Coach: Ron Barassi
Captain: Robert Flower
Finishing Position: 11th
Best and Fairest: Danny Hughes
Leading Goalkicker: Brian Wilson (40)
Best First Year Player: Rod Grinter
Major Sponsor: Drake
Members: 5801

Matches Ladder Playing List Best and Fairest Reserves Under 19s

Image Image The club suffered twin blows before the season when first joint major sponsors Mayne Nickless and Hertz cut their financial commitments in half, then the MCC threw the club off the MCG and forced them to use the Junction Oval as a training base. North Melbourne's increased use of the MCG for home games prompted the MCC to protect their ground by having less training on it. Access to a newly renovated venue with lush turf was initially seen as a bonus, before the oval’s cricket commitments began to infringe on pre-season training. The MCC paying for the move was a bonus considering the club was so desperate for funds that Barassi and Slug Jordon had set walked Toorak Road soliciting $2000 in membership sales from shopkeepers before the season. It was later revealed that the club spent $39,000 on taxis to ferry young players to and from training during the year.

Writing in the club's annual report Barassi said that 1985 may be his last if the club was not successful. He said "looking forward to 1985, it's clear that we've come to the end of the line as far as excuses are concerned. Explanations - whether it be lack of experience or strength or pace - just won't be tolerated".

The club had made a left field selection for a Chief Executive to replace the retiring Richard Seddon when they hired former Department of Housing supremo Roy Gilbert. Struggling with the culture of the club and without a footballing background Gilbert resigned in 1986 and Ray Manley was elevated to the role to replace him.

Gilbert had sat on a committee during the season which mooted scrapping the Reserves and Under 19s and replacing them with an Under 21s competition which would allow clubs to save money by having smaller squads. The report proposed that clubs would be able to farm players out to VFA sides. The idea was rejected.

A lack of funding hampered recruiting efforts and despite a Round 1 victory Melbourne were soon down the bottom of the ladder again. Once again the club were comfortably clear of the wooden spoon contenders but not good enough to seriously challenge for the finals. The loss of Robert Flower for most of the season with a broken collarbone didn't help. Neither did a drop in form by reigning Brownlow Medallist Peter Moore and Kelvin Templeton succumbing to his injuries more often.

Injuries hit the entire squad hard. When Steven Icke went down with an injury in the Round 16 match against Carlton he became the fifth captain or stand-in to be hurt that year. Flower, Healy, Smith and Giles had all been hurt while captaining the side. Healy and Giles had been promoted to acting captain and vice-captain respectively in Flower's absence.

The end of the season was played out against the backdrop of turmoil with members attempting to force an extraordinary AGM to oust the Billy Snedden board. The chairman attacked the rivals during an interview on the live telecast of the Round 21 game against Sydney, saying that the takeover effort was "without merit, without ability and without capacity to run a club". He denied the club was a million dollars in debt and suggested that the club might end up being sold if the new board took over. Snedden referred to the plotters as “serving their own egotistical ambitions”. Four years later, Stuart Spencer revealed that the club had been as much as $750,000 in debt during the year.

The first rumblings of revolution came in late July, with a supporter placing newspaper ads asking for interest in a challenge. Only a sitting committeeman could call an Extraordinary General Meeting, and plotter Ron Prendergast was quickly contacted by one of the men in Snedden’s cabinet. Prendergast said, “the club has been negative for far too long. If you can’t think like a winner how can you be a winner?” and organised for anti-Snedden pamphlets to be handed out at games.

The warring camps met in early September, with coup leaders Geoff Slade and Terry Gleeson forced to admit the club's financial position wasn't as bad as they'd originally thought. There was agreement to increase the number of positions available for Melbourne FC members on the board (as opposed to MCC Members) from two to four. In addition to Slade and Gleeson the group included former players Robert B Johnson, John Lord, Barrie Vagg, Peter Keenan and Peter Sinclair.

Snedden announced his resignation but suggested he'd carry on in the job until the December AGM. The reform group called for him to go immediately as the club was in the middle of appointing a new CEO and coach. Board member Rueben Benkel joined the rebels, convening an EGM to try and change the club's articles of association and change membership rules so four members of the prospective rebel board could become directors. The incumbent board refused an ultimatum for Snedden to resign immediately and appoint six reform group candidates to the 12 man board.

