A brief history

The National Soccer League was Australia's first domestic national league competition, introduced in 1977 as the Phillips Soccer League with fourteen clubs from New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and the nation's capital. The competition expanded to sixteen teams over the next few seasons, but remained the same for the most part, with a traditional first-past-the-post system earning the club that finished at the top of the table the coveted prize of National Soccer League champion. Waning attendances and the escalating costs associated with travelling interstate witnessed a significant change in 1984, with the league expanding to 24 teams and two conferences, with finals series in each conference and a two-legged Grand Final used to determine the NSL champion.

It proved to be a short-lived experiment as the conference model was binned in 1987, but the league took on a familiar look, with teams from New South Wales and Victoria dominating the makeup of the competition. The biggest change in Australian football since the NSL's inception would follow in 1989, with a move to a summer season, avoiding the inevitable clash with Australian Rules football in the southern states and the rugby codes north of the Murray. The injection of new clubs from across the country breathed new life into the competition at times, but while some experienced success, others fell by the wayside in an all too familiar tale.

Flagging attendances, crippling finances and the absence of a supportive commercial broadcast partner ultimately witnessed the league's demise in 2004, with the National Soccer League wound-up amid a host of changes emanating from the Crawford report. The demise of the NSL witnessed the birth of the A-League, albeit with a host of new clubs aimed at cornering a broader market. More on that competition can be found in the equivalent A-League archive.

Summer Seasons
 
2003-2004 | Results | Table | Top Scorers | Squads
2002-2003 | Results | Table | Top Scorers | Squads
2001-2002 | Results | Table | Top Scorers | Squads
2000-2001 | Results | Table | Top Scorers | Squads
1999-2000 | Results | Table | Top Scorers | Squads
1998-1999 | Results | Table | Top Scorers | Squads
1997-1998 | Results | Table | Top Scorers | Squads
1996-1997 | Results | Table | Top Scorers | Squads | Cup Results
1995-1996 | Results | Table | Top Scorers | Squads | Cup Results
1994-1995 | Results | Table | Top Scorers | Squads | Cup Results
1993-1994 | Results | Table | Top Scorers | Squads | Cup Results
1992-1993 | Results | Table | Top Scorers | Squads | Cup Results
1991-1992 | Results | Table | Top Scorers | Squads | Cup Results
1990-1991 | Results | Table | Top Scorers | Squads | Cup Results
1989-1990 | Results | Table | Top Scorers | Squads | Cup Results
 
Winter Seasons
 
1989 | Results | Table | Top Scorers | Squads | Cup Results
1988 | Results | Table | Top Scorers | Squads | Cup Results
1987 | Results | Table | Top Scorers | Squads | Cup Results
1986 | Results | Table | Top Scorers | Squads | Cup Results
1985 | Results | Table | Top Scorers | Squads | Cup Results
1984 | Results | Table | Top Scorers | Squads | Cup Results
1983 | Results | Table | Top Scorers | Squads | Cup Results
1982 | Results | Table | Top Scorers | Squads | Cup Results
1981 | Results | Table | Top Scorers | Squads | Cup Results
1980 | Results | Table | Top Scorers | Squads | Cup Results
1979 | Results | Table | Top Scorers | Squads | Cup Results
1978 | Results | Table | Top Scorers | Squads | Cup Results
1977 | Results | Table | Top Scorers | Squads | Cup Results
 
Summary | Champions and Premiers | Cup Winners | Individual Award Winners

 

 

 

 

 

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This page was last updated on April 18, 2022