Having won three premierships in a row the Demons voted against continuing the competition during the war during the off-season.
The motion was rejected by other VFL clubs and the Demons continued, not without some suggestion that they might go it alone by pulling out due to a lack of available players. Geelong pulled out of the competition due to wartime travel restrictions and the league went on with 11 teams. There was even talk of a wartime amalgamation with Collingwood, before each side discovered they were better off for players than they had originally thought.
Not surprisingly in the circumstances crowds across the league tumbled. Despite being defending premiers, Melbourne had been hit harder by the war than any other club. Not only had they lost players to military service by both master secretary Percy Page and coach Checker Hughes had moved on.
Thrust into the coaching job Percy Beames presided over a side which had 18 of the 36 who played the year before unavailable, and many of those who were couldn't play every week.
The Demons had even been thrown off the MCG by the US Army. They moved across Yarra Park to Punt Road for matches, and to Albert Park for training and considering the circumstances, especially after losing their first three matches, it was a major achievement for the Demons to finish 8th.
Clubs received four points for the bye, and due to the unbalanced nature of the competition Footscray, Carlton, St Kilda, North Melbourne and Collingwood all had two byes whereas the other clubs only had one each.
|17||Allan La Fontaine||12||5|
|Round 1||Norm Smith||Jostling||Not Guilty|
|Round 3||Jack O'Keefe||Elbowing||Not Guilty|
|Round 12||Les Gibbs||Striking||Not Guilty|
All Seconds teams other than Richmond, Fitzroy and Carlton had two byes.
Some sources suggest Melbourne trained on Punt Road on Monday and Wednesday rather than the Albert Ground.
Membership image courtesy of grandoldflag.net