Melbourne Football Club
Full nameMelbourne Football Club Limited[1]
Nickname(s)AFL: Demons, Dees
Indigenous rounds: Narrm
Former nickname(s)Redlegs, Fuchsias (prior to 1933)
2023 season
After finals6th
Home-and-away season4th
Leading goalkickerBayley Fritsch (38 goals)
Club details
Founded1858; 166 years ago (1858)[2][3][4][5]
Colours  Navy Blue   Red
CompetitionAFL: Men
AFLW: Women
PresidentKate Roffey
CEOGary Pert
CoachAFL: Simon Goodwin
AFLW: Mick Stinear
Captain(s)AFL: Max Gawn
AFLW: Kate Hore
PremiershipsVFL/AFL (13) AFLW (1)
2022 (S7)
Reserves (12) VFA (Nil)
Victorian (3)
Ground(s)AFL: Melbourne Cricket Ground (100,024)
AFLW: Casey Fields (9,000)[6]
Training ground(s)AFL/AFLW: Gosch's Paddock, Casey Fields
Other information

The Melbourne Football Club, nicknamed the Demons, is a professional Australian rules football club that competes in the Australian Football League (AFL), the sport's elite competition. It is based in Melbourne, Victoria, and plays its home games at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).

Melbourne is the world's oldest professional club of any football code. Its origins can be traced to an 1858 letter in which Tom Wills, captain of the Victoria cricket team, calls for the formation of a "foot-ball club" with its own "code of laws". An informal Melbourne team played that winter and officially formed in May 1859, when Wills and three other members codified "The Rules of the Melbourne Football Club"—the basis of Australian rules football. The club was a dominant force in the early years of the game and a foundation member of the Victorian Football Association (VFA) in 1877 and the Victorian Football League (VFL) in 1896, now the national AFL. Melbourne has won 13 VFL/AFL premierships, the latest in 2021. The club was a foundation team of the AFL Women's league (AFLW), and won its first AFLW premiership in 2022 season 7.

The football club has been a sporting section of the Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC) since 2009, having previously been associated with the MCC between 1889 and 1980.[7]


1858: Foundations

See also: Origins of Australian football

After promoting the formation of, and captaining an 1858 incarnation of the club, Tom Wills co-wrote Melbourne's first laws.
Wills' cousin H. C. A. Harrison captained Melbourne from 1861 to 1872, and later served as club president.

In the winter and spring of 1858, a loosely organised football team known as 'Melbourne' played in a series of scratch matches in the parklands outside the Melbourne Cricket Ground. This team was captained by Tom Wills, a prominent athlete and captain of the Victoria cricket team, who, on 10 July that year, had a letter of his published by the Melbourne-based Bell's Life in Victoria and Sporting Chronicle, in which he calls for the formation of a "foot-ball club" with a "code of laws" to keep cricketers fit during winter. Other figures associated with this embryonic Melbourne side included Melbourne Cricket Club members Jerry Bryant, William Hammersley and J. B. Thompson, and teacher Thomas H. Smith.

It is possible that the first game played involving the Melbourne team took place on or adjacent to the Melbourne Cricket Ground on 14 August following Bryant's call for 'all good kicks' to take part with a subsequent match held among the Melbourne Cricket Club members on 30 August.[8] On 25 September, Melbourne was challenged to a match by the South Yarra Football Club featuring 26 players a side, with Melbourne winning the game.[9] Although the club had not yet been established as a formal entity, the year 1858 has long been recognised as being the foundation year of the Melbourne Football Club and for Australian rules football.

1859–1876: establishment and early years

With the cricket season finished The Argus reported in early May 1859 that the membership of the "Melbourne Football Club" was growing 'owing, probably, to its being no longer confined to members of the Melbourne Cricket Club'.[10] On 14 May the club held its first match of the year in the Richmond Paddock with two sides captained by Smith and Bryant, with Bryant's side kicking two goals for victory.[11][12] A subsequent meeting was held to elect a Secretary, Treasurer and committee of five to administer the affairs of the club and to draft its rules, whilst an application to the MCC was made for use of the MCG on Wednesdays and Saturdays.[12] Although most Melbourne players and officials were associated with the MCC, the football club was not initially allowed to use its ground, so matches were played on the fields at Yarra Park.

Former Parade Hotel near the MCG, where in 1859 the "Rules of the Melbourne Football Club" were drafted

On 17 and 21 May 1859, Wills, Hammersley, Thompson and Smith met near the MCG at the Parade Hotel, owned by Bryant, to draft "The Rules of the Melbourne Football Club".[13] The resulting ten codified rules are the laws from which Australian rules football evolved.

In the early years of the club, football matches were conducted on a casual basis with no set fixture and teams often having to cancel engagements due to a lack of players. The first mention of an interclub match played under the new code was between Melbourne and South Yarra in July 1859, with Hammersley as Melbourne's inaugural captain.[14] In 1860 Melbourne played its first match against the Geelong Football Club in Geelong with the match resulting in a draw.

In 1861, Melbourne participated in the Caledonian Society Challenge Cup, but lost the trophy to the Melbourne University Football Club. The club pushed for its rules to be the accepted rules, however many of the early suburban matches were played under compromised rules decided between the captains of the competing teams.

Melbourne playing in Yarra Park at the start of the 1874 season

By 1866 several other clubs had also adopted an updated version of Melbourne's rules, drafted at a meeting chaired by Wills' cousin, H. C. A. Harrison. Harrison was a key figure in the early years of the club; he often served as captain and, in later years, as president. Due to his popular reputation and administrative efforts, he was officially named "Father of Australian Football" in 1908, the year of the sport's golden jubilee.

During the 1870s, Melbourne fielded teams in the Seven Twenties and South Yarra Cup competitions.

1877–1896: Victorian Football Association

Melbourne side of 1879

In 1877, Melbourne became a founding member of the Victorian Football Association (VFA). During the same year the club took part in the first interstate football match involving a South Australian side, Victorian, defeating the home side 1–0.[15] Melbourne never won a VFA premiership, although they were consistently one of the stronger teams in the competition, finishing as runners-up four times, to Carlton in 1877, Geelong in 1878 and twice to Essendon in 1893 and 1894.

In 1884 Melbourne's stand at the MCG which catered for 3,000 spectators burned down precipitating a series of financial constraints for the club. With mounting debts, club officials running up unauthorised accounts, poor on-field form and players leaving to join other clubs, Melbourne's future was in serious jeopardy by 1888. It was proposed that the MCC intervene to provide assistance given the closeness of the two clubs and the fact that football matches generated significant gate revenue for the MCC.

At the end of the 1889 season, the MFC and MCC committees met and agreed to amalgamation of the two. The football club would become a section of the cricket club with the MCC handling the MFC's immediate and ongoing financial concerns. Melbourne's on-field prospects soon lifted finishing fourth on the ladder in 1892 and vying the Premiership in 1893. This was to be the beginning of a long and fruitful partnership that produced 12 VFL Premierships between 1900 and 1964.[16]

1897–1932: early years in the Victorian Football League

Melbourne team that won its first VFL premiership in 1900

In 1897, Melbourne joined other VFA powerhouse clubs Essendon, Collingwood, Fitzroy, Geelong, and South Melbourne to form the breakaway Victorian Football League with Carlton and St Kilda also joining. In the first season of the new competition, Jack Leith was the league's leading goalscorer while Fred McGinis emerged as a champion player and league identity being judged Champion of the Colony for the season.[16] In 1900, McGinis helped take Melbourne to its first VFL premiership, defeating Fitzroy in a Grand Final upset at the East Melbourne Cricket Ground; and, in 1904, Vin Coutie kicked 39 goals to be the League's leading goalkicker. But, despite this success, including playing in the finals again in 1902, Melbourne's first decade of the 20th century was poor on-field, with the club taking out the Wooden Spoon in 1905 and 1906.

