Coach: Neale Daniher
Captain: David Neitz
Finishing Position: 6th
Best and Fairest: David Neitz
Leading Goalkicker: David Neitz (82)
Best First Year Player: Steven Armstrong
Major Sponsor: LG Electronics
|Matches||Ladder||Playing List||Best and Fairest||VFL|
After seeing their 2001 campaign overshadowed by bickering and infighting at board level, the disappointing Demons had no excuses for 2002 and an afl.com.au pre-season preview suggested the Demons would either finish in the bottom of the top eight or just miss out.
Describing his approach to the season Neale Daniher said "We were too inconsistent last year. We started strongly and we finished strongly but in-between we were down for too long, so this year we want to show a lot more consistency."
The only consistency they showed in the pre-season cup was losing all three games, finishing with a 107pt loss against Adelaide in the last group game.
In May, Carlton president John Elliot suggested the Demons were no longer relevant as a tenant at the MCG. The MFC and MCC disputed the claims, possibly made as retribution for the Demons criticism of Optus Oval after Melbourne had been forced to play two financially costly games there.
Despite losing three tall defenders, Alistair Nicholson, Troy Broadbridge and Craig Ellis to knee injuries during the season and suffering from up and down form throughout the year the Demons rode the Coleman Medal winning form of David Neitz to the finals.
Neitz was the league's first league leading goalkicker since Fred Fanning more than 50 years before, and despite the raft of injuries and a mid-season slump the Demons made the finals where they easily accounted for North Melbourne before playing a modern classic against Adelaide. Five goals down, they went five goals up and somehow they still lost. A preliminary final against Collingwood had been thrown away despite Travis Johnstone playing his best game ever for the Demons.
Melbourne players on an end of season trip were caught up in the Bali Bombings. Steven Febey, Steven Armstrong and David Robbins were about to enter the Sari Club when a terrorist bomb exploded. Febey was thrown across the road in the blast, and the other two players were missing for hours afterwards. The rest of the team had already left Bali before the attack. Armstrong was forced to have a series of skin grafts on his leg after the attacks.
The club made a loss of $1.635 million for the year. This would have been closed to $2 million were in not for the dividend from the sale of Waverley. $100,000 of the loss was attributed to the election where Gabriel Szondy beat Joseph Gutnick at the end of 2001.
Players to depart the club were Steven Febey, David Schwarz and Anthony McDonald (retired)), Shane Woewodin (traded), Ross Funcke and Michael Clark (delisted) while Stephen Powell was allowed to leave the club for free to ease salary cap issues.
|Match 1||St. Kilda||LOSS|
Five members of the match committee select the best five players each week and rate them out of 10.
Most improved player - Chris Lamb
Most consistent player - Nathan Brown
Best clubman - Brad Green
Best Team Player - Cameron Bruce
Best First Year Player - Steven Armstrong
Encouragement Award - Chris Lamb
|Wizard Cup Match 1||David Neitz||Charging||2 matches|
|Wizard Cup Match 2||Adem Yze||Striking||1 match|
|Practice Match vs Sydney||Stephen Powell||Striking||Cleared|
|Practice Match vs Sydney||Darren Jolly||Striking||2 matches|
|Round 5||Stephen Powell||Striking||2 matches|
|Round 13||David Schwarz||Striking||1 match|
|Round 16||Paul Wheatley||Wrestling||$1200|
|Round 16||Stephen Powell||Striking||2 matches|
|Round 17||Craig Ellis||Striking||2 matches|
|Round 20||Paul Wheatley||Charging||Not Guilty|
|Round 21||David Neitz||Charging||Withdrawn|
"MCC rejects Elliot claim on Dees" - demons.com.au 14/05/02
afl.com.au season preview
"End-of-season nightmare for players" - The Age 14/10/2002
"Demons primed for off-field lift" - The Age 19/12/2002