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2003

Coach: Neale Daniher
Captain: David Neitz
Finishing Position: 14th
Best and Fairest: Russell Robertson
Leading Goalkicker: David Neitz (65)
Best First Year Player: Ryan Ferguson
Major Sponsor : LG Electronics
Members: 20,555

Matches Ladder Playing List Best and Fairest VFL __{ALINK(aname=Coaching Staff}Coaching Staff{ALINK}

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Despite their heartbreaking finals loss in 2002 - where they were one quarter from a preliminary final - there were still many questions over the 2003 Demons. Despite their often potent forward line Melbourne lacked a true centre-half forward, and anything approaching a superstar defence. If David Neitz couldn't recapture his Coleman Medal form of the year before, Melbourne would be vulnerable.

Midfielder Travis Johnstone was also coming off a career best season and with the loss of Shane Woewodin (traded) and Stephen Powell (allowed to leave due to salary cap pressure) he was also vulnerable despite the recruitment of Essendon premiership player Chris Heffernan.

Melbourne started the season at 17-1 for the premiership, $1.66 for the top eight and $21 for the wooden spoon. Pundits variously ranked Melbourne between 4th (Tim Watson) and 14th (Caroline Wilson).

The Demons won in Round 1 before collapsing towards the bottom of the ladder. It was the third consecutive time under Neale Daniher that the Demons had shown promise in the finals the year before then fell apart the next year.

Image From 2-1 after three rounds a 5 match losing streak spelt the end for season 2003. After the Round 6 loss to West Coast president Gabriel Szondy suggested that Neale Daniher had to improve the side's performance or might face the consequences. After the Queen's Birthday thrashing at the hands of Collingwood, Daniher was forced into a team meeting where he told the players he was putting too much pressure on them. CEO Ray Ellis was also moved to email members with an apology for the performance and a promise of a review of the football department. Melbourne lost by 70 points the next week.

Two wins in the middle of the year took the pressure off a bit, but they then lost their last seven matches of the season. Fan anger peaked after the Round 19 loss to Geelong, with several supporters remonstrating with the team and coaching staff as they left the ground. The club were forced to refute suggestions that they were trying to play for a priority pick, but by winning just five games for the season Melbourne did 'earn' a priority pick (selection 3 - Colin Sylvia in the 2003 National Draft.

On-field highlights were few and far between, but David Neitz managed to kick 65 goals, just ten down from his haul in a much better 2002 season. Clint Bizzell also adapted well to his new role as a running defender after crossing from Geelong. James McDonald and Russell Robertson also had their best years - Robertson eventually rewarded with the best and fairest - but the side lacked key defenders or big bodied forwards to help Neitz out.

Adem Yze played every game but carried injuries and had an ordinary season, while Travis Johnstone followed a career best year with a disappointing season that had some questioning his interest in playing AFL football. Chris Lamb couldn't get a game despite the need for tall defenders, Peter Vardy saw his season destroyed by injuries and the recruitment of Gary Moorcroft from Essendon was a failure.

Having seen his side follow a good year with bad for the third time, Neale Daniher said "It's a very disappointing season. It's a very, very disappointing season, but we've been able to at least start to blood some key position players that we're desperate for and I'm sure they'll all get better in 2004."

Gabriel Szondy resigned as president and annoited Paul Gardner as his successor. Gardner's election was confirmed at that year's board elections when seven of 13 candidates supported him.

The club lost $2.2 million for the year. Attendances fell $300k below expectation, gaming revenue dropped $150k, and corporate function revenue was down $100,000. It was also revealed that the club owed the tax department $1.2 million in back taxes and interest after failing to pay tax for three years. It was believed that the unpaid tax bills had been missed by several administrations and auditors before being discovered in the bottom of a drawer by financial officer Rob Ewart after he had taken on the role.

A bizarre business deal with a builder and passionate Melbourne fan also cost the Demons a $400,000 windfall. He was constructing the Big Brother house and promised to give it to the club when the series was finished. Melbourne agreed to sell it to the Ten Network for almost half a million dollars. The builder, however, ran out of funds and - committed to the sale to Network Ten - Melbourne were forced to pay to finish construction. They didn't lose any money on the project but didn't make them the expected cash.

At the end of the season Daniel Breese, Luke Molan, Gary Moorcroft and Aaron Rogers were delisted. Craig Ellis and Andrew Leoncelli retired.

