In 1904, the VFL competition consisted of eight teams of 18 on-the-field players each, with no "reserves", although any of the 18 players who had left the playing field for any reason could later resume their place on the field at any time during the match.
Each team played each other twice in a home-and-away season of 14 rounds.
Once the 14 round home-and-away season had finished, the 1904 VFL Premiers were determined by the specific format and conventions of the amended "Argus system".
The final home-and-away match between South Melbourne and Fitzroy at the Lake Oval was a torrid affair. Billy McGee of South Melbourne and Harry Clarke of Fitzroy were each suspended for three matches, while South Melbourne's Billy Gent ran amok during the match, charging at players and was reported on three striking charges; Gent was suspended for the remainder of 1904 and all of 1905 (20 matches).
After the drawn match between Geelong and Carlton at Corio Oval on 9 July 1904, a spectator is arrested for attacking the field umpire, Henry "Ivo" Crapp.
The VFL introduces boundary umpires.
In round four, Essendon plays Melbourne in Sydney in front of only 6,000 spectators at the Sydney Cricket Ground, loses to Melbourne, takes five days to return to Melbourne by sea, then loses again to Fitzroy in their Saturday's round five match.
In the Final Premiership match Carlton was surging ahead of Fitzroy, and one of the Carlton forwards (Ross, 1996, does not name him, but it was most likely Mick Grace) took a powerful high overhead mark with his knees in his opponent's back. The field umpire, Henry "Ivo" Crapp, obeying the VFL rules of the day, paid a free kick to the Fitzroy player for "interference". Fitzroy steadied and went on to win the game. There was such an outcry after the match that the VFL immediately amended its rules to allow for what it now termed "unintentional interference".
Maplestone, M., Flying Higher: History of the Essendon Football Club 1872–1996, Essendon Football Club, (Melbourne), 1996. ISBN0-9591740-2-8
Rogers, S. & Brown, A., Every Game Ever Played: VFL/AFL Results 1897–1997 (Sixth Edition), Viking Books, (Ringwood), 1998. ISBN0-670-90809-6
Ross, J. (ed), 100 Years of Australian Football 1897–1996: The Complete Story of the AFL, All the Big Stories, All the Great Pictures, All the Champions, Every AFL Season Reported, Viking, (Ringwood), 1996. ISBN0-670-86814-0