Published December 2020, 384 pages, ISBN 978-0-6450315-0-8
This book traces the evolution of the game in Victoria from 1858 to the present day. Starting with a chapter about the unusual 2020 season, the I then trace the development of the game from its origins in Melbourne, including the background to the 1896 VFA/VFL split and the development of the two leagues in the 20th century. I provide an overview of the history of all 18 AFL clubs – there is a separate chapter on each club which looks at selected aspects of the histories of these clubs including when they first joined the league, their team rivalries, great goalkickers, coaches & indigenous players. I have a chapter explaining how the various finals’ systems work(ed) over the league’s 124-year history, one about State of Origin and a chapter which recalls a bygone era when football was played almost exclusively on a Saturday afternoon. My book concludes with an analysis of a few of the laws of the game and investigates how today’s draft, salary cap and other equalisation efforts by the league have made for a more even competition in recent years. A few football trivia questions are included at the very end of the book.
What Readers are Saying
Through the strangest of football seasons due to Covid-19, I really enjoyed reading the articles and learning and revisiting football memories made familiar from a near lifetime of living in Melbourne. Rather like meeting an old friend, each article was a pleasure to read.Andrew Mulholland
We all love the weekly and sometimes daily drama football provides us with. What is forgotten in the ongoing AFL soap opera is the history of the game, the story behind the club we love and the clubs we hate, the background to club rivalries, who were the great players and goal kickers and how the AFL came to be what it is. Don Warner’s book fills the footy history gap. Don brings an outsider’s curiosity to his task and uncovers a history rich with political machination and larger than life characters. We highly recommend Don’s fascinating book which will help inform those daily footy dramas.John Coldham & Melinda Kemp
Don is the only person I know who could turn the weekly footy tipping email folder into a historical review of the AFL. As a foreign entrant (but one of Australia’s newest citizens), I am pleased to admit that most of what I now know about the AFL’s history comes from a fellow North American.Cindy Bors
It was exciting to read the history of the Footy (AFL) through Don’s articles every week. His knowledge on the subject combined with his style of writing made it a very interesting and informative read.Lakshmi Saripalli
Don has retraced the intricate history of football in a delightful book which brings so many memories of the great game to life.Sean Hogan