The association soon lost eight of their teams to the newly formed powerhouse competition, the VFL. the VFA soon bought their list of teams back to 10, but clubs struggled to remain in the competition due to financial reasons. Clubs continued to leave the VFA in a bid to join the VFL, with Richmond leaving in 1908 and North Melbourne, Hawthorn and Footscray leaving in 1925.
The VFA soon thrived and built it's way up to 18, and soon 24 teams, playing a two tiered competition where the top from the second tier would take the place of the bottom team in the first team and vice versa.
The expansion of the VFL affected the VFA by taking the teams with the most fans and influence in the league and leaving the VFA with smaller, less known and less succesful teams in areas with low populations.