Coach: Neale Balme
Captain: Garry Lyon
Finishing Position: 14th
Best and Fairest: Jim Stynes
Leading Goalkicker: David Neitz and Jeff Farmer (40 goals)
Best First Year Player: Darren O'Brien
Sponsors: Toohey's Blue
|Matches||Ladder||Playing List||Best and Fairest||Reserves|
After missing the finals in the last game of the year in 1995, Melbourne was handed what it considered to be an unfair draw for the league's centenary season. They only had nine matches, of 11 total, at the MCG, which was less than Essendon, North Melbourne or Richmond, and level with Collingwood who weren't even full time tenants of the ground. They were also due to travel to all five interstate venues and scheduled for a pair of home games at Princes Park, a ground where main sponsor Tooheys was unable to display signage.
Third year coach Neil Balme was dealt a series of cruel blows in the pre-season. First Todd Viney announced early in the year he was retiring to take up a position in the entourage of tennis player Mark Phillopousis, then David Schwarz injured his knee for the third time in a pre-season reserves practice match.
Sean Charles, Steven Febey, Shaun Smith and Stephen Tingay also suffered injuries while Garry Lyon and Andrew Obst both entered the season under an injury cloud. With Schwarz unable to be replaced, Viney retained on the list just in case, the Dees entered Round 1 with only 34 players to choose from - and two of those were the twins David and Donald Cockatoo-Collins, expected to spend the year developing with their school teams.
Stung by the bad luck the Demons crashed to a 1-8 start, and despite the return of Viney the season was lost.
The second half of the year was played out under the shadow of a merger with Hawthorn. A press conference on the Monday after Round 17 confirmed that the two parties were in talks. The Fitzroy-Brisbane merger had just gone through and it appeared that the Melbourne Hawks were a fait accompli.
Ironically the two sides were drawn together in Round 22. Hawthorn would play finals, prolonging the history of their club for a few more weeks, but depending on the verdict of the members it could have been the Demons last match. The two sides duly served up a classic, with the Hawks winning by a point after Jason Dunstall kicked 9 goals - including his 100th for the season.
A meeting on September 16 at Dallas Brookes Hall voted against the merger, but when proxies were counted the 'members' had passed the vote and voted their own club out of existence. The Demons were saved when the Hawthorn members voting overwhelming against the proposal which was seen as a takeover of their financially embattled club. Despite the turmoil the club made a profit of $268,000 for the year.
|Round 2||Jim Stynes||Melee||Withdrawn|
|Round 2||David Neitz||Melee||Not Guilty|
|Round 2||Craig Nettelbeck||Melee||Withdrawn|
|Round 2||Andrew Obst||Melee||Not Guilty|
|Round 2||Donald Cockatoo-Collins||Melee||$1000 fine|
|Round 3||Jeff Hilton||Wrestling||$2000|
|Round 3||Marcus Seecamp||Wrestling||Not Guilty|
|Round 15||Jeff Hilton||Striking||Cleared|
|Round 15||Darren Kowal||Misconduct||$1500 fine|
|Round 19||Todd Viney||Striking||1 match|
|Round 19||Paul Hopgood||Striking||1 match|
|Round 20||Anthony Ingerson||Striking||2 matches|
Age - 30/11/1995
Age - 25/02/1996
Age - 18/10/1996