Author(s): Elliot Cartledge
From private ownership to drug scandals, salary caps, 'franchise' teams and media proliferation, the ascent of the AFL has been filled with drama, while some of the game's biggest stars - Lockett, Ablett, Carey, Hird, Goodes, Dangerfield and Franklin - have strutted the national stage, garnering admiration and controversy in equal measures.
With crowds falling and the competition in Victoria in disarray, desperate measures were required. Many of the original clubs faced a precarious future as the game was ruthlessly rationalised, nationalised and marketed to a new generation. As the code shook off its suburban shackles, sponsorship flooded in, old grounds were swept aside, themed rounds became the norm, Indigenous players rose in prominence and interstate clubs ruled the roost.
The AFL has become a genuine national force, with round-the-clock news and opinions, and spectators watching every move, both on and off the field. The game is now played in supersized stadia from Brisbane to Perth, Sydney to Adelaide, with Melbourne steadfastly clinging to its 'spiritual home' status.
Footy's Revolution is packed with insider tales, snapshots and first-hand accounts from coaches, players and commentators on the AFL's remarkable rise - and the controversies that accompanied it.