The rebels announced that they would sack any coach hired by the existing board who they didn't endorse. Snedden's appointed successor Stuart Spencer was on the committee interviewing coaching candidates. The reformers were involved in some coaching interviews, with two members sitting in for Tom Hafey's interview but none present for eventual winner John Northey.

In early October a mailout to 2500 members from the reform group challenged the administration to answer a number of questions, including:

- Whether $230,000 was spent on coaches in 1985 even though the club was near the bottom of the ladder
- Whether $147,000 was spent on motor vehicles in 1984, and if so by who?
- If the former match committee chairman was paid for his service
- How much was paid to other consultants over the previous five years
- Did the board consider real estate dealings in Queensland to be for the benefit of the club, and did it cause any financial losses
- Questions regarding land brought in Jolimont for a social club, and whether it had been sold for $80,000 less than the current valuation to try and balance the books.
- Were Les Bamblett, Michael Byrne, Tony Elshaug and Alan Ezard sold for the same reason?
- Whether it was true that the club would show a large operating loss for the year
- If it was true that a director had written to the reform group admitting the club had failed in recruiting, administration and coaching. Also whether a current director had pledged his support to the group and resigned from the board only to return.

Snedden's response was that the club would post a cash result showing a capital deficit but ultimately balanced due to the way player transfer fees were amortised. He stated the Jolimont land was sold for more than the club paid, that social clubs weren't as profitable as they used to be, Barry Richardson hadn't been paid as Chairman of Selectors, and that the board acted on the advice of match committee regarding transfers. He said the rebel letter contained "some of the best pieces of arrant nonsense I've ever read".

The chairman’s side also claimed that four of the reform group bought memberships after the June 1 deadline for voting at AGMs and were now trying to change the rules so that memberships purchased to the end of October were valid. Slade was one of the names given, along with a reminder that his company was a sponsor of Carlton. Slade argued that his company couldn't be involved with the Demons because they were a direct competitor of major sponsor Drake.

Regardless of the instability, and the plotters not being involved in his interview, John Northey was still appointed coach in early October and retained the job for 1986.

On 15 October a fiery meeting was held at the Camberwell Civic Centre. A resolution was passed replacing Snedden with Jim Cardwell but the sitting board declared the vote unconstitutional. After the meeting both camps claimed control of the club. The meeting had originally been referred to as an EGM, but the reform group convened it as an ordinary meeting instead, claiming the Melbourne Cricket Club had threatened legal action. MCC members would not have been allowed to vote at the EGM. The football club's lawyers also suggested the key motion to be debated at the meeting was unconstitutional due to the absence of a statement that it required a 75% majority to pass.

The reform group suggested they'd nominate 10 candidates, but when board elections were held at the end of the year none of the "Reform Group" candidates nominated and the incumbent board was elected unopposed. Snedden still resigned as chairman against the backdrop of Gerard Healy walking out to join Sydney in a big money deal. Healy had finished a narrow second in that year's best and fairest.

In his address to a boisterous AGM crowd of 600 fans, Snedden admitted the club had purchased real estate in Queensland with the goal of paying Peter Moore and Kelvin Templeton from the profits, but that the land hadn't appreciated as expected. Gerard Healy didn't attend the meeting to accept his second best and fairest trophy. Snedden said he still hoped to re-sign Healy if Sydney couldn't fit him under the salary cap. Geoff Slade didn't rule out another EGM in January but it never eventuated.

The club made a trading loss of $473,000, not including $225,000 received as a dividend from the league after the sale of the Sydney Swans.

Ray Jordon was coach of both the Reserves and Under 19s, and the Under 19s were given special dispensation to play at 2pm instead of a new time for other teams of 10:30 to allow him to continue in both roles.

