This month, 100 years ago the VFL saw an oddity that is extremely unlikely to ever be seen again. Due to the ravages of World War One, a number of VFL teams were unable to field sides, and as such just four teams competed in the 1916 season.
These clubs were, Carlton, Collingwood, Fitzroy and Richmond.
As a result, the season was shortened to just 12 rounds, with each team meeting the other four times.
After the home and away matches, the ladder looked as follows:
Carlton 10 wins, 2 losses, 40 points
Collingwood 6 wins, 5 losses, 1 draw, 26 points
Richmond 5 wins, 7 losses, 20 points
Fitzroy 2 wins, 9 losses, 1 draw, 10 points
Rather than just hold a premiership decider between the top two teams in Carlton and Collingwood, rendering the previous 12 rounds as redundant, the league in its wisdom chose to hold a full finals series, involving all four sides.
As the two semi final winners, Fitzroy had earned the right to take on Carlton for the premiership, and despite trailing their more fancied opponents at three-quarter time, the Roys were completely dominant with a 4.4 to 0.2 final term, overrunning the Blues who, due to injury, played with 16 men for much of the contest.
Under the finals system at the time, Carlton as the minor premiers had the right to challenge in a virtual rematch and thus the 1916 VFL Grand Final would be held the following week on September 2 at the MCG.
With both teams undermanned and entering the game with injury concerns, Carlton was unable to take advantage of their second chance of defeating the Roys and trailed by 30 points at half time.
Given such a lead, Fitzroy were never going to surrender despite Carlton, through Charlie Fisher and Billy Dick, kicking the opening two goals of the final quarter. The Roys claimed the 1916 premiership with just their fifth win of the season in front of 21,130 fans with a 29 point, 12.13 (85) to 8.8 (56) victory.
The win by Fitzroy was its sixth VFL pennant while the Blues, premiers in each of the previous two seasons, failed in their bid for a three-peat, and would have to wait until 1938 to win their next VFL flag.
Fitzroy 4.6 8.8 10.11 12.13 (85)
Carlton 2.0 4.2 6.8 8.8 (56)
Fitzroy: Heaney 3, Parratt 3, O'Dee 2, Holden, Jenkin, Lowrie, Moore
Carlton: Dick 3, Fisher 2, Gardiner, Haughton, Lang
Fitzroy: Millen, Johnson, Shaw, Norris, Heaney
Carlton: Morris, Daykin, Brown, Dick
21,130 at the MCG.