The Melbourne Cricket Ground

melbourne cricket ground

Although the Melbourne Cricket Club members were instrumental in founding Australian Football, there were understandable concerns in the early days about the damage that might be done to the playing surface if football was allowed to be played at the ground; therefore football games were often played in the adjacent parklands.
The first documented game, played between Melbourne Grammar and Scotch College over three Saturdays beginning 7 August 1858, was played in this area.

In 1879 the first night game was played here, between Collingwood Rifles and East Melbourne Artillery.

In 1889 the Melbourne Cricket Club assumed total control of the Melbourne Football Club, moving its games from the separate ground to the MCG.

The first VFL game to be played here was on 15 May 1897, with Melbourne beating Geelong 64 to 19.

In 1902, the first VFL grand final was played here, with Collingwood defeating Essendon 60 to 27.

Opened in 1853, has a current official capacity of 100,024, making it the tenth largest stadium in the world

Despite being called the Melbourne Cricket Ground the stadium has been used much more often for Australian rules football.

Spectator numbers for football are larger than for any other sport in Australia, and it makes more money for the MCG than any of the other sports played there.

image The AFL came to an agreement that ensures at least 45 games are played at the MCG each year.

In April 2018 it was announced that ‘ The G ’ would continue to host the Grand Final until at least 2057.

The Grand Final has been played at the MCG every season since 1902, except in 1924 when no Grand Final was held because of the season's round-robin finals format; during World War II when the ground was used by the military; and in 1991, as the construction of the Great Southern Stand had temporarily reduced the ground's capacity below that of Waverley Park.
All three Grand Final Replays have been played at the MCG, in 1948, 1977, and 2010.

Before the ground was fully seated, the Grand Final could draw attendances above 110,000 (they are now typically between 95,000 and 100,000). The record for the highest attendance in the history of the sport was set in the 1970 VFL Grand Final, with 121,696 in attendance.

In the modern era, most finals games held in Melbourne have been played at the MCG. Under the current contract, ten finals (excluding the Grand Final) must be played at the MCG over a five-year period. Under previous contracts, the MCG was entitled to host at least one match in each week of the finals, which on several occasions required non-Victorian clubs to play "home" finals in Victoria.


Occupancy of the MCG is shared equally between football (April to September) and cricket (October to March), although by mutual agreement the sports’ controlling bodies may vary arrangements slightly from time to time.

The MCC has a long-term agreement with the AFL to schedule a minimum of 45 home‑and‑away matches annually, plus a minimum number of finals matches – including the grand final.


Essendon were briefly based at the MCG after relocating from Windy Hill in 1991, although administration and training were kept at Windy hill until 2013.


Richmond first proposed a move to the MCG in 1955 from Punt Road Oval when a remapping of the cities roads caused a big cut into the Punt Road Outer, and as a result it was thought the ground was unlikely to be able to host a decent crowd. The move was completed in 1960.


North Melbourne moved to the MCG in 1985 from Arden Street, while retaining training and administration at its traditional home. Its present status is somewhat nebulous, it has no contract at Docklands or the MCG, but plays all its Melbourne home games at Docklands.


Collingwood began to move to the MCG in 1994. By 1997, they were playing 9 games a year here, and by 1999, they were playing all their home games at the ground. They are presently a home team at the MCG, with the current contract requiring they play 14 games a season at the ground to make up for a loss of finals.


Hawthorn moved to the MCG in 2000 with the closure of Waverly Park. Other than games sold to Tasmania, Hawthorn remains a tenant at the MCG.


Carlton began playing blockbuster matches against the likes of Collingwood and Essendon at the MCG in the 80s and 90s, and while officially a tenant at Docklands, is contracted to play 5 games a year at the MCG.


most games played
200 Kevin Bartlett image  
193 Scott Pendlebury image  
186 Dustin Fletcher image  
169 David Neitz image  
165 Nathan Jones image  
164 Wayne Campbell image  
163 Dane Swan image  
160 Travis Cloke image image
155 Sam Mitchell image image
155 Jordan Lewis image image
153 Matthew Knights image  
152 Adem Yze image  
152 Matthew Richardson image  
152 Luke Hodge image image
152 Jack Riewoldt image  
151 Steele Sidebottom image  
most goals scored
464 Matthew Richardson richmond  
461 Matthew Lloyd image  
386 David Neitz image  
380 Wayne Carey image image
379 Kevin Bartlett image  
342 Jack Riewoldt image  
334 Lance Franklin image image
329 Saverio Rocca image image
303 Travis Cloke image image
291 Gary Ablett Sr image image
289 John Longmire image  
269 Jarryd Roughead image  
265 Michael Roach image  
258 Garry Lyon image  
242 Russell Robertson image  
242 Norm Smith image image

