In response to a query on this site, the VFA ran a lightning premiership in seasons 1972 to 1979, featuring the teams that didnt make the finals.
It was straight knock out, and started with the 2nd division. The winner of the 2nd division then joined the 3 remaining 1st division sides in the semi finals.
In 1975 Northcote became the first 2nd div side to make the grand final, and in 1978 Werribee went one better by actually winning the grand final.
Premiers were as follows:
1972 Coburg 6.2.38 d Port Melbourne 3.8.26
1973 Geelong West 8.3.51 d Preston 2.9.21
1974 Prahran 6.2.38 d Preston 3.8.26 (interestingly same score as 1972 final)
1975 Prahran 7.2.44 d Northcote 3.5.23
1976 Coburg 5.7.37 d Brunswick 1.7.13
1977 Caulfield 4.7.31 d Dandenong 4.3.27
1978 Werribee 5.2.32 d Sandringham 3.10.28
1979 Sandringham 3.5.23 d Yarraville 2.5.17 (The Eagles made the final from div 2)
1972 Box Hill 3.6.24 d Frankston 2.3.15
1973 Northcote 9.5.59 d Box Hill 3.5.23
1974 Northcote 7.3.45 d Frankston 4.3.27
1975 Northcote 6.8.44 d Mordialloc 2.4.16
1976 Camberwell 4.3.27 d Werribee 1.3.9
1977 Frankston ?? d Northcote ??
1978 Werribee 5.4.34 d Box Hill 4.3.27
1979 Yarraville 6.8.44 d Northcote 1.5.11
Some interesting facts:
The less lightning premieships games you played the better, as that meant you were actually in the real finals. Dandenongand Port Melbourne only played 3 games and Camberwell 4 games given they were always in finals.
Box Hill made the Div 2 final twice from bottom position, with 1973 impressive as they'd lost all 18 games in the regular season. In the first round they knocked out 7th placed Werribee by 7 points, then knocked out 5th placed Frankston by 7 points before losing to Northcote.
Northcote dominated div 2, but were unfortunate to finish just out of the proper finals all but one season.