President - Frank Grey Smith
Vice-Presidents - Henry Harrison, James Byrne, Charles Forrester, DA Rannard
Secretary - Harry Carr
Treasurer - W. Boys
Committee - John McGregor, A. Hunt
Match Committee - J. MacDonald, S. Thewlis, W. Stiffe, B. Champion, A. Hunt
VFA Delegate - Rannard and Carr
Second Twenty secretary - Murray McGregor
Captain - John Macdonald / George Aitken
Vice-Captain - S. Thewlis / F. Franks
Leading goalkicker - McAlister (12)
Despite an improved 1883 season following from a disastrous 1882, the MCC came to the conclusion that Carlton were a more profitable tenant and ordered the Fuschias to play more games on the football ground in what is now Yarra Park.
The VFA added Fitzroy and Williamstown to the competition as senior clubs. Fitzroy were admitted directly to the competition despite only having been formed at the end of the 1883 season and they defeated Melbourne twice during the year.
The expansion of the competition, and the juniors having their own league, led to a reduction in matches between senior and junior sides. In July time keepers and bells were used for the first time - and became common practice in 1885.
In August the club wrote to the City of Melbourne complaining about the unjust manner in which they had been deprived of the ground where their members had played for 25 years, and reiterated a promise from the Parks and Gardens Committee that the club would be given another ground within the park to play on. As this was unlikely to happen the letter stated "the club must decline to give up the playing ground held by them for upwards of a quarter of a century". The Argus records the threat being met with laughter and it was resolved to refer the matter to the Parks & Gardens committee.
At the end of the year the council dealt a further massive blow to the club by ordering them off the football ground as well so that trees could be planted. To add insult to injury the major stand at the MCG, one which could accommodate 2000 fans was damaged by fire on 31 August. It was no longer used to seat fans for matches but the club lost its fences, goalposts and athletic equipment which was stored underneath.
Geelong were premiers from Essendon. Melbourne were seventh best of the eight senior clubs, winning 10 matches, drawing three and losing 13. Despite Macdonald being the official captain he was injured early in the season and George Aitken lead the side for most of the year. McAllister was the leading goalkicker with 12.
Named amongst the best players in the competition by The Australasian newspaper were Leo Cussen and George Aitken (backs), WH Jones and F. Plant (followers), W. McAlister (forwards), F. Franks (centres/rovers) and one of the Tuckfield brothers (wings).
Eventually a deal was made for the club to play on part of the Friendly Societies' Grounds (what would later become Olympic Park), but after playing their first game at the ground late in 1885 they were back at the MCG by mid-1886.
At the end of the season the club had a deficit balance of 57p. At the following year's AGM it was reported that the first 20 had played 26 matches, won 10, lost 13 and drew three.
|28 June||South Melbourne||LOSS|
|2 August||South Melbourne||LOSS|
|13 September||South Melbourne||DRAW|
|26 April||Public Schools||WIN|
|26 April||East Melbourne||LOSS|
|14 June||East Melbourne||LOSS|
|16 August||Port Adelaide||DRAW|
|18 August||South Australian Juniors||DRAW|
|20 August||South Adelaide||LOSS|
W. Abernethy, J. Affleck, George Aitken, J. Bailey, J. Begg, W. Begg, Black, Robert Boys, E. Brayshay, Buick, Billy Carroll, E. Champion, J. Champion, A. Christy, Albert Coulson, George Cussen, Leo Cussen, J. Doran, F. Franks, W. Harry, Hopson, WH Jones, P. Lacey, J. Lowe, E MacGregor, C. Matthews, A. McAlister, John Macdonald, Archie McIntyre, Murdoch McKenzie, Merchant, James Morris, Howard Morrison, W. Moss, E. Murphy, Fred Plant, F. Pohlman, Propsting, W. Ross, H. Rush, C. Spooner, Steel, Billy Stiffe, EA Strachan, George Strachan, P. Stubbs, H. Taylor, S. Thewlis, Thompson, A. Tuckfield, B. Tuckfield, F. Tuckfield, H. Tuckfield
W. McAlister 12, J. Doran 7, E. MacGregor 5, Archie McIntyre 5, H. Rush 5, P. Lacey 4, P. Stubbs 4, Billy Carroll 2, F. Franks 2, F. Plant 2, Propsting 2, J. Begg 1, E. Brayshay 1, Albert Coulson 1, George Cussen 1, WH Jones 1, John Macdonald, W. Moss, E. Murphy, C. Spooner, Billy Stiffe 1, Strachan 1, Tuckfield 1
|26 April||East Melbourne||LOSS||0.5 - 2.9|
|3 May||Hotham||LOSS||0.5 - 1.11|
|31 May||Toorak||WIN||4.11 - 2.6|
|28 June||South Melbourne||UNKNOWN||?|
|5 July||Evansdale||WIN||7-2||McAlister 2, Douglas 2, Cutler, J. Champion, R. Boys|
|19 July||Essendon||DRAW||3-3||Macgregor, Douglas and B. Champion|
|2 August||South Melbourne||DRAW||1.6 - 1.7|
|9 August||Southern Cross||DRAW||1.5 - 1.5|
- Melbourne Juniors are recorded as losing 4-2 to South Yarra on 17 May, 2-1 to Britannia on 21 June and playing a 1-1 draw with Southern Cross on 30 August. It's not clear if this is also Melbourne Seconds or a related team.
Australasian - 05/04/1884
Sportsman - 30/04/1884
Argus - 11/04/1884
Argus - 19/08/1884
Argus - 01/09/1884
Argus - 28/03/1885
Australasian - 04/04/1885
Blueseum 1884 page
Image courtesy Boyles Football Photos
VFA Results and Tables