Although the league was still called the VFL until the start of the 1990 season, the 2005 season was the unofficial 19th AFL season as the league expanded from 12 clubs to 14 clubs in 1987.
The new clubs were West Coast Eagles and Brisbane Bears. In 1991 Adelaide Crows joined followed by Fremantle Dockers in 1995.
1997 was the start of a new era of the AFL. Footscray changed its name to Western Bulldogs. Brisbane Bears and Fitzroy Lions merged to become Brisbane Lions. And Port Adelaide Power joined retaining the league with 16 clubs.
In this new era of the AFL, three interstate clubs - Adelaide, West Coast Eagles, Sydney Swans - were the top clubs for the season.
- Former Sydney Swans coach, Rodney Eade was appointed coach at West Bulldogs.
- Former Western Bulldogs coach, Terry Wallace was appointed coach at Richmond.
- Alastair Clarkson is appointed as coach at Hawthorn.
Carlton only played one match at Princes Park with 6 of its home matches played at Docklands Stadium.
Adelaide climbed 11 places to win the minor premiers. Whilst last season Grand Finalist, Brisbane Lions fell 9 places to 11th.
Sydney Swans finishing third on the ladder won their 1st AFL Premiership. Sydney Swans losing its Qualifying Final had to play 4 final series matches to win the title. West Coast Eagles who finished second played them in the Grand Final. Adelaide were minor premiers. Whilst Carlton won the wooden spoon.
Fraser Gehrig of St Kilda won the Coleman Medal for the leading goalscorer for the second season in a row. Ben Cousins of West Coast Eagles won the Brownlow Medal.
|Elimination Final||Port Adelaide||Preliminary Final|
|8||Port Adelaide||St Kilda|
|5||North Melbourne||Sydney Swans||Grand Final|
|Elimination Final||Preliminary Final||West Coast Eagles|
|6||Geelong||Semi Final||West Coast Eagles|
|Qualifying Final||Sydney Swans|
|2||West Coast Eagles|