The AFL, or Australian Football League, is the premier competition in the sport of Australian Rules football. Founded in 1897, it was known as the Victorian Football League and consisted of only eight teams, six of which are still in the competition today (Geelong, Essendon, Melbourne, Collingwood, St Kilda, and Carlton). The Fitzroy Bears and South Melbourne Football Club both relocated to become the Brisbane Lions and the Sydney Swans respectively. The league changed its name to the AFL in 1990 after expanding into other states, given it was originally a Victorian-based competition.
The AFL season consists of a preseason competition, known as the NAB Challenge, a regular season and a finals series. The NAB Challenge demands every team play two matches, and as of 2014, there is no Grand Final and no overall winner. The competition is generally used by coaches to see how players are travelling ahead of the regular season.
Teams play 22 games, with a bye round in the middle of the premiership season. Teams are awarded four points for a victory and two points for a draw. The top eight teams at the end of the home and away series in the premiership qualify for spots in the finals series. The Finals Series is contested over a four week period, with the two surviving teams qualifying for the AFL’s main event, the Grand Final.
Both Essendon and Carlton hold the record for the most AFL titles (16), while the Gold Coast Suns, GWS Giants and Fremantle Dockers are without premiership success.