In the 1910s the team had adopted the nickname 'Fuchsias' alongside the pre-existing Redlegs name and in 1912 the club adopted a club song to the tune of 'You're A Grand Old Flag". Harry Brereton was the VFL leading goalscorer in the 1911 and 1912 season. During this time the club took pride in its policy of amateurism and when World War I broke out, the club strongly petitioned for the league being suspended to prevent fit professional footballers from joining the war effort. In 1916 the club refused to take part in the competition for three seasons, returning in 1919. 14 Melbourne players lost their lives in the conflict, including Arthur Mueller 'Joe' Pearce, Clifford Burge, Jack Doubleday, Desmond McDonald, Ralph Robertson, Percy Rodriguez and Alfred Williamson.[16] For instance, in May 1919, an unidentified former Melbourne footballer, wrote to the football correspondent of The Argus as follows:

"In 1914 the Melbourne football team, after its junction with the University, was a fine team, and succeeded in reaching the semi-finals.
Out of this combination the following players enlisted and served at the front:—
C. Lilley (seriously wounded), J. Hassett, H. Tomkins (severely wounded), J. Evans (seriously wounded), W. Hendrie, R. L. Park, J. Doubleday (died), A. Best, C. Burge (killed), C. (viz., A.) Williamson (killed), J. Brake, R. Lowell, E. Parsons (seriously wounded), A. M. Pearce (killed), F. Lugton (killed), A. George, C. Armstrong, P. Rodriguez (killed), J. Cannole (viz., Connole), A. Fraser (seriously wounded), T. Collins.
These are all players of note, and in themselves would have formed a very fine side, but there is only one of them playing at the present time, viz., C. Lilley, who, as a matter of fact, takes the field under some disability owing to severe wounds which he received on service." — The Argus, 16 May 1919.[17]

Melbourne had little success in the immediate post-war years having not played a final since 1915, taking out another Wooden Spoon in 1919. However, finals form would return with the team defeating Geelong and later losing to Collingwood in 1925. In 1926 Albert Chadwick captain-coached the team to its second league Premiership defeating Collingwood in the Grand Final. Melbourne's greatest player at this time was Ivor Warne-Smith, who in the Premiership year won the club's first Brownlow Medal. Warne-Smith went on to win a second Brownlow in 1928, a year in which Melbourne would play finals again. Chadwick and Warne-Smith would both go on to have influential administrative roles in the club's most successful period in the 1950s.

1933–1964: dominant years

The Great Depression took a financial toll on the club with poor on-field performances and some players having the pressure of having to search for employment. Melbourne's fortunes were lifted however for the 1933 season when it lured Richmond's premiership winning coach Frank "Checker" Hughes and Richmond's secretary Percy Page to the club.

Hughes was a tough and disciplined coach inspiring the changing of the club's nickname from the Fuchsias to the Demons.[18]

You are playing like a lot of flowers. Lift your heads and play like demons!

— Hughes during a speech to his players[19]

Under Hughes' leadership, and with star players including captain Allan La Fontaine, rover Percy Beames, backman Jack Mueller and Norm Smith at full forward, the Demons played finals in 1936 and 1937, and became the third club after Carlton and Collingwood to win three successive premierships in 1939, 1940 and 1941.[20]

Tragedy would fall on the club soon after with 11 players giving their lives whilst serving in World War 2. These players included premiership players Keith 'Bluey' Truscott, Harold Ball, Syd Anderson and Ron Barassi Sr, all for whom club awards have been dedicated to, with the club's Best and Fairest award named in honour of Truscott.

Hughes left the club at the end of the 1941 season but returned in 1945. The next year Don Cordner became the second Demon to win the Brownlow Medal with Melbourne reaching the grand final, losing to Essendon by a margin of 63 points. Fred Fanning was the VFL leading goal scorer in 1943, 1944, 1945 and 1947 when he also kicked the league record 18 goals in a match during the last game of the season (a record that still stands). In 1948, Melbourne met Essendon in a grand final rematch. The Bombers' inaccurate kicking of 7 goals and 27 behinds resulted in the first ever drawn VFL grand final. The Demons returned the next week to win its sixth premiership with Jack Mueller kicking six goals in the match. Hughes retired again as coach at the end of the season and after being denied the position by a single vote of the club's committee, Norm Smith moved to Fitzroy to take a position as captain-coach.

Demons great Norm Smith coached the club to six premierships

New coach Allan La Fontaine had limited success despite the Demons playing finals in 1950 and bringing talented new players into the club. After the Demons took out the Wooden Spoon in 1951, Smith returned to take up the coaching position in the 1952 season and set about forging a new team with future club champion Ron Barassi joining in 1953 under the newly created father-son rule. In 1954, the Demons made the Grand Final losing to a rampaging Footscray. In 1955 the Demons cemented their position as the best team in the league finishing top of the ladder and taking out the Premiership in the Grand Final against Collingwood. Melbourne became the only VFL team to win three premierships in succession twice by winning the 1956 and 1957 grand finals against Collingwood and Essendon. The Demons suffered a shock defeat to their rivals Collingwood in the 1958 grand final, but would regain the premiership following wins in the 1959 and 1960 grand finals against Essendon and Collingwood. Between 1955 and 1960, Melbourne finished top of the ladder in every season, winning five premierships. Had the Demons not been defeated in 1958, they may have won seven premierships in a row.

Despite playing in the finals series in 1961, 1962 and 1963, Melbourne failed to reach a grand final until 1964 when the Demons finished top of the ladder again. In one of the most thrilling grand finals, Melbourne won its 12th VFL premiership in the dying seconds of the game against Collingwood with back-pocket player Neil Crompton kicking the winning goal.

After the 1954 Grand Final loss to Footscray, no team was able to score 100 points against the Demons until Collingwood in round 5 1963. The next team was Geelong with 110 in round 1 1964. and dominant period of any team in the VFL/AFL no other team has ever won 10 premierships in just 31 years.[21]

1965–1986: decades of disappointment

In one of the greatest shock moves in the VFL history, Ron Barassi transferred to Carlton as captain-coach for the 1965 season. Despite this, Melbourne were still the dominant team of the league, winning its first eight games in succession. After having lost just three games, the club's committee made the startling decision to sack Norm Smith as coach before its Round 13 fixture against North Melbourne. Hughes returned to coach the Demons in a losing game, while Melbourne identities, including Barassi took to the media to defend Smith. Smith was reinstated however the damage was done, the Demons would only win one more game and subsequently missed out on finals for the first time since 1953. Melbourne would not play in another finals series until 1987.

