplayers in front of an audience of 21,236.
1956 Summer Olympics
Melbourne Cricket Ground
* Maplestone, M., "Flying Higher: History of the Essendon Football Club 1872-1996", Essendon Football Club, (Melbourne), 1996. ISBN 0-959-17402-8
* Rogers, S. & Brown, A., "Every Game Ever Played: VFL/AFL Results 1897-1997 (Sixth Edition)", Viking Books, (Ringwood), 1998. ISBN 0-670-90809-6
* Ross, J. (ed), "100 Years of Australian Football 1897-1996: The Complete Story of the AFL, All the Big Stories, All the Great Pictures, All the Champions, Every AFL Season Reported", Viking, (Ringwood), 1996. ISBN 0-670-86814-0
* [http://stats.rleague.com/afl/seas/1956.html 1956 Season - AFL Tables]
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