Practice Matches

Opposition
Result
Sydney LOSS
West Coast LOSS

Wizard Cup

Round
Opposition
Result
1 Richmond WIN
QF North Melbourne LOSS

Premiership Season

Round
Opposition
Result
1 Hawthorn WIN
2 Essendon LOSS
3 Western Bulldogs WIN
4 Geelong LOSS
5 Sydney LOSS
6 West Coast LOSS
7 Port Adelaide WIN
8 Richmond LOSS
9 Fremantle LOSS
10 Brisbane LOSS
11 Collingwood LOSS
12 Adelaide LOSS
13 St. Kilda WIN
14 Carlton WIN
15 Kangaroos LOSS
16 Hawthorn LOSS
17 Essendon LOSS
18 Western Bulldogs LOSS
19 Geelong LOSS
20 Port Adelaide LOSS
21 West Coast LOSS
22 Sydney LOSS

Ladder

W
D
L
%
P
Port Adelaide1804127.272
Collingwood1507121.660
Brisbane1417121.958
Sydney1408115.056
Fremantle1408103.156
Adelaide1309120.552
West Coast1228117.452
Essendon1309111.752
Hawthorn12010100.648
Kangaroos1111098.346
St. Kilda1101195.844
Geelong711489.830
Richmond701588.828
Melbourne501781.020
Carlton401866.716
Western Bulldogs311874.814

Senior List

NumberPlayerGamesGoals
1 Chris Heffernan 207
2 Steven Armstrong 18 8
3 Clint Bizzell 226
6 Scott Thompson 135
7 Gary Moorcroft 32
8 Alistair Nicholson 100
9 David Neitz 2265
10 Daniel Ward 203
11 Darren Jolly 194
13 Adem Yze 2217
14 Luke Molan 00
15 Nick Smith 30
16 Travis Johnstone 1610
18 Brad Green 2135
19 Peter Vardy 95
21 Daniel Bell 00
23 James McDonald 214
24 Russell Robertson 2241
25 Nathan Brown 196
26 Luke Williams 214
27 Jared Rivers 30
28 Aaron Rogers 00
29 Chris Lamb 30
30 Simon Godfrey 223
31 Paul Wheatley 51
32 Cameron Bruce 2025
33 Cameron Hunter 20
34 Jeff White 169
35 Ryan Ferguson 171
36 Andrew Leoncelli 164
37 Brad Miller 161
38 Daniel Breese 00
40 Mark Jamar 92
42 Peter Walsh 165
43 Guy Rigoni 93
45 Matthew Whelan 224

Rookie List

NumberPlayerGamesGoals
12 Nicholas Walsh 00
17 Michael Clark 00
39 Ezra Poyas 00
41 Nathan Carroll 70
44 Adam Fisher 00
46 Dale Carson 00

Best and Fairest

Five members of the match committee select the best five players each week and rate them out of 10.

PlayerVotes
1st Russell Robertson 267
2nd James McDonald 240
3rd David Neitz 198
4th Clint Bizzell 166
5th Simon Godfrey 165
6th Cameron Bruce 159
7th Brad Green 145
8th Matthew Whelan 141
9th Nathan Brown 139
10th Adem Yze 131
11th Daniel Ward 128
12th Jeff White 124
13th Luke Williams 85
14th Chris Heffernan 76
15th Andrew Leoncelli 71
16th Guy Rigoni 54
17th Darren Jolly 38
18th Brad Miller 32
19th Travis Johnstone 31
20th Alistair Nicholson 27
21st Peter Walsh 26
22nd Nathan Carroll 25
23rd Scott Thompson 23
24th Steven Armstrong 19
25th Mark Jamar 2

Other awards
Best team player - Matthew Whelan
Most improved player - Brad Miller
Most consistent player - Russell Robertson
Best clubman - Cameron Bruce

Tribunal

RoundPlayerChargeSanction
Round 4 Adem Yze Unduly Rough Play Not guilty
Round 6 Jeff White Umpire contact 1 match
Round 9 James McDonald Wrestling $2500 fine
Round 16 Brad Green Stomping Not Guilty
Round 16 Matthew Whelan Unduly Rough Play Not Guilty

VFL

Sandringham Zebras 2003 season

Coaching staff

Chris Fagan
Mark Riley
Brian Royal

Media
"Team countdown: Melbourne" - The Age 20/03/2003
"Demons reject lessons of the past" - 09/05/2003
"Mick's poke at gabby Dee boss" - Herald Sun 10/05/2003
"Report card 2003" - afl.com.au 04/09/2003
"Robertson takes home Bluey" - The Age 03/10/2003
"Demons face massive new tax bill" - The Age 10/12/2003
"More Demons back Gardner" - The Age 11/12/2003
"Demons lose on TV gamble" - The Age 19/12/2003

Created by Supermercado. Last Modification: Saturday 27 September 2014 13:06:33 AEST by supermercado. (Version 50)

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