THE STORY SO FAR
The current competition began as the Braybrook Secondary College fantasy football comp in 1994 but the story goes back alot further than that.
The Footscray United Cricket CLub started a competition in the late 80's having learnt of the idea from The Australian Tax Office where Les Taylor and Gary Christie worked. They had a competition there and soon enough there were sufficient club members interested to start their own league.
The actual origin of the basic format is unknown but is believed to have originated in Western Australia's branch of the ATO.
In 1993 I was invited, along with Nick Gruevski, by Les Taylor to join the Footscray Utd FF Comp and accepted the invitation.
Whilst studying for my first draft I noticed no forwards had kicked 100 goals in 1992 (or if so, only just) but Tony Liberatore had upwards of 130 tackles. At that moment my strategy was determined, get Libba. Libba was duly taken with my first selection but by the time it came back to me, there was a severe lack of top forwards available.
Thankfully, for the future of this competition, luck stepped in at this point and as I collected the unreliable part time forward G.Ablett, the completely untried Tony Modra and the young kid from Collingwood called Rocca nobody knew quite how explosive they would all turn out to be.
As they kicked more than 300 between them and Libba got another 130 tackles, I went 17-1 and won the competition easily. Each Monday I would get the paper and along with Steesh, Ben and others from Braybrook we thought "how good is this".
This is where the idea to have our own competition came from and in 1994 we did just that and the competition in its present form was born.
Before this though we decided a trial run was required in the 2nd half of 1993. Without the time to arrange a draft we decided that one club's list would be all you had to pick from. Most people got the team they supported and in the end Steesh (Footscray) defeated Daniel (Geelong) in a high scoring grand final.
From the start of 1994 onwards demand increased each year, and positions were at a premium. Dean, Nicko and myelf played in both the new competition and the cricket club one whilst many new players were wanting to join.
The first change implemented for our own competition was to introduce a reserves grade enabling players to use their whole list. This worked in 94 but was replaced by a tipping comp in 95 (a sign of things to come) and was not reintroduced until 97 but has been maintained ever since.
1996 saw me head to England for the whole season (After round 1) so I picked my squad and left it with a friend for the year (after all, couldnt risk losing my own spot). Syd was the man charged with running the competition and did a fine job.
The next couple of years saw demand increase further until in 99 it was decided a second division could be introduced. This was done and with surprisingly little difficulty filled. Promotion and Relegation were introduced and worked successfully for a further 3 years.
The death of the cricket club competitions driving force, Les Taylor, in 2001 left that competition struggling. Most of its original players had left and alot of people were now in both to maintain the numbers. With demand for our competition still surging, the cricket club comp was merged in and the third division was formed incorporating some former cricket club players (some others such as Nudge Juice and Con had come across to Div 2) and some new recruits.
This continued on until 2005 when some further changes were implemented. Specifically, the introduction of a knock out cup featuring teams from all the divisions, as well as the rebirth of the tipping comp, 10 years after it was initially incprporated. This time the score wasnt just your tips though, it was odds based (see rules) and with Sash as the original winner.
Late in 2005 the competition went online, with the birth of this website, and the new logo
2006 saw the introduction of a 4th division and a new side competition called "the eliminator" and this has had sufficient support to be maintained since. The participants are now so well spread some integral members of high divisions are that far removed from the cricket club, nobody is even sure how they heard about us.
By 2011, with email well and truly taken over from calling your team through on a landline, or exchaging notes in class, web forums taken over from meetings at lunchtime to discuss rules, and even some laptops being bought to draft night, the competition that started a school boy spin off looks to have a long and distinguished future ahead.
Challenges continue to come up though every year, with 2011 onwards seeing the bye reintroduced, new teams in the AFL posing interesting challenges (unknown players, blowout games). 2013 now sees some consolidation as we wait and see what the future holds for Fantasy Football.