Feb 25: a significant day in the history of the VFLPA/AFLPA

In December 1973 a group of VFL footballers met at the University of Melbourne to talk about forming a players’ association. Essendon backman Geoff Pryor and Gareth Andrews, both men of the time, along with some other supporters, had been discussing the possibilities during the previous months.

That meeting resolved to have a formal meeting early in 1974. On February 25 players gathered at Power House where an association was constituted and office-bearers elected. A strategy was developed.

Why did the players feel they needed to represent themselves? What could they do? What was their intention?

This is the foundation story of the VFLPA/AFLPA:





About John Harms

JTH is a writer, publisher, speaker, historian. He is publisher and contributing editor of The Footy Almanac and footyalmanac.com.au. He has written columns and features for numerous publications. His books include Confessions of a Thirteenth Man, Memoirs of a Mug Punter, Loose Men Everywhere, Play On, The Pearl: Steve Renouf's Story and Life As I Know It (with Michelle Payne). He appears (appeared?) on ABCTV's Offsiders. He can be contacted [email protected] He is married to The Handicapper and has three school-age kids - Theo, Anna, Evie. He might not be the worst putter in the world but he's in the worst four. His ambition was to lunch for Australia but it clashed with his other ambition - to shoot his age.


  1. Malcolm Ashwood says

    A fascinating read and we all wonder where footy would be without the Players association , yes it has managed to get a great deal financially for the players ( prob too good ) but I have been bitterly disappointed in the seeming silence over the incompetence of the rules committee and the directions given and there for the umpiring to the serious detriment of the game .
    Interesting that the administrators so opposed to players having any rights are in general ex players and in crickets case how , Bradman so autocratic virtually forced the formation of , WSC and football being forced away from , Ad oval obviously brilliant batsmen as a admin he left a lot to be desired . Thanks Harmsy

  2. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    That A Hird guy appears to have been a piece of work, prepared to abuse his power without any consideration to the players under his care. Wasn’t aware of the Barry Davis / WA story.

    An important document JTH

  3. JTH
    I reckon your efforts in recording all this will become more important as time passes.

  4. Steve Hodder says

    Reading of the reaction of Hird et al made me think of Ian Chappell’s account of meeting with Don Bradman when touring Sth Africa. That meeting was a precursor for Chappelli actively recruiting for Packer’s WSC. I reckon there might have been a meeting of some kind with Bob Hawke too? Tumultuous times! onya

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