In 1934, the VFL competition consisted of twelve teams of 18 on-the-field players each, plus one substitute player, known as the 19th man. A player could be substituted for any reason; however, once substituted, a player could not return to the field of play under any circumstances.
Teams played each other in a home-and-away season of 18 rounds; matches 12 to 18 were the "home-and-way reverse" of matches 1 to 7.
Once the 18 round home-and-away season had finished, the 1934 VFL Premiers were determined by the specific format and conventions of the Page-McIntyre System.
The seconds premiership was won by Melbourne for the fourth consecutive season. Melbourne 15.18 (108) defeated Geelong 12.4 (76) in the Grand Final, played as a curtain-raiser to the firsts Grand Final on 13 October at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Bob Pratt kicked 150 goals in the 1934 season, reaching his hundredth in only 13 matches. The feat smashed Gordon Coventry's record of 124 goals in the 1929 season, and has yet to be broken.
Gordon Coventry's second goal of the Round 5 game between Collingwood and Geelong was his 1000th career goal, making him the first player to reach that milestone.
On 11 August, the regular South Melbourne centre half-back Laurie Nash played at full-forward for Victoria for three quarters (the selected full-forward Bill Mohr had broken his finger in the first quarter) and kicked 18 goals in a single match against the SANFL at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Nash had kicked two goals from centre half-forward in the first quarter prior to Mohr's injury, then kicked two more in the second quarter, before dominating the match after half-time with another 14 goals.
As Coventry was being stretchered off the field, a vicious brawl broke out involving 20 players — requiring the assistance of team officials and the police to break it up — in which up to ten players were seriously injured.
Three Carlton players were reported: Gordon Mackie was charged with striking Syd Coventry, Harry Maskell was charged with striking Norm Le Brun, and the Carlton captain, Maurie Johnson, was charged with kicking Jack Ross.
Many of those who had attended the match were astonished that no Collingwood players had been reported for their violent behaviour during the match.
The VFL tribunal found both Maskell and Mackie guilty, and suspended each for six matches. The hearing against Mackie was postponed for a week so that Coventry could attend.
The charge against Johnson was not sustained (although the tribunal was satisfied Johnson had kicked Ross, it was not satisfied that he had kicked Ross deliberately).
Although the field umpire, Bob Scott, was fortunate to escape sanction for his widely attested incompetence, one of the goal umpires, Percy Jory, and both of the boundary umpires, John Campbell and George Calleson, were suspended for the remainder of the season for their dereliction of duty in relation to the brawl.
It is a matter of record that Dick Reynolds won the 1934 Brownlow Medal from Haydn Bunton, Sr by a single vote. Legend has it that Bunton, who had dominated in the last match of the season, tried to "suck up to" field umpire Jack McMurray as he walked off the playing field, and that Murray, sensing a blatant and improper attempt to influence his Brownlow voting, cast his votes for three other players.
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