1944 VFL season

1944 VFL season

Infobox VFL Premiership Season
year = 1944

imagesize = 120px
caption = Premiership player Allan Ruthven
teams = 12
premiers = AFL Fit
count = 8th
minor premiers = AFL Ric
mpcount = 5th
matches =
top goal scorer = Fred Fanning (AFL Mel)
brownlow medalist =

Results and statistics for the Victorian Football League season of 1944.

Influence of World War II

The wartime travel restrictions that had forced Geelong into recess the previous 2 years were relaxed, and Geelong rejoined the competition.

Premiership season

In 1944, with Geelong competing again, the VFL competition once again consisted of twelve teams of 18 on-the-field players each, plus one substitute player, known as the 19th 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; and, as had been the case in 1926 and 1927, matches 12 to 18 were "irregular", with 12 to 17 being the "home-and-way reverse" of matches 1 to 6, and match 18 the "home-and-way reverse" of match 11.

The determination of the 1944 season's fixtures were greatly complicated by the fact that, although the Western Oval and the Junction Oval were now available to the VFL, the Melbourne Cricket Ground and the Lake Oval were still appropriated for military use and, because of this, Melbourne were sharing the Punt Road Oval with Richmond as their home ground, and South Melbourne were sharing the Junction Oval with St Kilda as their home ground.

Once the 18 round home-and-away season had finished, the 1944 VFL "Premiers" were determined by the specific format and conventions of the "Page-McIntyre system".

Round 1

Round 2

Round 3

Round 4

Round 5

Round 6

Round 7

Round 8

Round 9

Round 10

Round 11

Round 12

Round 13

Round 14

Round 15

Round 16

Round 17

Round 18

Grand Final

"See List of Australian Football League premiers for a complete list."

Fitzroy defeated Richmond 9.12 (66) to 7.9 (51), in front of a crowd of 43,000 people. (For an explanation of scoring see Australian rules football).



* The 1944 VFL Premiership team was Fitzroy.
* The VFL's leading goalkicker was Fred Fanning of Melbourne with 87 goals.
* "The Argus" newspaper's "Player of the Year", Norm Smith of Melbourne, was declared 1944 Champion of the Season.
* No Brownlow Medal was awarded in 1944.
* Geelong took the "wooden spoon" in 1944.

Notable Events

* Geelong resumes its place in the VFL competition; however, its home games are now played at Kardinia Park, rather than Corio Oval.
* Although the lifting of wartime rail and road transport restrictions removed one impediment to Geelong's immediate return to the VFL competition — the club's committee had paid the ₤100 annual affiliation fees to the VFL in 1942 and 1943 out of their own pockets in order to keep Geelong "in the game" — the VFL claimed that Geelong Football Club owed the VFL ₤1,000 and that it would not consider its application for readmission until the debt was repaid. The amount was raised amongst the committeemen and supporters. After an extended and heated meeting, with matters such as the extra costs to each of the other eleven teams associated with their travel to Geelong and, especially, Geelong's perceived lack of competitiveness due to its depleted playing list (the reality of this concern is attested by the fact that Geelong only won 7 of its 54 games in seasons 1944, 1945, and 1946) influencing the VFL delegates, a majority (but not a unanimous majority) of the delegates voted in favour of Geelong's readmission.
* In round 1, the Richmond half-back flank and utility players, identical twins Fred Cook and Keith Cook play their first senior matches. Jack Dyer found their similarity so confusing that he made them wear different coloured guernseys at pre-season training. In his defence, Dyer claimed "They get me all up-ended. I said to one 'Is it you or your brother who isn't here?'." (Ross, 1996, p.171).
* The late arrival of the train from Melbourne delays the start of Geelong's first 1944 home match for more than an hour.
* The VFA and the VFL actively discuss the prospects of merging the two competitions. Whilst there is groundswell support for a common set of rules, playing conditions, and final series, the VFL's constituent clubs (i.e., rather than the VFL itself) reject any suggestion of promotion and relegation outright. The eventually talks fail.
* Richmond's centreman Jack Broadstock was reported for having "kicked or intended to kick" Fitzroy's half-forward flanker Noel Price in the Second Semi-Final. He was suspended for eight weeks. The Richmond First Eighteen were so incensed at Broadstock's suspension that they decided to boycott the Preliminary Final match against Essendon and forfeit the match. It was only after Richmond President Harry Dyke told them that he would field the Second Eighteen rather than forfeit the game, the senior players agreed to play.
**In the first quarter of the Preliminary Final, Richmond scored 8.2 (50) to Essendon's 0.5 (5).


* Hogan, P., "The Tigers Of Old", The Richmond Football Club, (Richmond), 1996. ISBN 0-646-18748-1
* 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

External links

* [http://stats.rleague.com/afl/seas/1944.html 1944 Season - AFL Tables]

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