Coach: Ron Barassi
Captain: Robert Flower
Finishing Position: 8th
Best and Fairest: Steven Icke
Leading Goalkicker: Gerard Healy (77)
Best First Year Player: Adrian Battiston
Major Sponsor: Mayne Nickless
|Matches||Ladder||Playing List||Best and Fairest||Reserves||Under 19s|
Writing in The Age before the start of the season Robbie Flower summed Melbourne's position up by saying: "Nine seasons of mediocrity is hardly the basis for a tenth season of hope but there is more than hope around Melbourne these days". Most fans were willing to forgive the master Barassi the 1981 season, but more was expected from him in 1982.
Training began in late January, with many of the 'experienced' players vying for a spot on the list covered under a new VFL rule governing payments to players with under 40 games experience. 1-10 games would be paid $200 per match, 11-20 $250, 21-30 $300 and 31-40 $350. After their 40th match players would be free to negotiate their own price with the club.
Just 55 players were invited to training, well down on the 88 who had lined up on the first day of 1981. Despite signing a lucrative new contract for the season Mark Jackson showed the first sign that it was going to be an interesting year for him by not even bothering to show up for the first session. A few weeks later he was referred to club psychologist Rudi Webster after clashing with Robbie Flower at training and then abusing Barassi when ordered to go and train with the Under 19’s as punishment. He was fined $1000 for his antics, which involved threatening to hurl a brick at Reserves coach Ray Jordon.
Recruits included Alan Johnson from Perth and Steven Icke, Brian Wilson and Alan Jarrott from North Melbourne. Promoted from the victorious 1981 Under 19's side were Adrian Battiston, Michael O'Sullivan and David Cordner. Johnson had been picked by the Demons as the first "drafted" player under an arrangement the VFL had come to with the WAFL that any player wanting to move east would be subject to being selected by the bottom side in the competition first.
For the first time the MCG had a scoreboard with a screen to show replays. The board cost $4m, a figure met by the manufacturer Mitsubishi with a view to recouping their investment by controlling sponsorship on the scoreboard.
In early April the club announced a plan to revise its senior list every month. Ron Barassi said "The days of a player being awarded a jumper at the start of the season and being automatically on the list for the rest of the year have gone"
The season was an improvement on the one win of 1981, but it was still clear that the Demons weren't going to be challenging for a flag anytime soon. The round 2 win over St. Kilda was their first for a year, but they went on to lose the next five and the season was effectively over. Barassi had asked for five years to get things right when he took over, but it was looking like he'd need 500. Somewhere in the chaos Gerard Healy was having a remarkable season - thrown to the forward line he booted 77 goals and took the spotlight off Mark Jackson, who quit at the end of the year after continual clashes with Barassi.
The club's end of season trip was to California and Hawaii but an ambitious plan to bring six Americans to the club as a North American version of The Irish Experiment failed when the first recruit Glenn Ryan from Pasadena, California failed to make the grade after three weeks of intensive training. Sean Wight came from Ireland to do the same training program and was far more successful.
During the year Chief Executive Richard Seddon announced a scheme where supporters were invited to take out life insurance policies with the football club as the beneficiaries in the case of death. For $268 investment the club would reap a $100,000 pay-day when the supporter passed away.
|Round 2||Mark Jackson||Striking||2 matches|
|Round 9||Mark Jackson||Striking||2 matches|
|Round 10||Brent Crosswell||Striking||Not Guilty|
|Round 13||Shane Zantuck||Striking||2 matches|
|Round 21||Brent Crosswell||Striking||1 match|
Best and Fairest - Chris Connolly