In late 1923 clubs voted on whether to include a new side in the VFL. Footscray was the most likely candidate, but while clubs voted 5-4 in favour (Melbourne was against), but without a 75% majority the league remained at nine clubs. The VFL began to arrange the fixture so that Melbourne and Richmond didn't play at home on the same day.
Captain-Coach Percy Wilson retired before the season. Gordon Rattray beat George Haines, Bert Chadwick, Jim Makin, Alex Hall and champion Western Australian coach Phil Matson for the job. Wilson briefly coached St Kilda before resigning and returning to finish the year with Melbourne.
At the February AGM, 10 candidates ran for seven vacant committee positions - G. Cathie, SER Church, GG Coulter, WJ Findley, L. Nichols, H. Parkin, AL Richardson, A. Sowden, WFV Sykes and HD Westley. In a departure from tradition they allowed players to elect their own captain, with Bert Chadwick winning the ballot.
Melbourne club struggled again, only avoiding the wooden spoon with a shock win over eventual premiers Essendon in the last round carrying them beyond St Kilda and into eighth. The MCC's annual meeting again featured criticism of the football club, with one member claiming that the club had only trained together for two hours in the space of a month and suggesting that was at fault for fade-outs late in games.
Despite their surprise loss in the final home and away game, Essendon won the premiership without a Grand Final courtesy of finishing top of the once-off round robin finals ladder for top four sides.
|Round 5||Edgar Dunbar||Striking||Not Guilty|