Practice Matches

Carlton LOSS104-149
Footscray LOSS60-108
North Melbourne LOSS82-84

Fosters Cup

1 Carlton LOSS76-108

Premiership Season

1 Fitzroy WIN128-102
2 Hawthorn LOSS102-170
3 Collingwood LOSS113-123
4 Footscray WIN102-83
5 Carlton WIN121-92
6 North Melbourne LOSS131-132
7 Geelong LOSS40-85
8 St. Kilda WIN106-54
9 Essendon LOSS71-153
10 Sydney WIN109-92
11 Richmond LOSS101-121
12 Fitzroy LOSS47-81
13 Hawthorn LOSS81-97
14 Collingwood LOSS85-157
15 Footscray LOSS49-169
16 Carlton LOSS39-99
17 North Melbourne LOSS110-114
18 Geelong LOSS86-144
19 St. Kilda WIN59-50
20 Essendon LOSS97-112
21 Sydney LOSS97-165
22 Richmond LOSS91-132


North Melbourne131897.954
St. Kilda301964.712

Playing List

1 Steven Smith 4 0
2 Robert Flower 33
3 Gerard Healy 2015
4 Peter Giles 93
5 Robin White 151
6 Michael O'Sullivan 184
7 Brian Wilson 1740
8 Graeme Yeats 101
9 Alan Johnson 1310
10 Danny Hughes 221
11 Steven Icke 150
14 Rod Grinter 1113
15 Mark Withers 1520
16 Adrian Battiston 2217
19 Rodney Wright 92
20 Russell Richards 1615
21 Les Parish 75
22 Chris Connolly 172
23 Daryl Bourke 90
24 Bret Bailey 82
25 Xavier Tanner 20
27 Sean Wight 57
28 David Cordner 1721
29 Dale Dickson 10
30 Peter Moore 168
31 Kelvin Templeton 510
32 Shane Zantuck 214
33 Greg Healy 77
34 Frank Rugolo 10
35 Darryl Cox 85
36 Ted Fidge 1527
37 David Allday 41
38 Nigel Kol 92
42 Bret Hutchinson 10
43 Paul Payne 74
44 John Fidge 1615
46 Darren Louttit 110
47 Alan Jarrott 207
48 Stephen Newport 129
53/26 Joe Rugolo 20

Best and Fairest

1st Danny Hughes 279
2nd Gerard Healy 273
3rd Shane Zantuck 266
4th Chris Connolly 200
5th Adrian Battiston 177
6th Mark Withers 176
7th Alan Johnson 153
8th Brian Wilson 148
9th Peter Moore 146
10th Ted Fidge 143
11th Steven Icke 140
12th Michael O'Sullivan 114
13th Greg Healy 111
14th Robin White 104
15th Alan Jarrott 103
16th David Cordner 91
17th Peter Giles 83
18th Russell Richards 76
19th Nigel Kol 72
20th Darryl Cox 63
20th Rod Grinter 63
22nd Rodney Wright 62
23rd John Fidge 58
24th Les Parish 42
25th Stephen Newport 39
26th Darren Louttit 37
27th David Allday 33
28th Graeme Yeats 16
29th Daryl Bourke 12
29th Sean Wight 12
31st Steven Smith 11
32nd Bret Bailey 7
33rd Paul Payne 6
34th Kelvin Templeton 5
35th Robert Flower 4

Other Awards
Redlegs Trophy - Stephen Newport


Round 1 Peter Moore Striking Guilty
Round 1 Peter Giles Striking 1 Match
Round 15 Danny Hughes Knocking to ground after marking Not Guilty
Round 22 David Cordner Striking 2 matches
Round 22 Chris Connolly Striking 3 matches


1985 Reserves Season
Best and Fairest - Bret Hutchinson

QF Hawthorn WIN115-83
SF Carlton LOSS105-165
PF Hawthorn LOSS79-129

Under 19s

Best and Fairest - Steve O'Dwyer
Second Best and Fairest - Jim Stynes

North Melbourne 2101253.484
Fitzroy 1309100.652
St Kilda130999.852

Age 05/12/1985 suggests $255,000 for the sale of Healy was not included in the financial figures - while other sources show it as a dividend from the league on the sale of the Swans.

Age - 08/03/1985
Age - 28/03/1985
Age - 28/05/1985
Canberra Times - 27/08/1985
Age - 28/08/1985
Age - 03/09/1985
Age - 04/09/1985
Age - 06/09/1985
Age - 10/09/1985
Age - 11/09/1985
Age - 04/10/1985
Age - 10/10/1985
Age - 17/10/1985
Age - 21/11/1985
Age - 05/12/1985
Inside Football - 30/08/1989

Created by Supermercado. Last Modification: Monday 16 October 2023 12:56:46 AEDT by Supermercado. (Version 72)

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