After the resignation of coach Ivor Warne-Smith, Melbourne narrowed their choice for his replacement down to former South Melbourne captain/coach Paddy Scanlan, ex-Melbourne player and Seconds coach Col Deane and Richmond's Checker Hughes. Percy Page crossed from Richmond to become secretary, ensuring Hughes would get the job.
'Checker' took the risk of leaving a side he'd coached to six consecutive finals appearances, and a flag in 1932, for a side that had struggled for several years. He set about making his mark on the club, sacking 13 players and inadvertently giving the side their best-known nickname by imporing them to "lift your heads and play like demons!" during a fiery three quarter time address.
Page set about rebuilding the club's off-field fortunes. Recognising that the lack of a partisan local fanbase was a major disadvantage, the club tried to boost their support in the Prahran council area by opening a number of membership ticket outlets.
Melbourne's recruiting zone consisted of the Lonsdale, Latrobe, Gipps and Albert Wards of the City of Melbourne, as well as the City of Prahran excepting the portion bounded by Punt Road, High Street, Kooyong Road, Dandenong Road and Wellington Street.
The off-field changes didn't lead to instant success. With captain Francis Vine injured for much of the year, Melbourne only won three games and were lucky to find two sides worse than them on the ladder. A lack of tall and heavy players was blamed, and the committee resolved to target larger players before 1934. At the end of the season, the club cut veterans and experienced players Barnett, Conole, Ryan, Usher, Avery, Tyson, Robinson and Streeter.
The Seconds were again a shining light in an otherwise disappointing year, winning their third consecutive premiership until Bill Adams. The club was presented the Hartley Shield for their achievement.
Melbourne lost £1998 for the season, with £2197 pounds income against £4195 pounds expenditure.
|11||Robert C Johnson||15||62|
|Round 9||Les Jones||Striking||Not Guilty|
|Seconds Grand Final||Jack Mueller||Elbowing||Unknown|