Coach: Ron Barassi
Captain: Robert Flower
Finishing Position: 8th
Best and Fairest: Alan Johnson
Leading Goalkicker: Robert Flower (40)
Best First Year Player: Russell Richards
Major Sponsor: Mayne Nickless
|Matches||Ladder||Playing List||Best and Fairest||Reserves||Under 19's|
After years of failure Melbourne found the money for a pair of big-name recruits to join Ron Barassi's side. Peter Moore came easily from Collingwood, but Kelvin Templeton required a trip to the newly formed VFL Appeals Board to win his clearance from Footscray. The Demons were believed to have paid $150,000 for his services. Both players had issued writs in the Supreme Court to win their freedom but Collingwood let their player go far easier than the Bulldogs who fought tooth and nail to retain Templeton even after two injury prone seasons.
The Demons paid $270,000 for Templeton and Moore and got Rodney Wright from North Melbourne in a straight swap for Andrew Moir. Despite speculation that Greg Wells might return the midfielder stayed at Carlton. Despite kicking 152 goals in two seasons Mark Jackson transferred to St Kilda for just $40,000.
Barassi laid down the law to his players in a pre-season memo. In part it said "Some footballers think that because they play VFL football the world owes them a living. This attitude is totally unrealistic because, for example, at least half the city of Melbourne couldn't give a damn about VFL football or its performers. The other half, if they think about it (and some do) would realise that being good enough to play VFL football only proves that you are good at playing football". He went on to say remind players that they club's policies was not to considering players unless they were working or seriously looking for a job.
The first stirring of discontent about Barassi's performance came in the week after the Demons fifth straight loss when Derryn Hinch, who had already lost $5000 betting on Melbourne making the finals in 1981, questioning Richard Seddon on the suggestion that Barassi would leave at the end of the year. Seddon replied that Barassi was "committed to Melbourne until the job is done".
His side responded with a victory the next week and the big recruits, and a core of emerging youngsters, rebounded to takek the Demons to the brink of a long awaited finals berth. Their fourth win in a row in Round 16 put them outside the 5 on percentage, but five losses in the next six games - with the only win against wooden spooners St. Kilda - saw them slide out of contention. An 86 point hiding at the hands of high flying Fitzroy in Round 19 confirmed that they'd miss the finals once again. Playing the top four teams in the last month of the season didn't help, but it did confirm that the side weren't good enough.
Despite missing out on the finals again a poll commissioned by the VFL found that 58% of Demon supporters ranked Barassi as a "great" coach, while only 10% called him "poor". The confidence rating was the sixth highest in the league despite the third year of the five year plan coming to an end in disappointment.
Asked about his side's performance at the end of the year the coach said "The lack of depth of players is one of the biggest problems, particularly rovers. Also, we weren't helped by our two "name" recruits not producing great seasons."
The Under 19's reached their third consecutive grand final and won their second premiership of the 1980's. Barassi missed his mate Ray Jordon and team score the flag as he was on the other side of the world in Bristol, Connecticut acting as an expert commentator on ESPN's US television coverage of the Grand Final.
The club made $7,302 for the year. During the year the club had agreed to help settle a dispute between the VFL and MCC which threatened Melbourne and Richmond games at the MCG by offering to pay $0.60 in every $6 which came through the turnstile for ground maintenance.
Best and Fairest
|Round 3||Adrian Battiston||Insulting Language||Not Guilty|
"Players on roundabout" - The Age 10/03/1983
"Row over MCG" - Canberra Times 06/04/1983
"Barassi stays - job to do" - The Age 16/06/1983
"Poll has little comfort for club coaches" - The Age 11/08/1983
"Foot Notes" - The Age 26/08/1983
The Age - 01/09/1983
"Johnson wins Demons' best" - The Age 28/09/1983