Supriya Ghosh (Editor)

1987 VFL season

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Start date  1987
Attendance  3,411,846
Teams  14
Matches played  160
1987 VFL season httpsiytimgcomviV4bUS8z5S2shqdefaultjpg
Premiers  Carlton (15th premiership)
Minor premiers  Carlton (16th minor premiership)
Night series  Melbourne (1st Night series win)
Highest attendance  92,754 (Grand Final, Carlton v Hawthorn)
Coleman Medallist  Tony Lockett (St Kilda)
Brownlow Medallist  Tony Lockett (St Kilda) John Platten (Hawthorn)
Similar  1992 AFL season, 1993 AFL season, 1979 VFL season, 1995 AFL season, 1998 AFL season

The 1987 Victorian Football League season was the 91st season of the elite Australian rules football competition. Two new clubs joined the competition in 1987, West Coast Eagles and the Brisbane Bears.


Night Series

Melbourne defeated Essendon 8.10 (58) to 8.6 (54) in the Final at Waverley Park.

Rounds 16 and 17

Rounds 16 and 17 were played concurrently over three weekends: five matches were played on the weekends of 11 and 18 July, and four matches were played on the weekend of 25 July. This fixturing effectively gave each team one bye during the three-week period. However, the matches are still grouped into two complete rounds rather than three partial rounds, which results in a chronological anomaly in which six teams played their Round 17 matches before their Round 16 matches.

Round 16
Round 17

Leading goalkickers

Abbreviation guide: Gms=Games played in the season, Gls/Bhds=Goals and behinds kicked, Acc%=Accuracy percentage (Goals divided by Goals + Behinds multiplied by 100), GpM=Average goals per match

Brownlow Medal count

  • The Leigh Matthews Trophy was awarded to Tony Lockett of St Kilda.
  • The Norm Smith Medal was awarded to David Rhys-Jones of Carlton.
  • Carlton won the reserves premiership. Carlton 18.17 (125) defeated St Kilda 15.15 (105) in the Grand Final, held as a curtain-raiser to the seniors Grand Final on 26 September at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
  • Notable events

  • This season saw the introduction of two new interstate sides: the West Coast Eagles, based in Perth, Western Australia, and the Brisbane Bears, based in Gold Coast, Queensland. They were the first new clubs to join the league since the expansion of 1925. The clubs were admitted to the league in a meeting on 1 October 1986, with West Coast admitted by an 8–4 majority of the twelve clubs, and Brisbane admitted unanimously. The two new clubs each paid a $A4 million licence fee which was divided equally amongst the existing twelve clubs, many of whom were in desperate need of such a cash injection.
  • The Round 10 match between West Coast and Collingwood was played on the Foundation Day public holiday, which is not observed in Victoria.
  • In awful conditions in Round 13, Collingwood kicked only 2.6 (18), the lowest score by any team since 1968. Brian Taylor kicked their only goals in the first few minutes of the second quarter.
  • In three home games from Round 16 to Round 18, the Sydney Swans amassed the most prolific string of high scores in VFL history, scoring a total of 97.53 (635). Their individual scores were: 30.21 (201) against West Coast, winning by 130 points; 36.20 (236) against Essendon, winning by 163 points; and 31.12 (198) against Richmond, winning by 91 points.
  • The VFL made a loss on the Round 17 match between Fitzroy and Brisbane Bears, which drew a meagre crowd of only 5,824 to Princes Park, despite being one of only three matches in Melbourne that weekend. The league had considered rescheduling the match as the first half of a double-header with one of the other two senior matches that weekend to reduce overall operating expenses, but contracts already in place precluded double-headers from being staged.
  • Melbourne ended the third longest finals drought in league history (twenty-two seasons) by finishing fifth, making the finals for the first time since 1964.
  • The final round, Round 22, was one of the most dramatic and significant in VFL/AFL history. At the start of the round:
  • Carlton could secure top spot and a week's rest by winning
  • Hawthorn could finish on top if they beat Geelong and Carton lost to North
  • North could grab the double chance (third spot) from Sydney by beating Carlton if Sydney lost to Fitzroy
  • Any of Geelong, Footscray or Melbourne could finish fifth and make the finals.
  • As a warm-up for the round on the Friday night Richmond played the Brisbane Bears for the wooden spoon; the Bears won easily to ensure they didn't come last in their first season. The significant matches were all played on Saturday afternoon, and were all close. Geelong led by 35 points at one stage but were worn down by Hawthorn in the end, who won by 3 points; the Cats therefore missed the finals. That meant the winner of Melbourne and Footscray would finish 5th. The Demons won by 15 points to make the finals for the first time since 1964. Sydney beat Fitzroy by 8 points to ensure the double chance. Carlton's new captain Stephen Kernahan kicked a goal after the siren against North to secure top spot. The week's rest may have made a difference to the eventual result of the Grand Final, which was played on a 33-degree day.
  • In the Preliminary Final, Melbourne was leading by 4 points at the final siren, though Hawthorn's Gary Buckenara had a free kick 55 metres out. But Melbourne's Jim Stynes ran across the mark and incurred a 15 metre penalty, bringing Buckenara close enough to kick the winning goal after the siren.
  • The Under-19s Grand Final, in which North Melbourne 13.16 (94) defeated Richmond 13.11 (89), ended in controversy when the final siren was alleged to have been blown early. The timekeeper, who was independent of the clubs, was alleged to have blown the siren after only two minutes of time on; but there had been five goals kicked in the final quarter, which would usually have been expected to result in four or five minutes of time on. Richmond lodged a complaint against the timekeeper, but did not protest the result or seek a replay of the match.
  • References

    1987 VFL season Wikipedia