Coach: Allan La Fontaine
Captain: Denis Cordner
Finishing Position: 12th (Last)
Best and Fairest: Noel McMahen
Leading Goalkicker: Bob McKenzie (40)
Best First Year Player: John Beckwith
|Matches||Ladder||Playing List||Best and Fairest||Lightning Premiership||Seconds||Thirds|
Having lost many of his best players from 1950, including the entire backline, its first ruck and star rover, Melbourne declared 1951 to be a rebuilding year.
With the youngest MFC side in years at his disposal Allan La Fontaine blooded 18 first year players in his last season as coach, many of which would play an important part in their resurgence later in the decade. Only six of the 1948 premiership team remained, and it took until round 7 for the Demons to send out a side without a first game player.
The 103 point round 9 loss to Footscray was the club's worst in 32 years and the fans turned on their players and coaching staff with a vengeance. Secretary Jim Cardwell was forced to hose down rumours of a rift between La Fontaine and his players, but it was clear that not all was well at the club. A player anonymously contacted a newspaper with an off-the-record defence of his side, claiming that their form was due to training on an MCG surface that he been a quagmire all season. The club had to hose down rumours of dissension amongst players in the press.
Despite the poor performance in games that mattered the Demons did well in that season's Lightning Premiership, losing the final to Collingwood in extra time.
With the club rock bottom last, Cardwell made a mid-season approach to Norm Smith asking him to return as coach. Smith refused to discuss the issue before the end of the year but left the prospect of a comeback open.
Melbourne finished three games last, their fifth wooden spoon being the first since 1923. For the second time the coaching vote came down to La Fontaine vs Smith, and in a twist of fate this time it was Smith who the role by a solitary vote.
Before the start of the season the VFL altered permit rules to allow players to join any league club where their father had played more than 50 games.
Melbourne's VFL delegates were Bert Chadwick and Wally Scott.
|14||Robert B Johnson||12||0|
Best and Fairest
Most Improved - Stuart Spencer
Outstanding service - Geoff Collins, Eddie Jackson
Special trophy - Keith Robinson
|Round 15||George O'Keeffe||Attempted Striking||2 matches|
|Round 15||Bob McKenzie||Striking||4 matches|
1951 Thirds season
Captain - Tom Ferguson
Best and Fairest - Ken McKay
For Thirds ladder, draw total shows abandoned matches as draws for Carlton, Richmond, Footscray (one of two), Melbourne, St Kilda and Hawthorn.
A Dan Sullivan may have been on the committee.
Argus - 22/03/1951
Argus - 27/06/1951
Sporting Globe - 30/06/1951