Smith coached two more seasons with Melbourne and a succession of coaches followed trying to reverse the Demons fortunes including John Beckwith (1968–70), Ian Ridley (1971–73), Bob Skilton (1974–77) and Dennis Jones (1978). Melbourne languished near the bottom of the ladder throughout the late 1960s and 1970s, including three wooden spoons in 1969, 1974 and 1978. Despite possessing gifted players including Robert Flower and Greg Wells, the introduction of country zoning and poor management hampered the club's fortunes. Melbourne tried to supplement its list by recruiting older players from successful teams including Carl Diterich who played in two separate engagements wth the Demons, the first between 1973 and 1975 and then serving as captain-coach in 1979 and 1980.

Melbourne's best start to a season was in 1971 when the club was at the top of the ladder after the first round and maintained that position until it lost to Collingwood in round 6. Melbourne was still in second place at the start of the second half of the season but a dramatic slump had them dropping to fifth position five weeks later. They finished with only two more wins and a draw.

In 1976, Melbourne missed what looked to be an almost certain finals appearance. In the final round, the Demons only needed to beat bottom side Collingwood, and for Footscray to lose to the top side Carlton. The Demons beat Collingwood at Victoria Park but an unexpected drawn match between Footscray and Carlton saw the Bulldogs edge out the Demons for the finals. Melbourne would then fall back into the bottom quarter of the ladder the following season, and in 1979 they suffered the worst defeat in VFL/AFL history, losing to Fitzroy by 190 points in round 17,[22] although they would beat Essendon the following week.

Melbourne's 1980s shield logo

In an effort to attract more members and to improve the club's finances the club legally separated from the MCC, becoming a public company. In 1981, under the chairmanship of Sir Billy Snedden, and with a public campaign backed by radio broadcaster Derryn Hinch, Ron Barassi returned to Melbourne as coach and immediately appointed Robert Flower as captain. When he left the Demons in 1965 it was felt Barassi would eventually return and his arrival caused much excitement and an expectation of immediate success. Barassi set about implementing a 5-year plan for the Demons to win a Premiership, however the Demons finished 1981 with the wooden spoon after winning only one game. Recruits Brian Wilson from Footscray and Peter Moore from Collingwood would win the club's 4th and 5th Brownlow Medals in 1982 and 1984. However, despite sound recruiting, Barassi was unable to take the Demons to an elusive finals series and John Northey took up the coaching position in 1986.

1987–2006: rollercoaster years

Melbourne would finally make the finals in 1987 in dramatic fashion needing to beat Footscray at the Western Oval and requiring Geelong to lose to Hawthorn. The Demons beat the Bulldogs by two goals with the Hawks beating the Cats by three points in the dying seconds of the game. Both matches took place at the same time, with the Melbourne fans cheering towards the end of the game when news came through of the Hawks win. Melbourne cruised into the Preliminary Final defeating North Melbourne by 118 points and Sydney by 76 points. In Robert Flower's last game, the Demons lead the Hawks by 4 points at the final siren, though Hawthorn's Gary Buckenara had a free kick 55 metres out. But Melbourne Irish recruit Jim Stynes ran across the mark and incurred a 15-metre penalty, bringing Buckenara close enough to kick the winning goal after the siren. The Demons would try to exact revenge on the Hawks in the 1988 Grand Final but were trounced by 96 points.

From 1987 to 1991, Melbourne had five positive win–loss differentials in successive seasons which the club had not been able to achieve since the 1950s. Thereafter things went downhill for Northey, although Jim Stynes won the Brownlow in 1991. In 1992, the club finished 11th, and Northey was replaced by Neil Balme as coach. Balme coached Melbourne into the finals in 1994, but a last game loss to Brisbane saw them drop out of the top-eight in 1995, and the club lingered at or near the bottom of the ladder for most of the 1996 season.

By 1996, the club was also in dire financial straits. The club's board led by past club champion Ian Ridley as president decided on the desperate step of a merger with Hawthorn. In the ensuing weeks, a passionate debate was fought between pro and anti-merger supporters. In the first few days of this debate, lifelong supporters Mark and Anthony Jenkins met with coterie member George Zagon to form the Demon Alternative – an anti-merger group that was to significantly impact on the plans of the incumbent board. Former player and politician Brian Dixon and Rabbi Joseph Gutnick became the prominent leaders of the Demon Alternative group. The group quickly organised itself into a credible option for Melbourne supporters; however given the support of the AFL and other factors, when the merger issue was put to a vote, a majority of Melbourne members supported the board. In a meeting on the opposite side of town, Hawthorn members rejected their board's proposal and eventually the merger was defeated.

Gutnick and Mark Jenkins were co-opted onto the club's board in the aftermath with Gutnick later being voted in as president. He put $3 million of his own money into the club, and sacked Balme as coach midway through the 1997 season. In 1998, under new coach Neale Daniher, the club spent most of the season in the top eight and beat the eventual premiers Adelaide in the Qualifying Final. Melbourne also eliminated St Kilda, but lost to North Melbourne in the Preliminary Final. In 1999 Melbourne finished in the bottom three.

In an exciting finish to the 2000 season, Melbourne stormed its way into the Grand Final, but were convincingly beaten by ladder leaders Essendon. Melbourne missed out on finals in 2001 finishing 11th, but would finish sixth in 2002 to eventually lose its semi-final to Adelaide at the MCG in a controversial ‘away’ game, only played in Melbourne due to the AFL's contractual obligations with the MCG. Captain David Neitz would play his best season winning the Best and Fairest award and winning the club's first Coleman Medal as the league's leading goalscorer kicking 75 goals. Gutnick was replaced by Gabriel Szondy as president at the end of the year winning 65% of the members' vote.

In 2003, Melbourne plunged into new on and off-field crises, winning only five games for the year and posting a $1 million loss. Szondy resigned as president and it seemed that Daniher's tenure as coach was under threat. Melbourne played finals again in 2004. In a seesawing Elimination Final, the Demons lost to Essendon by less than a goal. During the 2004 post-season, Melbourne player Troy Broadbridge was killed in the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami, when he was swept off Phi Phi island in Thailand. His body was found on 3 January 2005, and brought home. A funeral was held on 20 January 2005 in recognition to the No. 20 guernsey he wore during his playing days. During the 2005 off-season, the whole team travelled to the island in which Broadbridge was killed to build a new school for those struck by the tsunami. The No.20 jumper was then rested for two years.

Melbourne finished the 2005 season in seventh position but lost the elimination final to Geelong by 55 points. In 2006, after a slow start, Melbourne again finished the season in seventh position. After defeating St Kilda in the second Elimination Final by 18 points the season ended the following week when Fremantle beat the Demons by 28 points. Daniher had become the club's the second longest-serving coach while Neitz became Melbourne's all-time leading goal-kicker on 19 May, surpassing Norm Smith's previous record of 546 goals. Two weeks later, he broke Robert Flower's long standing record of 272 games, making him the longest serving Demon in history.

2007–2020: years of struggle

At the start of the 2007 AFL season, Melbourne were thought by many pundits to be contenders for the Premiership, but injuries to key players across the team resulted in the Demons losing its opening nine matches. Daniher resigned as coach mid-season with Mark Riley appointed as caretaker coach. Late in the season, David Neitz became the first Melbourne player to play 300 games.

David Neitz retired as the club's games and goals record holder, along with being the longest serving captain

Dean Bailey was appointed coach for the 2008 season, however Melbourne lost their first six matches, before breaking through with a record comeback win in round seven against Fremantle. Melbourne finished the season poorly finishing last on the ladder, taking out its first Wooden Spoon since 1997.

