Australia reclaims the Ashes with a 308-run victory over England on February 11. The first New South Wales Rugby League premiership began in Sydney on April 20. Lord Nolan wins the Melbourne Cup on November 3rd. On the 1908–09 Kangaroo tour of Great Britain, Australia's national rugby league squad makes ship for England. There is no Aussie team because Australia didn't have a national football team at this time.
The Australian Football League (AFL) is founded in 1958 by former St Kilda player VFL Commissioner Don Sleigh. The league begins holding regular season games during the Victorian winter (April to September), and extends into springtime NSW and SA. The final season sees North Melbourne win its only title. The club was known as the Hotham Eagles until it changed its name in 1927 after a wealthy family donated land for a new stadium. The Eagles also won their only VFA title in 1928.
In 1980, the VFL/AFL introduces a draft system, which sees all clubs allocate a certain number of picks per year to be able to recruit players from other clubs. This allows smaller clubs an opportunity to attract big names from larger schools and junior clubs.
In 1987, the Brisbane Bears name the first official AFL team to play outside Victoria. From 2008 to 2011, the Giants (New York GIANTS) were based in Sydney, but they moved back to Brisbane at the end of 2011.
The two countries first met in 1980, with England defeating Australia 2-1 at the Sydney Cricket Ground. In the 1980s and 1990s, the two sides met four times, with England winning or drawing each occasion. In 2001, Australia recorded its first win over England since 1949 by a score of 1-0 at London's Millennium Stadium.
Australia and England have been traditional rivals, with both nations joining the European Union in 1973. However, they last met during the 2010 World Cup group stage when England defeated Australia 3-1 at South Africa. Prior to this match, the last time these two countries had played was at a 1948 Olympic tournament event where Australia lost 0-4 to England.
There has been some talk about adding Australia to UEFA's list of "associated countries" which would grant them entry into certain competitions. However, there is no indication that this will happen anytime soon.
England's highest undefeated victory margin in an Ashes series was 3-0 in 1886, 1977, and 2013. Both England and Australia have held the Ashes for an unprecedented eight consecutive series, with England doing so between 1882-83 and 1890, and Australia doing so from 1989 to 2002-03. England won the most recent series 3-1.
Australia last retained the Ashes in 2003 - England had not lost a series since 2001. It was the first time that England had been defeated in their home country by an Australian team since 1968 (the year of England's last world title).
The 2003-04 series was played over five matches, with each side using 1B bats produced by W.D. & H.O. Wills. The final match at The Oval saw Michael Vaughan's men clinch the three-match series 4-1. Andrew Strauss's side went on to beat New Zealand in the 2005 World Cup final to claim its second world title. The Australians came back from 0-3 down in the series to win four matches straight.
After losing the urn last time out in 2007, Australia regained it in 2009 after winning the 2008-09 series 4-1. The 2013-14 series was also decided by an identical 4-1 scoreline. With this record, Australia is likely to continue retaining the urn for some time to come.