Championship of Australia
The Championship of Australia was an Australian rules football tournament which was contested between football clubs from the Victorian, South Australian, West Australian and Tasmanian football leagues. The Championship took place three times in the 19th century and then from 1907 to 1914 with the exception of 1912 and every year from 1968 to 1975. All but two of the Championships were played in Adelaide and all of them occurred after the respective league seasons had ended. The 1975 Championship of Australia was the last edition of the competition with the 1976 NFL Championship replacing the format, albeit for only one year with VFL clubs.
|Organising body||Australian National Football Council|
|Number of teams||2-4|
|Related competitions||VFL, SANFL, WAFL, TFL|
|Last champions||North Melbourne (1975)|
|Most successful club(s)||Port Adelaide (4 titles)|
The first group of Club Championships were between the Victorian Football Association and South Australian Football Association premiers while from 1907 until 1914, the final competition for 54 years, it was contested between the premiers of the VFL and SAFL. Port Adelaide were champions a record four times during this period. The inaugural Championship was a best of three game series but all future tournaments were decided by a Grand Final.
In 1968 the Championship returned under the same format but the Australian National Football Council refused to grant it official status as a team from Western Australia and Tasmania were not competing and it thus couldn't be referred to as a Championship of 'Australia'. Both state's premiers joined the tournament from 1972 onwards to make it a four club championship. For Tasmania, it was the premier of the Tasmanian State Premiership that was invited to the Championship – except in 1974, when no state premiership was held and a composite team of players from the premier clubs of the various Tasmanian leagues took part. VFL clubs won every Championship from 1968, except in 1972 when South Australia's North Adelaide Football Club upset Victoria's Carlton Football Club to win by a point.
In 1976, the National Football League abandoned the post-season Championship of Australia concept by establishing the NFL Night Series. It was contested on weekday nights concurrently with the 1976 premiership season by twelve clubs – five from the VFL, four from the SANFL and three from the WAFL – who qualified based on their 1975 positions. It is sometimes seen as a natural extension of the Championship of Australia.
Champions by year (1888–1914, 1968–75)
* During the 1890s behinds, although recorded, were not added to a team's score as whoever kicked more goals won the game. ^ 1896 championship was played in June 1897 owing to the unavailability of the Adelaide Oval in the year prior.
|Port Adelaide||4||1890, 1910, 1913, 1914|
|Richmond||3||1969, 1973, 1974|
|West Adelaide||2||1908, 1911|
- Williams, Randal. "Australian Football - the halcyon days of the sanfl". australianfootball.com. Retrieved 27 October 2016.
- "1972 Club Championship of Australia Final: North Adelaide vs. Carlton". Full Points Footy. Archived from the original on 8 June 2007.