Off field, the club remained in turmoil. In its 150th anniversary year club CEO Steve Harris resigned and was replaced by former Wimbledon tennis champion Paul McNamee in early 2008.[23] Club President Paul Gardner also resigned mid-season making way for former club champion Jim Stynes who inherited a $4.5 million debt.[24] Stynes immediately got to work and was instrumental in Melbourne's ‘Debt Demolition’ campaign held in a Kensington warehouse on August 5. More than $1.3 million was raised on the night, with more than $3 million pledged to the cause.[25] The Stynes' board sacked McNamee after just four months following criticism of him holidaying in Wimbledon to compete in a legends match.[26] New club CEO Cameron Schwab declared that it required urgent AFL assistance to continue, requesting additional funding to its special annual distribution. In December, a fallout in negotiations between the Melbourne Cricket Club resulted in the MCC not committing an expected $2 million to the club and Schwab declared that the club's immediate future was in doubt.[27] This doubt was quickly put to bed when the AFL and MCC finalised negotiations. The AFL committed $1 million to the club in 2009, with the MCC matching the AFL contribution.[28]

Melbourne endured another poor season in 2009, winning just four matches to claim back-to-back Wooden Spoons. The year was made worse in July when Jim Stynes revealed he was fighting cancer. He temporarily stood down, with vice-chairman Don McLardy stepping up in his absence. In 2010 the club's on-field fortunes lifted, as they finished the season 12th on the ladder.

The club's 2011 season took a dramatic turn when the Demons suffered its second greatest loss in league history, going down to Geelong at Kardinia Park in round 19 by 186 points. Bailey was immediately sacked as coach with former club captain Todd Viney coaching the remaining games to finish 13th on the ladder. In August the club announced that its goal of wiping out the club's debt had finally been achieved[29] and new coach Mark Neeld was announced in September.[30]

In 2012 Jim Stynes retired as president, with vice-president Don McLardy stepping up to take the reins. Tragically, on March 20, Stynes’ long fight with cancer came to an end. He was given a state funeral, given his remarkable legacy on and off the field. The AFL investigated Melbourne's 2009 season in August, following comments made by former Demon and Carlton player, Brock McLean, that the club had not been trying to win.[31] See: Melbourne Football Club tanking scandal

In 2013, Melbourne managed just one win from its first 11 games and Neeld was sacked as coach in Round 17 with assistant coach Neil Craig being appointed caretaker. This was precipitated by the departures of CEO Schwab and President McLardy. In September the club announced Sydney premiership coach Paul Roos signed a two-year deal to coach the Demons, with the option of a third year.

Paul Roos' first year in his tenure as the Demons' coach saw an improvement from their 2013 season, with the Demons doubling their win tally. Under Roos, the club continued to steadily improve winning 7 games in 2015 and key forward Jesse Hogan won Melbourne's second AFL Rising Star award. Roos left Melbourne after another improved season in 2016 with assistant coach Simon Goodwin taking over in a planned succession.

Melbourne finished the 2017 season in ninth place with a win–loss record of 12–10, missing out on eighth spot to West Coast by 0.5%.

Melbourne made history in 2017, competing as one of the eight foundation clubs in the inaugural AFL Women's competition. Led by captain Daisy Pearce and coach Mick Stinear, Melbourne took on the Brisbane Lions in the first game of the new league at Casey Fields.

At the end of the 2018 season Melbourne finished in fifth place on the ladder reaching the finals series for the first time since 2006. The Demons advanced to an eventual Preliminary final defeat to West Coast after defeating Geelong and Hawthorn. Melbourne's success could not be maintained in 2019 with the Demons finishing 17th on the ladder. In the shortened 2020 season interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Melbourne would finish ninth on the Ladder winning nine and losing eight games.

2021: premiership success after 57 years

Demons fans celebrate at Forrest Place in Perth following Melbourne's 2021 premiership win the previous day over the Western Bulldogs at Optus Stadium

Melbourne's victory over North Melbourne in Round 7 of the 2021 season put them on the top of the ladder for the first time since the third round of 2005. They won their first nine matches of a season for the first time since 1956. Melbourne's win over West Coast in Round 21 put them at the top of the ladder again and secured their first double chance in a finals series since the 2000 season. Their next win against Adelaide equalled their most wins in a season from 1956. With captain Max Gawn kicking a goal after the siren in the Round 23 match against Geelong, Melbourne finished the season as minor premiers for the first time since 1964. After defeating Brisbane in a qualifying final at the Adelaide Oval and Geelong in a preliminary final at Optus Stadium, the Demons reached their first grand final since 2000.[32] On 25 September, Melbourne won its 13th VFL/AFL premiership, defeating the Western Bulldogs by 74 points in the grand final at Optus Stadium in Perth; it was their first premiership since their 1964 victory against Collingwood. Christian Petracca was unanimously judged as best on the ground, winning the club's first Norm Smith Medal.[33]

2021 AFL Grand Final G B Total
Melbourne 21 14 140
Western Bulldogs 10 6 66
Venue: Perth Stadium Crowd: 61,118[34]


Melbourne's premiership defence began with 10 straight victories, increasing their streak from last year to 17, before suffering three losses on the bounce to fellow finalists Fremantle, Sydney and Collingwood. The Demons’ form in the second half of the 2022 season was inconsistent, but the reigning premiers emphatically secured a spot in the top four after a comfortable 58-point victory over Brisbane in the final round. The Demons finished second with a win–loss record of 16 wins and six losses, but came undone in the finals, bowing out in straight sets after losing to Sydney and Brisbane in the qualifying and semi final respectively.

The 2023 season for Melbourne was widely similar to its predecessor, going on frequent winning streaks and suffering sporadic losses to record 16 wins and seven losses for a fourth-placed finish. Their season ended in week two of the finals, losing to Collingwood and Carlton in the qualifying and semi final respectively, becoming the first team to suffer consecutive straight sets exits in two seasons under the current AFL finals system.

Club symbols


In one of the first practice matches between Melbourne teammates in 1859, both red and blue were worn and these colours quickly became associated with the Melbourne Football Club, although they were not used as part of the team's uniform.

In 1872, club member Larry Bell brought some red stockings back from England which were teemed with blue knickerbockers and jerseys and red caps. It is at this time that the team became known as the 'Redlegs'. Bell also brought back with him blue stockings which were reputedly given to the Carlton Football Club.[16]


In the early days of Australian football, players would wear whatever sporting clothing they had. As most of its players were members of the Melbourne Cricket Club, it quickly became the trend for Melbourne players to wear predominantly white clothes, which gave rise to the team being called the 'Invincible Whites'. For a brief period in 1861 and 1862, the club adopted magenta flannel shirts, but these were soon abandoned.

From 1872, a more standardised uniform was adopted, although it remained common for footballers to wear a mismatch of uniforms. Most footballers had dispensed with wearing cricket whites and were now choosing to wear woollen navy guernseys which were more suitable for winter play. The Melbourne team distinguished itself with red socks and a red cap. A canvas lace up guernsey was introduced in 1884 which featured a red leather strip down the middle and was worn by players up until 1915. In 1906, some players wore a navy woollen guernsey with a small red yoke around the neck. When Melbourne re-entered the competition for the 1919 season, a standardised uniform was used with a red V on a navy jumper. In 1925, the V was made smaller and raised to the collar with a red horizontal band added to the waist.[16]

The current club jumper of a red V-shaped yoke on a navy background was first adopted in 1935, and apart from very slight variations over the years, and a period in which royal blue was used between 1975 and 1986 due to the introduction of colour television, the jumper has remained the same.

