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1897

Coach: N/A
Captain: Ned Sutton
Finishing Position: 4th
Best and Fairest: N/A
Leading Goalkicker: Jack Leith (22)

Matches Ladder Playing List


Melbourne joined Collingwood, South Melbourne, Essendon, Fitzroy, Geelong, St Kilda and Carlton in breaking away from the VFA to form a new competition. Throughout season 1896 there had been much talk of rule changes to 'save football' as attendances fell despite the most even competition in many years.

Changes for the first season of the VFL included reducing teams to 18 players a side, introducing the "behind" as a score, allowing the push in the back and forcing players to kick the ball 10 yards for a mark. After the new push in the back rule proved disappointing on the first day of the season the league delegates met before Round 2 and reversed their stance.

Before the season began the Redlegs lost 13 of their 1896 side to other clubs, most of them following David Christy to Western Australia.

With only five of the eight teams serious finals contenders Melbourne finished third comfortably, but lost all three of their finals games to finish at the bottom of the premiership playoff ladder. Suffering from injuries they lost to Collingwood, Geelong and Essendon by 2, 9 and 6 points respectively - with the 1.8 to 0.8 margin in the last game standing forever as the lowest scoring finals match.

The Fuschias played their part in VFL history by losing to Essendon in the last sectional final and handing their opponents the premiership without the need for a playoff. Had they won Geelong would have faced Essendon in the first ever "Grand Final".

A charity exhibition match was meant to be played against Collingwood on Saturday 14 August but the game was called off due to heavy rain. The cancellation of that weekend's games allowed the league to make a late change to the way that the premiership would be decided, having a four team round robin instead of a knockout as previously planned.

Practice Match

OppositionResultScore
Combined Schools ?
Brighton WIN36-33

Premiership Season

RoundOppositionResultScore
1 South Melbourne WIN44-27
2 Geelong WIN64-19
3 Fitzroy WIN50-39
4 St. Kilda WIN76-46
5 Carlton WIN107-26
6 Collingwood WIN33-26
7 Essendon LOSS27-63
8 South Melbourne LOSS20-73
9 Geelong LOSS10-15
10 Fitzroy WIN53-26
11 St. Kilda WIN71-13
12 Carlton WIN46-18
13 Collingwood LOSS28-43
14 Essendon WIN56-39
SF1 Collingwood LOSS47-51
SF2 Geelong LOSS37-46
SF3 Essendon LOSS8-14

Ladder

WDL%P
Geelong1103184.344
Essendon1103159.044
Melbourne1004144.840
Collingwood905113.936
South Melbourne815138.134
Fitzroy419104.718
Carlton201251.28
St. Kilda001429.10

Finals Ladder

WDL%P
Essendon300177.612
Geelong201105.88
Collingwood10276.34
Melbourne00382.90

Playing List

GamesGoals
Fred Blackham 20
Tom Crawford 10
Herbert Fry 51
Stewart Geddes 72
Jack Godby 10
Charlie Goding 41
Jack Graham 21
Alf Healing 101
Maurie Herring 151
Harry Hughes 20
Edwin Jenkyn 172
George Johnstone 30
Arthur Kirk 10
Jack Leith 1726
Austin Lewis 172
Walter Lyon 10
Lew Massey 81
Jim McCoy 10
Bill McCulloch 97
Fred McGinis 1710
Norm McLeod 140
Henry Mitchell 151
George Moodie 1512
George Moysey 172
Alex Murdoch 10
Bert Robinson 132
Jimmy Russell 10
Fred Sheahan 160
Eddie Sholl 60
Wally Steele 129
Dave Strahan 120
Ned Sutton 170
John Timothee 61
Dick Wardill 11 4
Bert Watson 110
Alf Wood 162
Charlie Young 1614


Media
The Australasian - 03/10/1896
Table Talk - 30/04/1897
Oakleigh Leader - 01/05/1897
The Australasian - 22/05/1897
The Argus - 18/08/1897

Created by Supermercado. Last Modification: Saturday 20 February 2016 21:27:47 AEDT by Supermercado. (Version 30)

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