Coach: Ron Barassi
Captain: Robert Flower
Finishing Position: 9th
Best and Fairest: Gerard Healy
Leading Goalkicker: Kelvin Templeton (51)
Best First Year Player: Graeme Yeats
Major Sponsor: Mayne Nickless/Hertz (Joint)
|Matches||Ladder||Playing List||Best and Fairest||Reserves||Under 19's|
In a year when the first rumblings of a breakaway national competition were led by Carlton President John Elliott, the Demons finally gave their fans some hope that a return to the finals was just around the corner.
Ron Barassi started his fourth year as coach of the Demons knowing that time was ticking on the five year plan he'd declared when he joined the club. His side had got to within a whisker of the finals the year before until a horror last month of the season saw them play, and lose to, all top four sides on the ladder. Thrashings suffered at the hands of Fitzroy and Hawthorn during those four weeks showed just how far they were behind the leading pack.
The Under 19's had won a premiership though, their second of the decade, and with young players coming through there was still some light at the end of the tunnel for the Demons.
Off-field Hertz replaced Mayne Nickless as major sponsor, paying more than $100,000 with further incentives for top five football. Hertz was a subsidiary of Mayne Nickless and it was a corporate decision to put their name on the jumper. Between Round 1 and Round 2 the VFL swapped rounds 20 and 22 due to an issue with a Hawthorn vs Sydney game proposed for the last round.
Despite Peter Moore's second Brownlow Medal the Demons suffered another second half fadeout to miss the finals. Six wins in a row between Round 8 and 13 had them inside the five, and as late as Round 18 they were only a game outside but six losses in the last seven rounds saw them finish a place lower than the previous season. Moore's Brownlow came in the first count where the votes were read on a game by game basis. Despite criticism from Barassi at the end of the season Robert Flower was five votes adrift in third.
The reserves continued the good work of the Under 19's, who had won two premierships already in the 80's, when they won the premiership. Melbourne's Little League side were the joint winners of the competition along with Hawthorn.
The club made a profit of $4,329 but were forced to issue a statement in October confirming that Barassi would continue to coach. Speculation had been that he the vacant Swans coaching job was his if he wanted it but Melbourne stood firm on keeping their man. Sydney had also had a crack at Ray Jordon but were unable to prise him away as he had a contract.
- Joycey did not play seniors during the year. The votes were awarded for his performance in a night match.
|Round 11||Gerard Healy||Striking||Not Guilty|
|Round 14||Chris Connolly||Striking||Not Guilty|
|Round 21||Darryl Cox||Striking||Not Guilty|
|Round 21||Darryl Cox||Striking||2 matches|
|Round 21||Darryl Cox||Attempted headbutting||Not Guilty|