The Melbourne clash strip, new in 2018, consists of a retro-inspired home strip of royal blue with a red yoke, including white shorts as worn between 1975 and 1986. The alternate away strip is the same as the home strip, with the difference being the back entirely in red to allow the club to wear a non-white alternate strip.

New Balance have manufactured Melbourne's on- and off-field apparel since 2011.[35]

Uniform evolution

Throughout its history, Melbourne has had different guernsey designs, as follows:[36]

1858–61 & 1863–71


Ronald Deeman – Melbourne Football Club's mascot, pictured at Melbourne's home ground, the MCG.

In 1933, Melbourne was beginning to rebuild its side and abandoned the name 'Fuchsias' for a more ferocious title—the 'Demons'. This was inspired by then coach Frank "Checker" Hughes reportedly saying to the players in a game to 'lift up your heads and play like demons!'.[16] Over the years, the club has used various iterations of demons as club mascots. This includes Ronald Deeman from the AFL Mascot Manor franchise.[37]

Checker and Daisy in February 2017

The current club mascots are Chuck, Checker, and Cheeky. Chuck is named after legendary coach Frank "Checker" Hughes; Daisy is named after the inaugural captain of the women's team, Daisy Pearce;[38] and Flash is named after the 2009 Keith "Bluey" Truscott Medallist, Aaron Davey.[39]


The official Melbourne Football Club song is called "It's a Grand Old Flag" (sung to the tune of George M. Cohan's 1906 song "You're a Grand Old Flag"). The song was first adopted by the club in 1912. The Demons primarily repeat the first verse of the song.

It's a grand old flag, it’s a high-flying flag,

It’s the emblem for me and for you;

It’s the emblem of the team we love,

The team of the Red and the Blue.

Every heart beats true for the Red and the Blue,

And we sing this song to you:

Should old acquaintance be forgot,

Keep your eye on the Red and the Blue.

A second verse was reputedly written by club champion Keith "Bluey" Truscott in 1940, referencing the club's 1939 and 1926 VFL premiership titles. The club resurrected the original second verse for the 2011 season.[40]

Oh, the team played fine in the year Thirty-nine,

We’re the Demons that no one can lick;

And you’ll find us there at the final bell,

With the spirit of Twenty-six.

Every heart beats true, for the Red and the Blue,

And we sing this song to you:

Should old acquaintance be forgot,

Keep your eye on the Red and the Blue.


Year Kit Manufacturer Major Sponsor Shorts Sponsor Bottom Back Sponsor Top Back Sponsor
1978–83 - Mayne Nickless - - -
1984 Hertz
1985–91 Drake International
1992 Snowy Mountain
1993 Pioneer Homes
1994 Tooheys Blue Demons Blue Tooheys
1995–97 Tooheys Metway Bank
1998 Canterbury LG Tooheys Victoria LG Electronics
1999 Hahn
2000 Fila
2001–02 Tooheys New
2003 Asics Subway
2004 iPrimus Primus Telecom
2005–06 Primus Telecom Red Energy
2007 The Age
2008 Reebok
2009 Hankook Kaspersky Lab
2010 Volvo
2011 New Balance Metro Solar
2012 Webjet Opel
2013 -
2014–16 AHG NT AHG
2017 IG iSelect
2018 Zurich
2019 Johnnie Walker Jaguar Cars
2020 Hertz Zurich
2021– Beyond Bank Australia

Home and training grounds

Melbourne's home ground has been the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) since 1889. From that time to 1980, the team was part of the Melbourne Cricket Club's sporting sections. The MCC operates and partially owns the MCG. The two clubs severed ties in 1980, though restored the relationship in 2009.[41][42] The club trained on the MCG until 1985, at which point they shifted to the Junction Oval in St Kilda, which served as the club's training base from 1986 until 2010.[43][44] In 2009, the Demons first moved their training facilities from the Junction Oval to Casey Fields.[45][46] Currently, the Demons' football offices and indoor training facilities are based at AAMI Park, where they moved in late 2010, and its administrative offices located within the MCG.[47] The club trains on the adjacent Gosch's Paddock public oval. The oval was upgraded in the 2021/22 off-season to increase the dimensions to better match the measurements of the MCG and Docklands Stadium.[48][49][50] Redevelopment of Goschs Paddock oval commenced on 5 December 2021.[51] Given AAMI Park is co-tenanted with three other professional sporting clubs, Melbourne have often investigated moving to a dedicated club-specific facility.[52] In August 2021 it was reported the club was considering moving all its football and administrative offices, and indoor training facilities, to the land where Car Park E next to AAMI Park is located.[47] In December 2023, the club commenced a feasibility study of land within the Caulfield Racecourse Reserve.[53][54]

Aside from the MCG, Melbourne also plays home games in the Northern Territory: from 2010 to 2019, Melbourne played one home game per year at Marrara Oval, and have played one home game per year at Traeger Park since 2014.

Melbourne amaintains a presence at Casey Fields in Cranbourne East, the home ground of its AFLW team and VFL/VFLW affiliate the Casey Demons. It based its AFL training program at the venue for the duration of the 2021 season, which was interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.[55]

Membership base and supporters

Melbourne has improved their membership and attendances steadily since the failed Hawthorn merger in 1996, building a membership base of over 30,000 since 2009. The membership record of 36,937 was set in 2011 before it was broken in April 2016 to finish with 39,211 for the 2016 season, this record was broken the next year in April 2017. In May 2017, Melbourne signed up 40,000 members for the first time. In May 2019, Melbourne signed up 50,000 members for the first time. A 2000 Roy Morgan AFL survey suggested that Melbourne supporters had the highest household income.[56]

Year Members Finishing position including finals position
1984 6,297 9th
1985 5,801 11th
1986 4,511 11th
1987 3,122 3rd
1988 10,078 2nd
1989 8,184 4th
1990 10,111 4th
1991 10,153 4th
1992 8,681 11th
1993 10,097 10th
1994 10,648 4th
1995 9,544 9th
1996 12,964 14th
1997 15,350 16th
1998 17,870 4th
1999 19,713 14th
2000 18,227 2nd
2001 22,940 11th
2002 20,152 6th
2003 20,844 14th
2004 25,252 7th
2005 24,220 8th
2006 24,698 5th
2007 28,077 14th
2008 29,619 16th
2009 31,506 16th
2010 33,358 12th
2011 36,937 13th
2012 35,345 16th
2013 33,177 17th
2014 35,911 17th
2015 35,953 13th
2016 39,211 11th
2017 42,233 9th
2018 44,279 4th
2019 52,421 17th
2020 40,571 9th
2021 53,188 1st
2022 66,484 5th
2023 70,785 6th

