- 1944 VFL season
Infobox VFL Premiership Season
year = 1944
imagesize = 120px
caption = Premiership player
teams = 12
premiers = AFL Fit
count = 8th
minor premiers = AFL Ric
mpcount = 5th
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.
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 Ovalwere now available to the VFL, the Melbourne Cricket Groundand the Lake Oval were still appropriated for military use and, because of this, Melbourne were sharing the Punt Road Ovalwith Richmond as their home ground, and South Melbourne were sharing the Junction Ovalwith 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".
List of Australian Football League premiersfor a complete list."
* The 1944 VFL Premiership team was Fitzroy.
* The VFL's leading goalkicker was
Fred Fanningof Melbourne with 87 goals.
* "The Argus" newspaper's "Player of the Year",
Norm Smithof Melbourne, was declared 1944 Champion of the Season.
Brownlow Medalwas awarded in 1944.
* Geelong took the "wooden spoon" in 1944.
* Geelong resumes its place in the VFL competition; however, its home games are now played at Kardinia Park, rather than
* 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 Cookplay 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 relegationoutright. The eventually talks fail.
* Richmond's centreman
Jack Broadstockwas 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 Dyketold 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
* [http://stats.rleague.com/afl/seas/1944.html 1944 Season - AFL Tables]
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