The Australian Football League has developed its system of gameplay and structure with changing management and sponsors to create an efficient and fair set of laws. The premiership is sought after by 18 different clubs from five states within Australia. The league was founded in 1897 under the title “Victorian Football League”, and only contained eight teams within the state of Victoria. As the game became more popular nationwide, expansions began, and other states produced teams worthy of the competition.
The AFL Premiership season is also known as the “home-and-away” season, where clubs travel around the country to visit their opposing team states and towns in 23 rounds. This currently begins at the end of March and finishes in early September, just before the finals series. During the premiership season, each team participates in 22 matches and has one “bye”, which is essentially a missed game for scheduling purposes.
Four premiership points are given for a win, and two points for a draw. At the end of the season, all points are tallied, and the ladder finishing positions are determined by the number of premiership points received. In the event of a tie, a “percentage” is calculated in order to ascertain the worthy club, and this is the ratio of points won to the points conceded over the entire season. The top eight teams on the ladder continue to the four-week-long finals series.
Between 1988 and 2013, a pre-season competition was also undertaken to precede the premiership season. Its purpose was to accomplish a sort of warm-up for the upcoming season but also was regarded as its own competition. Generally, it was held as a month-long tournament with a knockout structure but was adjusted to be used mainly as a test for rule changes in 2011, and then abandoned in 2014 and replaced with a set of practice matches called the Marsh Community Series.