Having been through lean times since the formation of the VFL, Melbourne had gone 26 years without a premiership by the time the 1926 season rolled around. At the end of the previous year the football club had demanded greater autonomy from the MCC, and finally managed to win two representatives on the MCC committee and a committee of eight chosen by MCC members to run the football club. The only caveat to the independence was that everyone who was on the committee still had to be an MCC member.
Three of the 1925 committee - S. Church, W. Sykes and HD Westley, were defeated at election before the season. Successfully elected were H. Parkin (346 votes), G. Coulter (309), JO Smith (306), Henty Wilson (270), A. Sowden (253), F. Ince (247) and GH Watson (229). G. Haines (94) and CA Taylor (84) won the vote to be member representatives, defeating S. Hutton (46).
Despite having finished third and made a Preliminary Final the year before the Redlegs were only considered a chance for the top four rather than a genuine premiership contender but when Moyes (55), Johnson (51) and Davie (50) became the first three players from the same team to kick more than fifty goals in a season, the Demons rode their attacking power into the finals where they beat Collingwood before facing them again in the decider.
Henry Harrison, one of the founding fathers of the club, proudly watched from the stands as Melbourne captured their first premiership in more than a quarter of a century. The players celebrated by driving around the streets of Melbourne in open topped cars singing "It's A Grand Old Flag" before repairing to the Bentleigh milkbar of Hugh Dunbar to continue the celebrations.
A verse by committeeman JO Smith called "Will to Win" celebrated the Reds making the Grand Final
''There's a wonderful old player
In the Melbourne side this year
His name's not in the "Record"
But you can bet he's there
He's know as Mr. Will-to-Win
And he dominates the play
At Centre, Back or Forward
You'll find him in the fray
He's great on tear-through tactics,
And loves a willing crush.
And many a game he's won for us
With a great last-quarter rush
Sometimes this year he's been away
And sometimes he's been sick:
He's back and feeling fit and well
And says he's going to stick.
He's not to fond of birds and beasts
And when we have to play
In Tigers' lairs and Magpies' nests
He sometimes stays away
And wires to our committee
That he's got a nasty pain,
But he's made a faithful promise
That it won't occur again.
And when the finals come he says -
That he'll be at his best:
He'll give the Blues the blues again
And paralyse the rest.''
A match was played against 'Tasmania' in late July
1926 team photo courtesy of grandoldflag.net