Notable supporters

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Club honours

Club achievements

Competition Level Wins Years Won
Australian Football League Seniors 13 1900, 1926, 1939, 1940, 1941, 1948, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1959, 1960, 1964, 2021
Reserves (1919–1999) 12 1931, 1932, 1933, 1934, 1935, 1939, 1949, 1956, 1969, 1970, 1984, 1993
Under 19s (1946–1991) 6 1947, 1953, 1964, 1971, 1981, 1983
AFL Women's Seniors 1 2022 (S7)
Victorian Football Association Seniors (1877–1896) Nil -
Victorian Premiership Seniors (1870–1876) 3 1870, 1872, 1876
Other titles and honours
McClelland Trophy Various[a] 6 1955, 1956, 1958, 1990, 2021, 2023
AFLX Tournament Seniors 1 2018
VFL/AFL pre-season competition Seniors 1 1989
VFL Night Series Seniors 2 1971, 1987
Lightning Premiership Seniors 1 1952
Finishing positions
Australian Football League Minor premiership 10 1939, 1940, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1964, 2021
Grand Finalist 5 1946, 1954, 1958, 1988, 2000
Wooden spoons 12 1905, 1906, 1919, 1923, 1951, 1969, 1974, 1978, 1981, 1997, 2008, 2009
AFL Women's Minor premiership Nil -
Grand Finalist 1 2022 (S6)
Wooden spoons Nil -

Melbourne Team of the Century

The Melbourne Football Club Team of the Century was announced on 24 June 2000 at Crown Casino. The selectors were Percy Beames (former player and journalist), Lynda Carroll (club historian), Bill Guest (MFC Director), Greg Hobbs (journalist), John Mitchell (former MFC and MCC President), Linda Pearce (journalist), Dudley Phillips (supporter), Stephen Phillips (media consultant) and Mike Sheahan (journalist), with CEO John Anderson as non-voting chairman.[63]

Melbourne Team of the Century
B: John Beckwith Tassie Johnson Don Cordner
HB: Noel McMahen Gary Hardeman Don Williams
C: Brian Dixon Allan La Fontaine Robert Flower
HF: Hassa Mann Ivor Warne-Smith Garry Lyon
F: Jack Mueller Norm Smith Percy Beames
Foll: Denis Cordner Ron Barassi (Captain) Stuart Spencer
Int: Frank Adams Albert Chadwick Wally Lock
Laurie Mithen Jim Stynes Todd Viney
Coach: Norm Smith

Stan Alves, Ian Ridley, Bob Johnson and Greg Wells were all named as emergencies.

Hall of Fame

The Hall of Fame was introduced in 2001 with Norm Smith inducted directly as a legend. The Hall of Fame consists of five legends and forty-four inductees.

Melbourne Football Club
Hall of Fame

Ron Barassi

Don Cordner

Ian Ridley

Norm Smith

Ivor Warne-Smith


Frank Adams
Sam Allica
Stan Alves
Ron Baggott
Percy Beames
John Beckwith
Joe Blair
Barry Bourke
Jim Cardwell

Geoff Case
Albert Chadwick
Denis Cordner
Brian Dixon
Robert Flower
Maurie Gibb
Gary Hardeman
H.C.A. Harrison
Greg Healy

Frank Hughes
Alan Johnson
Bob Johnson
Tassie Johnson
Allan La Fontaine
Clyde Laidlaw
Wally Lock
Brett Lovett
Garry Lyon

Hassa Mann
William McClelland
Fred McGinis
Shane McGrath
Noel McMahen
Laurie Mithen
Jack Mueller
David Neitz
Percy Page

Dudley Phillips
Stuart Spencer
Jim Stynes
Todd Viney
Greg Wells
Sean Wight
Don Williams
Tom Wills

Players listed in bold are inductees in the Australian Football Hall of Fame.
Players listed in bold and italics are legends in the Australian Football Hall of Fame.

"150 Heroes"

Melbourne FC announced its "150 Heroes" to celebrate its 150th anniversary at Crown Casino on 7 June 2008. Each player, or their closest relative, was presented with an official 150 heroes medallion. The criteria for inclusion was games played (minimum of 100), best-and-fairest awards, premierships, Brownlow Medals, contribution to the club and state representation. Those who died in the war were judged based on their achievements before their death.

The heroes named were:

Jim Abernethy, Frank Adams, Bill Allen, Stan Alves, Syd Anderson, Tony Anderson, Lance Arnold, Ron Baggott, Garry Baker, Harold Ball, Ron Barassi, Percy Beames, John Beckwith, George Bickford, Ray Biffin, Barry Bourke, Harry Brereton, Cameron Bruce, Keith Carroll, Geoff Case, Albert Chadwick, Noel Clarke, Geoff Collins, Jack Collins, Chris Connolly, Bob Corbett, Denis Cordner, Don Cordner, Ted Cordner, Vin Coutie, Harry Coy, Jim Davidson, Frank Davis, Ross Dillon, Carl Ditterich, Brian Dixon, Len Dockett, Adrian Dullard, Hugh Dunbar, Richie Emselle, Fred Fanning, Jeff Farmer, Matthew Febey, Steven Febey, Dick Fenton-Smith, Rowley Fischer, Robert Flower, Laurie Fowler, Maurie Gibb, Peter Giles, Terry Gleeson, Brad Green, Rod Grinter, George Haines, Gary Hardeman, Henry Harrison, Gerard Healy, Greg Healy, Dick Hingston, Paul Hopgood, Danny Hughes, Anthony Ingerson, Eddie Jackson, Alan Johnson, Bob Johnson, Tassie Johnson, Trevor Johnson, Travis Johnstone, Gordon Jones, Les Jones, Bryan Kenneally, Allan La Fontaine, Clyde Laidlaw, Frank Langley, Jack Leith, Andrew Leoncelli, Charlie Lilley, Wally Lock, Harry Long, John Lord, Andy Lovell, Brett Lovett, Glenn Lovett, Garry Lyon, Hassa Mann, George Margitich, Peter Marquis, Bernie Massey, Anthony McDonald, James McDonald, Fred McGinis, Shane McGrath, Bob McKenzie, Col McLean, Ian McLean, Noel McMahen, Ken Melville, Laurie Mithen, Peter Moore, Jack Mueller, David Neitz, Stephen Newport, Jack O'Keefe, Andrew Obst, Gordon Ogden, Greg Parke, Joe Pearce, Jack Purse, Ian Ridley, Guy Rigoni, Frank Roberts, Russell Robertson, Alby Rodda, Brian Roet, Peter Rohde, Alan Rowarth, David Schwarz, Norm Smith, Steven Smith, Earl Spalding, Stuart Spencer, Charlie Streeter, Steven Stretch, Jim Stynes, Tony Sullivan, Dick Taylor, Ted Thomas, Ian Thorogood, Stephen Tingay, John Townsend, Keith Truscott, Geoff Tunbridge, Bill Tymms, Barrie Vagg, Francis Vine, Todd Viney, Ivor Warne-Smith, Ray Wartman, Athol Webb, Greg Wells, Jeff White, Sean Wight, Don Williams, Brian Wilson, Stan Wittman, Shane Woewodin, Graeme Yeats, Charlie Young, Adem Yze

Match records

Current squad

Senior list Rookie list Coaching staff

Head coach

Assistant coaches

  • (c) Captain(s)
  • (vc) Vice-captain(s)
  • (B) Category B rookie
  • italics - Inactive player list
  • Long-term injury
  • (ret.) Retired

