Coach: Ian Ridley
Captain: Frank Davis
Finishing Position: 7th
Best and Fairest: Greg Wells
Leading Goalkicker: Paul Callery (38)
Best First Year Player: n/a
Members: 2,895

Matches Ladder Playing List Best and Fairest Seconds Under 19s

Image Ian Ridley was appointed coach after the resignation of John Beckwith. He had guided the reserves to two successive premierships and when the out-of-contract Ron Barassi announced that he was staying with the Blues after their grand final victory he was the natural successor to the senior role.

One of the new coach's innovations was to thrown open the doors of the change room and allow fans to listen to his pre-match address. Before the Home and Away season commenced the team went on a pre-season trip to Adelaide where they put through gruelling physical training to build up their fitness for the season ahead.

In an attempt to improve the side's performance the committee made all players undergo vision testing before the start of the year. Committeeman Col McLean said a number of players had been diagnosed with previously unknown sight issues. There were also new standards for grooming, with the first training session of the new season carrying an ban on beards, moustaches, sideboards and long hair. Assistant coach Bernie Massey lost his moustache for a second time, five years after Norm Smith had given the same instruction during his playing days.

Outlining his philosophy for the role the new coach said: “Melbourne has lost its pride over the past five or six years, and I am determined to see the club go up. If I can get everyone thinking as desperately as I am, the sky’s the limit.”

“Our brand of football may be a little different from what which supporters are used to,” he said, “but the club is well aware that it will take desperate measures to lift us back to a position of power.”

Whether it was the vision testing or the new coach Ridley looked like the perfect fit when the side won its first five games. He had replaced the long kicking, high marking style which dated back to the 1950's and 1960's with a more modern skill and pace gameplan. Even a Round 6 loss against Collingwood looked like a hiccup when they won the next three in a row. The finals drought was only stretching into its sixth year but it seemed like that '71 would be the year it broke.

It wasn't to be - a poor end to the season due in part to a lack of talls and the wet weather which didn't suit their style saw the Demons finish three games outside of a strong final four.

In a brutally honest interview at the end of the season Ridley admitted he'd made mistakes and said he wasn't sure that he'd reapply for the job in 1972. He said he wasn't sure that even if he did apply he'd be reappointed. His self-criticisms included not picking the right players for wet conditions, not being harsher in dropping out of form players and that despite the fitness advantages of his team they didn't have the right tactics.

While the Reserves slipped out of the top four in the last round, the Under 19s and Fourths won their premiership, and the seniors won the Night Series at the conclusion of the season. Bruce Brown won the Gardiner Medal for best player in the VFL Reserves competition.

The club made a $7493.80 loss across the year.

Sir Henry Bolte, Premier of Victoria, was Club Patron. Arthur King was Melbourne's VFL delegate.

Practice Matches

Port Adelaide WIN130-78
Norwood WIN179-56

Premiership Season

1 South MelbourneWIN165-60
2 FootscrayWIN107-63
3 CarltonWIN127-100
4 EssendonWIN78-43
5 FitzroyWIN120-92
6 CollingwoodLOSS72-127
7 North MelbourneWIN149-104
8 GeelongWIN106-72
9 St. KildaWIN70-67
10 RichmondLOSS75-106
11 HawthornLOSS74-94
12 South MelbourneWIN49-18
13 FootscrayLOSS79-80
14 CarltonLOSS72-88
15 EssendonWIN89-78
16 FitzroyLOSS89-78
17 CollingwoodLOSS34-49
18 North MelbourneDRAW62-62
19 GeelongWIN125-62
20 St. KildaLOSS64-95
21 RichmondLOSS102-123
22 HawthornLOSS65-124


St. Kilda1606140.064
North Melbourne511666.822
South Melbourne301969.912

Night Series

1 Geelong WIN134-74
SF Carlton WIN100-74
F Fitzroy WIN79-63

Exhibition Matches

Scottsdale LOSS46-72

Playing List

1 Max Walker 13 3
2 Robert McKenzie 136
3 Trevor Rollinson 90
4 Tony Sullivan 210
5 John Gallus 2031
6 Frank Davis 210
7 Graham Osborne 162
8 Peter Keenan 2218
9 George Lakes 132
10 Lloyd Burgmann 1523
11 Greg Wells 18 11
14 Barry Bourke 1718
15 Stan Alves 189
16 John Townsend 1825
17 Denis Clark 2018
18 John Tilbrook 1010
19 Ray Biffin 190
21 Graham Molloy 2214
22 Ray Carr 69
23 Peter Sinclair 123
24 Ross Dillon 74
25 Peter Weekes 90
26 Greg Parke 2122
29 Noel Leary 30
32 Barry Hodges 41
33 Gary Hardeman 200
34 Brent Jones 20
35 Paul Callery 2238
37 Bruce Brown 60
39 Russell Colcott 35
43 Gordon Lawrie 60
45 Henry Ritterman 21
47 Stephen Kerley 10
48 Mike Collins 31
49 Peter Williamson 20
50 Shane McSpeerin 63

Best and Fairest

1st Greg Wells
2nd Paul Callery
3rd Frank Davis
4th Tony Sullivan
5th Peter Keenan

Other Awards
Most Improved Player - Ray Biffin
Special award - Tony Sullivan
Outstanding Service Award - Peter Keenan, Graham Molloy, Gary Hardeman


Round 19 Ray Biffin Striking 4 matches
1971 Night Series Final Robert McKenzie Striking ?


1971 Reserves Season
Best and Fairest - Peter Dilnot
Second Best and Fairest - Peter Conley
Best Clubman - Bill Rodriquez
Outstanding Service - Colin Aubrey and Ian McGuinness

Richmond 1804130.272
Essendon 1705135.668
Hawthorn 1606119.964
Carlton 1408117.356
Melbourne 1309115.452
North Melbourne801483.732
South Melbourne601678.224
St Kilda501774.020

Fitzroy were stripped of four wins for fielding an unregistered player.

Under 19s

Captain - John Cunningham
Vice-Captain - Warren Tassell
Best and Fairest - Peter Dilnot
Second Best and Fairest - Peter Conley
Best Clubman - Bill Rodriquez
Best in Finals - John Cunningham
Outstanding service - Colin Aubrey, Ian McGuinness

Melbourne 1903150.076
Essendon 1705151.968
Collingwood 1624146.868
Richmond 1417146.158
Footscray 1318112.154
South Melbourne 112992.848
North Melbourne911290.838
Carlton 901386.436
Geelong 641289.032
St Kilda202056.28


SF Essendon WIN107-93
GF Essendon WIN123-110

Under 17s

Best and Fairest - Barry Lierich
Second Best and Fairest - Adrian Graham
Best Clubman - Robert Flower
Outstanding Service - Graeme Rackham, Robert Sandilands

Age - 27/01/1971
Age - 25/03/1971
Age - 29/03/1971
Inside Football - 21/08/1971

AFL Tables season page
Annual Report 1971 - Demonland
Cheersquad image courtesy of grandoldflag.net

Created by Supermercado. Last Modification: Tuesday 27 August 2019 19:47:48 AEST by Supermercado. (Version 58)

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