At the end of the home-and-away season 2019, Matthew Richardson (Richmond) holds the records for having scored the most goals on the MCG, and Kevin Bartlett (Richmond) holds the record for playing the most matches at the ground.

most goals in a game
14 1989 Gary Ablett Sr Geelong v Richmond
14 1990 John Longmire North Melb v Melbourne
14 1993 Gary Ablett Sr Geelong v Essendon
13 1999 Matthew Lloyd Essendon v Sydney
12 1992 Jason Dunstall Hawthorn v Richmond
12 1992 Jason Dunstall Hawthorn v Essendon
12 1990 John Longmire North Melb v Richmond
12 1990 Gary Ablett Sr Geelong v Richmond
12 1987 Tony Lockett St Kilda v Melbourne
12 1941 Norm Smith Melbourne v Footscray
12 1935 Ted Freyer Essendon v Melbourne
12 1933 Bob Johnson Melbourne v Hawthorn
12 1931 George Margitich Melbourne v North Melb
most disposals in a game (1965-2019)
54 2018 Tom Mitchell Hawthorn v Collingwood
53 2012 Gary Ablett Jr Gold Coast v Collingwood
51 2019 Lachie Neale Brisbane Lions v Richmond
50 2017 Tom Mitchell Hawthorn v Collingwood
49 2012 Dane Swan Collingwood v Hawthorn
48 2009 Dane Swan Collingwood v Port Adelaide
48 1981 Peter Featherby Geelong v Melbourne
48 1980 Greg Wells Melbourne v Fitzroy
46 1980 Robert Wiley Richmond v Carlton
45 2011 Dane Swan Collingwood v Essendon
45 2008 Matt Priddis West Coast v Hawthorn
45 2008 Peter Burgoyne Port Adelaide v North Melb
45 2006 Scott West Western Bulldogs v Adelaide

Two players have scored 14 goals in one match at the MCG: Gary Ablett Sr (Geelong) in 1989 and 1993, and John Longmire (North Melbourne) in 1990, who kicked a North Melbourne record of twelve goals against Richmond, which he broke twelve weeks later when he kicked fourteen goals in round 14 against Melbourne.

games at the melbourne cricket ground (1897-2019)
Team Played Won Drawn Lost
eee Essendonimage 475 269 9 197
hhh Hawthornimage 364 209 1 154
rrr Richmondimage 729 402 8 319
ggg Geelongimage 335 180 1 154
ccc Collingwoodimage 636 336 8 292
mmm Melbourneimage 1218 625 9 584
nnn North Melbourneimage 350 175 5 170
ccc Carltonimage 432 201 5 226
fff Fitzroyimage 165 72 2 91
ppp Port Adelaideimage 47 20 1 26
sss Sydneyimage 229 94 2 133
www West Coastimage 85 35 0 50
www Western Bulldogsimage 210 85 1 124
aaa Adelaideimage 73 29 1 43
sss St Kildaimage 226 84 4 138
fff Fremantleimage 53 18 0 35
bbb Brisbaneimage 52 15 1 36
ggg Gold Coastimage 14 3 0 11
ggg Greater Western Sydneyimage 18 3 0 15
bbb Brisbane Bearsimage 26 3 0 23
grand final venues (1897-2020)
1897 No grand final
1898, 1899 Junction Oval
1900 East Melbourne Cricket Ground
1901 Lake Oval, Albert Park
1902 to 1923 MCG
1924 No grand final
1925 to 1941 MCG
1942, 1943 Princes Park
1944 Junction Oval
1945 Princes Park
1946 to 1990 MCG
1991 Waverley Park
1992 to 2019 MCG
2020 The Gabba

glossary of terms

Australian Football has developed a unique and rich terminology.
This list is an alphabetical glossary of terms, jargon and slang.