Updated: 1 July 2024
Source(s): Playing list, Coaching staff

Honour board

The honour board is listed from the first VFL/AFL season and includes the following individual awards:

 ^  Premiers,  *  Grand finalist,  †  Finals,  ‡  Wooden spoon
Bold italics: competition leading goal kicker

Season Position President Secretary/general
Coach Captain(s) Best and fairest Leading goalkicker (total) Harold Ball Memorial Trophy2
1897 4th† H. C. A. Harrison R. C. McLeod Ned Sutton Jack Leith (22)
1898 6th H. C. A. Harrison Amos Norcott Ned Sutton Charlie Young (21)
1899 6th H. C. A. Harrison Amos Norcott Eddie Sholl Jack Leith (21)
1900 1st^ H. C. A. Harrison Amos Norcott Dick Wardill Tommy Ryan (24)
1901 5th H. C. A. Harrison Amos Norcott William C. McClelland Frank Langley (17)
1902 4th† H. C. A. Harrison Amos Norcott William C. McClelland Jack Leith (26)
1903 7th H. C. A. Harrison Amos Norcott William C. McClelland Vince Coutie (19)
1904 6th H. C. A. Harrison Amos Norcott William C. McClelland Vince Coutie (39)
1905 8th‡ H. C. A. Harrison Amos Norcott Frank Langley Harry Cordner (16)
1906 8th‡ H. C. A. Harrison Amos Norcott Arthur Sowden Basil Onyons (16)
1907 7th T. F. Morkham George Beachcroft Alex Hall Vince Coutie Jack Leith (21)
1908 8th T. F. Morkham Amos Norcott Alex Hall Hugh Purse Vince Coutie (37)
1909 5th T. F. Morkham J. A. Harper Alex Hall Bernie Nolan Harry Brereton (34)
1910 9th T. F. Morkham G. W. Lamb Eddie Drohan Vince Coutie Stan Fairbairn (24)
1911 7th A. A. Aitken G. W. Lamb Alex Hall Vince Coutie Harry Brereton (46)
1912 6th William C. McClelland Andrew Manzie Alex Hall Alf George Harry Brereton (56)
1913 9th William C. McClelland Andrew Manzie Alex Hall Alf George Mick Maguire (13)
1914 9th William C. McClelland Andrew Manzie Len Incigneri[69][70] Len Incigneri Arthur Best (30)
1915 4th† William C. McClelland Andrew Manzie Jack McKenzie Jack McKenzie Roy Park (35)
1916–19183 William C. McClelland Andrew Manzie George Heinz George Heinz
1919 9th‡ William C. McClelland Andrew Manzie George Heinz George Heinz George Heinz (15)
1920 8th William C. McClelland Andrew Manzie Gerald Brosnan George Heinz Harry Harker (23)
1921 6th William C. McClelland Andrew Manzie Percy Wilson Percy Wilson Harry Harker (47)
1922 6th William C. McClelland Andrew Manzie Percy Wilson Percy Wilson Harry Harker (47)
1923 9th‡ William C. McClelland Andrew Manzie Percy Wilson Percy Wilson Percy Tulloh (31)
1924 8th William C. McClelland Andrew Manzie Gordon Rattray Albert Chadwick Percy Tulloh (24)
1925 3rd† William C. McClelland Andrew Manzie Albert Chadwick Albert Chadwick Harry Davie (56)
1926 1st^ William C. McClelland Andrew Manzie Albert Chadwick Albert Chadwick Harry Moyes (55)
1927 5th Vernon Ransford Andrew Manzie Albert Chadwick Albert Chadwick Harry Davie (40)
1928 3rd† Vernon Ransford Andrew Manzie Ivor Warne-Smith Ivor Warne-Smith Bob Johnson (55)
1929 5th Joe Blair Andrew Manzie Ivor Warne-Smith Ivor Warne-Smith Dick Taylor (30)
1930 5th Joe Blair Andrew Manzie Ivor Warne-Smith Ivor Warne-Smith George Margitich (73)
1931 8th Joe Blair Andrew Manzie Ivor Warne-Smith Ivor Warne-Smith George Margitich (66)
1932 9th Joe Blair Charlie Streeter Ivor Warne-Smith Francis Vine George Margitich (60)
1933 10th Joe Blair Percy Page Frank 'Checker' Hughes Francis Vine Bob Johnson (62) Les Jones
1934 6th Joe Blair Percy Page Frank 'Checker' Hughes Colin Niven Jack Mueller (52) Allan La Fontaine
1935 6th Joe Blair Percy Page Frank 'Checker' Hughes Colin Niven Allan La Fontaine Maurie Gibb (59) Ray Wartman
1936 3rd† Joe Blair Percy Page Frank 'Checker' Hughes Allan La Fontaine Allan La Fontaine Eric Glass (56)
1937 3rd† Joe Blair Percy Page Frank 'Checker' Hughes Allan La Fontaine Jack Mueller Ron Baggott (51)
1938 5th Joe Blair Percy Page Frank 'Checker' Hughes Allan La Fontaine Norm Smith Norm Smith (80) Dick Hingston
1939 1st^ Joe Blair Percy Page Frank 'Checker' Hughes Allan La Fontaine Jack Mueller Norm Smith (54) Harold Ball
1940 1st^ Joe Blair Percy Page Frank 'Checker' Hughes Allan La Fontaine Ron Baggott Norm Smith (86) Col McLean
1941 1st^ Joe Blair Percy Page Frank 'Checker' Hughes Allan La Fontaine Allan La Fontaine Norm Smith (89) Ted Cordner
1942 8th Joe Blair Jack Chessell Percy Beames Percy Beames Allan La Fontaine Fred Fanning (37)
1943 7th Joe Blair Jack Chessell Percy Beames Percy Beames Don Cordner Fred Fanning (62)
1944 8th Joe Blair Jack Chessell Percy Beames Percy Beames Norm Smith Fred Fanning (87) Es Downey
1945 9th Joe Blair Jack Chessell Frank 'Checker' Hughes Norm Smith Fred Fanning Fred Fanning (67)
1946 2nd* Joe Blair Jack Chessell Frank 'Checker' Hughes Norm Smith Jack Mueller Jack Mueller (58) Len Dockett
1947 6th William Flintoft Jack Chessell Frank 'Checker' Hughes Norm Smith Wally Lock Fred Fanning (97) Eddie Jackson
1948 1st^ William Flintoft Alex Gray Frank 'Checker' Hughes Don Cordner Alby Rodda Lance Arnold (41)
1949 5th William Flintoft Alex Gray Allan La Fontaine Don Cordner Len Dockett Bob McKenzie (40) Mike Woods
1950 4th† Albert Chadwick A. S. Thompson Allan La Fontaine Shane McGrath Denis Cordner Denis Cordner (36)
1951 12th‡ Albert Chadwick Jim Cardwell Allan La Fontaine Denis Cordner Noel McMahen Bob McKenzie (40) John Beckwith
1952 6th Albert Chadwick Jim Cardwell Norm Smith Denis Cordner Geoff McGivern Noel Clarke (49)
