Puneet Varma (Editor)

1988 VFL season

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Brownlow Medallist  Gerard Healy (Sydney)
Attendance  3,528,878
Teams  14
Matches played  160
Premiers  Hawthorn (7th premiership)
Minor premiers  Hawthorn (6th minor premiership)
Pre-season Cup  Hawthorn (1st Pre-season Cup win)
Highest attendance  93,754 (Grand Final, Hawthorn v Melbourne)
Coleman Medallist  Jason Dunstall (Hawthorn)
Period  April 1988 – 24 September 1988
Similar  1992 AFL season, 1993 AFL season, 1987 VFL season, 1979 VFL season, 1946 VFL season

The 1988 Victorian Football League season was the 92nd season of the elite Australian rules football competition. This season commenced in April 1988 and concluded on 24 September 1988, with Hawthorn winning their seventh Premiership in their sixth consecutive Grand Final appearance.


Night series

Hawthorn 10.10 (70) defeated Geelong 9.13 (67) in the Night Series, which for the first time was played entirely as a pre-season competition, rather than a concurrent competition to the Premiership season.

Brownlow Medal count

  • The Leigh Matthews Trophy was awarded to Gerard Healy of the Sydney Swans.
  • The Norm Smith Medal was awarded to Gary Ayres of Hawthorn.
  • Footscray won the reserves premiership. Footscray 17.14 (116) defeated North Melbourne 14.12 (96) in the Grand Final, held as a curtain-raiser to the seniors Grand Final on 24 September at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
  • Notable events

  • Three new rules aimed at encouraging a long-kicking style of play were introduced. These were:
  • The length of the 15-metre penalty for wasting an opponent's time after he takes a mark was increased to fifty metres.
  • Players were required to take a kick if awarded a free kick. If the player played on by handpass, the ball would be returned for a ball-up; the penalty for playing on was originally a free kick to the opposition, but this was commuted to a ball up after proving unpopular during pre-season trials.
  • The full-back was required to kick the ball over a distance of at least two metres when kicking in after a behind.
  • The VFL banned lace-up guernseys starting from this season after Robert Flower and Brian Wilson both suffered broken fingers when they became tangled in the laces during tackles. A handful of players had been wearing the tight-fitting guernseys which were laced up in the front in recent years.
  • Brisbane Bears played two matches in Perth during the season. At the club's suggestion, Brisbane's home match against West Coast in Round 3 was moved from Carrara Stadium on the Gold Coast to the WACA Ground in Perth after persistent and heavy rain in south-eastern Queensland left the ground and its adjoining facilities unable to accommodate the game. Brisbane had expected the clubs' Round 16 match to be moved from Perth to the Gold Coast in return, only to discover that the league considered the Round 3 match a Brisbane home game, meaning that Brisbane would be required to travel for the Round 16 match in Perth as well. The VFL later changed its rules to prevent a repeat of this situation.
  • The VFL took over the operation of the financially crippled Sydney Swans during the year until its parent company, Powerplay, could find a buyer for the franchise. The VFL bought the club for a nominal $10 on 9 May, taking on its operating costs but not its debts.
  • References

    1988 VFL season Wikipedia