Coach: Dean Bailey
Captain: James McDonald
Finishing Position: 12th
Best and Fairest: Brad Green
Leading Goalkicker: Brad Green (55 goals)
Best First Year Player: Tom Scully
Major Sponsor: Hankook/Kaspersky Lab (Joint)
|Matches||Ladder||Playing List||Best and Fairest||VFL||Tribunal||Drafts and Trading|
Dean Bailey entered his third season as coach staring down the barrel of joining a small club of coaches to win three wooden spoons in a row. Most tipsters had the Demons finishing above just Richmond, if not on the bottom themselves.
The leadership group consisted of McDonald, Cameron Bruce, Brad Miller, Brent Moloney, Brad Green and new members Jared Rivers and Aaron Davey. After losing comfortably to Fremantle in the pre-season competition the Demons went on to suffer three straight defeats in practice matches before being spanked by the Hawks in Round 1. With the focus of the football world squarely on him and his side, Bailey's team responded by running heavily favoured Collingwood to a 1pt game which they could have won if Ricky Petterd - already on a career best four goals - had held a mark in the goalsquare during the dying seconds.
The near miss gave Melbourne some respectability and they won their next three games of the year to push ahead on the win/loss tally for the first time since the end of 2006. A fighting win over a decimated Adelaide was followed by a comfortable victory against the struggling Tigers before the Demons came up against the unbeaten Brisbane on a Saturday night at the MCG. To the shock of the entire football community the Lions were smashed as their opponents announced their arrival as an up and coming force in the AFL.
It all came back down to earth the next week with a loss to North Melbourne, and the side settled into a mini-slump broken only by a 1pt win against Port Adelaide in their first competitive game in Darwin and a second remarkable clash with Collingwood which this time ended in a draw.
By the time of their Round 14 loss to St Kilda, Melbourne had slid back to third last on the ladder and the promise that they had shown earlier in the year seemed to be wasted. Four wins out of the next five games put them back within a realistic position of sneaking into the eight. The highlight of the run, and probably the season, was the biggest win ever against a Sydney side coached by Paul Roos in Round 17.
Needing to win their last three games and hope for results to fall their way all calculations were rendered moot when Hawthorn won a tight, tough game in the wet at the MCG. Losses followed in the last two games of the year, although Liam Jurrah rose high above the pack to take the Mark of the Year in the Round 21 game against Port Adelaide at Football Park.
Brad Green won his first Best and Fairest award after kicking a career high 55 goals for the season, and he was rewarded with being shortlisted for the All-Australian squad. He did not make the final side, but Mark Jamar (interchange) and James Frawley (back pocket) were selected for the first time in recognition of their career best seasons.
Best and Fairest
Leadership Award - Brad Green
Heart and Soul Award - Brad Green
Ian Ridley Memorial Trophy (Club Ambassador) - Colin Sylvia
Norm Smith Memorial Trophy (Coaches Award) - Jordie McKenzie
Troy Broadbridge Award (Best player at Casey) - Brad Miller
|Round 6||James McDonald||Striking||Reprimand|
|Round 9||Brent Moloney||Front On Contact||Reprimand|
|Round 14||Kyle Cheney||Striking||Reprimand|
|Round 16||Jordie McKenzie||Umpire Contact||$900 fine|