How drawn matches in the early days of footy contributed to the fabric of the AFL

Two AFL players from Richmond and Collingwood stand side by side with hands on hips after a drawn game.

Each week, 18 sides walk onto the ground with the hope of winning, and each week, a maximum of nine get to do so.

But what happens when no-one — other than football itself — wins?

In round 20 this season, Richmond and Fremantle played out a tight, thrilling game that ended with scores tied up.


After the match, Richmond coach Damien Hardwick called for the end of the draw.

“I think, to me, keep going until the next team scores,” Hardwick said.

“Look at today’s game. That would have been interesting to see that but who knows.”

Demons coach Simon Goodwin agreed.


“I like to see a result. You know, we play the game to win. I think our supporters and fans would love that as well,” he said after his side’s draw with Hawthorn last year.

But some fans don’t just tolerate the draw, they relish the sight of it. The draw is as old as the game itself, and is tightly intertwined with some of the most important moments in its history.

It’s stale, mate

It is relatively well known amongst football fans that the first game of Australian football was played between Melbourne Grammar and Scotch College in 1858. That’s a year before the rules of the sport had even been codified.

Less known is the result.

Author: Ivan Robinson