In 1924, the VFL competition consisted of nine 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 18 rounds (i.e., 16 matches and 2 byes).
Key: P = Played, W = Won, L = Lost, D = Drawn, PF = Points for, PA = Points against
1924 Finals Series
In 1924, the VFL experimented with a round-robin finals series to determine the premiership. The format did not live up to expectations, and the VFL reverted to the "amended Argus system" format for the 1925 season.
Essendon finished on top of the finals ladder at the conclusion of the round-robin final series on the basis of its greater percentage. As Essendon had won the minor premiership, Essendon was awarded the 1924 premiership immediately. Had a different team finished atop the finals ladder, Essendon would have had the right to challenge that team to a Grand Final, consistent with the minor premiers' right to challenge under the amended Argus system.
Key: P = Played, W = Won, L = Lost, D = Drawn, PF = Points for, PA = Points against, (P) = Premiers
Because Essendon had won the minor premiership and the round-robin competition, it was awarded the premiership without the need for a Grand Final.
Round-Robin Premiership Competition Team Squads
As there was no designated "Grand Final", this also meant that there were no "Grand Final" teams in 1924;) instead there was an "Essendon Finals Squad", a "Fitzroy Finals Squad", a "Richmond Finals Squad", and a "South Melbourne Finals Squad".
Listed in alphabetical order the four squads were:
The seconds Grand Final was scratched and the premiership was awarded to Geelong after minor premiers Essendon refused to travel to Geelong for the Grand Final.
Administrator Charles Brownlow died on 23 January 1924; the Charles Brownlow Trophy, more commonly known as the "Brownlow Medal", was instituted in his memory. The trophy is to be awarded to "the fairest and best player" in the VFL as determined by the votes of the field umpire at the end of each home-and-away match. From 1924 to 1930, there was a single vote cast per match.
The VFL started fixing the schedule from 1924 to ensure that neither South Melbourne and St Kilda nor Melbourne and Richmond played home matches on the same day due to the heavy transport and labour burden associated with running the two nearby venues at the same time. This arrangement continued as long as the clubs played at nearby locations.
The Fitzroy versus Carlton match in the opening round was the first VFL match in which both teams scored 100 points.
The VFL adopts the convention of "home" teams wearing black shorts and "away" teams wearing white shorts.
Because the 1924 Premiership was determined by a round-robin system, Essendon won the premiership despite being beaten by runners-up Richmond 9.13 (67) to 6.11 (47) in the last round-robin match; this is the only time in VFL/AFL history that the premiers lost their last match of the season. Richmond would have needed to win by at least 43 points to challenge Essendon to a Grand Final.
Many of the Essendon players were unhappy at the poor performances of some of their teammates in the final round robin match against Richmond, and there were heated arguments and fist-fights in the rooms after the match and after a post-match function later that evening, related to accusations of match fixing and receiving bribes.
On the Saturday after the VFL Grand Final, Essendon (in its role as 1924 VFL Premiers) was challenged by 1924 VFA Premiers, Footscray, to a match in aid of Dame Nellie Melba's Limbless Soldiers' Appeal, purportedly (but not officially) for the championship of Victoria. Footscray unexpectedly defeated Essendon 9.10 (64) to 4.12 (36). Again there were accusations of match fixing, and champion centre half-back Tom Fitzmaurice was so disgusted with many of his teammates having, in his view, deliberately lost the match, he never played again for Essendon.
The Seconds Grand Final, to have been staged between Geelong and minor premiers Essendon on 4 October, was originally scheduled to be played at Geelong's home ground, Corio Oval, but after Essendon raised its objections, the Seconds League rescheduled the match for Kardinia Park, which was a neutral venue, but still located in Geelong. Essendon again objected, and after the league dismissed their complaint, refused to travel to Geelong. Consequently, the match was scratched and the Seconds premiership was awarded to Geelong.
^Rodgers, Stephen, Every Game Ever Played: VFL/AFL results, 1897–1991, Ringwood, VIC: Viking O'Neil, p. 158
^Since the final round-robin match between Richmond and Essendon was played between the premiers and runners-up, it is sometimes mistakenly (and anachronistically) spoken of as being a "Grand Final".
^ ab"League Seconds Final". The Argus. Melbourne. 4 October 1924. p. 32.
^ ab"Football – second eighteens". The Argus. Melbourne. 15 October 1924. p. 14.
^Stephen Rodgers (1992), Every Game Ever Played (3rd ed.), Lloyd O'Neil Pty Ltd, p. 158
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