1953 11th Albert Chadwick Jim Cardwell Norm Smith Denis Cordner Ken Melville Bob McKenzie (38) Ken Melville
1954 2nd* Albert Chadwick Jim Cardwell Norm Smith Geoff Collins Denis Cordner Noel Clarke (51) Bob Johnson
1955 1st^ Albert Chadwick Jim Cardwell Norm Smith Noel McMahen Stuart Spencer Stuart Spencer (34) Trevor Johnson
1956 1st^ Albert Chadwick Jim Cardwell Norm Smith Noel McMahen Stuart Spencer Bob Johnson (43) Jim Sandral
1957 1st^ Albert Chadwick Jim Cardwell Norm Smith John Beckwith John Beckwith Athol Webb (56) Geoff Tunbridge
1958 2nd* Albert Chadwick Jim Cardwell Norm Smith John Beckwith Laurie Mithen Ron Barassi (44),
Athol Webb (44)
Alan Rowarth
1959 1st^ Albert Chadwick Jim Cardwell Norm Smith John Beckwith Laurie Mithen Ron Barassi (46) Hassa Mann
1960 1st^ Albert Chadwick Jim Cardwell Norm Smith Ron Barassi Brian Dixon Ian Ridley (38) Ray Nilsson
1961 3rd† Albert Chadwick Jim Cardwell Norm Smith Ron Barassi Ron Barassi Bob Johnson (36) Brian Roet
1962 4th† Albert Chadwick Jim Cardwell Norm Smith Ron Barassi Hassa Mann Laurie Mithen (37) John Townsend
1963 3rd† Donald Duffy Jim Cardwell Norm Smith Ron Barassi Hassa Mann Barry Bourke (48) Barry Bourke
1964 1st^ Donald Duffy Jim Cardwell Norm Smith Ron Barassi Ron Barassi John Townsend (35) Graeme Jacobs
1965 7th Donald Duffy Jim Cardwell Norm Smith Hassa Mann John Townsend John Townsend (34)
1966 11th Donald Duffy Jim Cardwell Norm Smith Hassa Mann Terry Leahy Barrie Vagg (20) Terry Leahy
1967 7th Donald Duffy Jim Cardwell Norm Smith Hassa Mann Hassa Mann Hassa Mann (38)
1968 8th Donald Duffy Jim Cardwell John Beckwith Hassa Mann Ray Groom Hassa Mann (29) Greg Parke
1969 12th‡ Donald Duffy Jim Cardwell John Beckwith Hassa Mann John Townsend Ross Dillon (48) Paul Rowlands
1970 10th Donald Duffy Jim Cardwell John Beckwith Tassie Johnson Frank Davis Ross Dillon (41) Graham Molloy
1971 7th Donald Duffy Jim Cardwell Ian Ridley Frank Davis Greg Wells Paul Callery (38)
1972 8th Donald Duffy Jim Cardwell Ian Ridley Frank Davis Stan Alves Greg Parke (63) Ross Brewer
1973 10th Donald Duffy Jim Cardwell Ian Ridley Stan Alves Carl Ditterich Ross Brewer (32) Robert Flower
1974 12th‡ Donald Duffy Jim Cardwell Bob Skilton Stan Alves Stan Alves Ross Brewer (40) Garry Baker
1975 10th John Mitchell Jim Cardwell Bob Skilton Stan Alves Laurie Fowler Greg Wells (32) Marty Lyons
1976 6th John Mitchell Ivan Moore Bob Skilton Stan Alves Greg Wells Ray Biffin (47) Peter O'Keefe
1977 11th John Mitchell Ray Manley Bob Skilton Greg Wells Robert Flower Ross Brewer (26) Tom Flower
1978 12th‡ John Mitchell Ray Manley Dennis Jones Greg Wells Garry Baker Henry Coles (33) Peter Thorne
1979 11th Wayne Reid Ray Manley Carl Ditterich Carl Ditterich Laurie Fowler Robert Flower (33) Peter Giles
1980 9th Wayne Reid Richard Seddon Carl Ditterich Carl Ditterich Laurie Fowler Brent Crosswell (31) Stephen Bickford
1981 12th‡ Billy Snedden Richard Seddon Ron Barassi Robert Flower Steven Smith Mark Jackson (76) Mark Jackson
1982 8th Billy Snedden Richard Seddon Ron Barassi Robert Flower Steven Icke Gerard Healy (77) Adrian Battiston
1983 8th Billy Snedden Richard Seddon Ron Barassi Robert Flower Alan Johnson Robert Flower (40) Russell Richards
1984 9th Billy Snedden Richard Seddon Ron Barassi Robert Flower Gerard Healy Kelvin Templeton (51) Graeme Yeats
1985 11th Billy Snedden Ray Manley Ron Barassi Robert Flower Danny Hughes Brian Wilson (40) Rod Grinter
1986 11th Billy Snedden,6
Stuart Spencer
Ray Manley John Northey Robert Flower Greg Healy Greg Healy (35) Garry Lyon
1987 3rd† Stuart Spencer Tony King John Northey Robert Flower Steven Stretch Robert Flower (47) Steven O'Dwyer
1988 2nd* Stuart Spencer Tony King John Northey Greg Healy Steven O'Dwyer Ricky Jackson (43) Andy Lovell
1989 4th† Stuart Spencer Tony King John Northey Greg Healy Alan Johnson Darren Bennett (34) Luke Beveridge
1990 4th† Stuart Spencer Tony King John Northey Greg Healy Garry Lyon Darren Bennett (87) Rod Keogh
1991 4th† Stuart Spencer,7
Ian Ridley
Tony King John Northey Garry Lyon Jim Stynes Allen Jakovich (71) Allen Jakovich
1992 11th Ian Ridley Tony King7,
Hassa Mann
John Northey Garry Lyon Glenn Lovett Allen Jakovich (40) Chris Sullivan
1993 10th Ian Ridley Hassa Mann Neil Balme Garry Lyon Todd Viney Allen Jakovich (39) David Neitz
1994 4th† Ian Ridley Hassa Mann Neil Balme Garry Lyon Garry Lyon Garry Lyon (79) Paul Prymke
1995 9th Ian Ridley Hassa Mann Neil Balme Garry Lyon Jim Stynes Garry Lyon (77) Adem Yze
1996 14th Ian Ridley,7
Joseph Gutnick
Hassa Mann Neil Balme Garry Lyon Jim Stynes David Neitz (56) Darren O'Brien
1997 16th‡ Joseph Gutnick Hassa Mann,7
Cameron Schwab
Neil Balme,4
Greg Hutchison5
Garry Lyon Jim Stynes David Neitz (30),
Jeff Farmer (30)
Anthony McDonald
1998 4th† Joseph Gutnick Cameron Schwab Neale Daniher Todd Viney Todd Viney Jeff Farmer (47) Guy Rigoni
1999 14th Joseph Gutnick Cameron Schwab,7
John Anderson
Neale Daniher Todd Viney David Schwarz David Neitz (46) Peter Walsh
2000 2nd* Joseph Gutnick John Anderson Neale Daniher David Neitz Shane Woewodin Jeff Farmer (76) Matthew Whelan
2001 11th Joseph Gutnick,7
Gabriel Szondy
John Anderson Neale Daniher David Neitz Adem Yze Russell Robertson (42) Scott Thompson
2002 6th† Gabriel Szondy John Anderson Neale Daniher David Neitz David Neitz David Neitz (82) Steven Armstrong
2003 14th Gabriel Szondy,7
Paul Gardner
Ray Ellis Neale Daniher David Neitz Russell Robertson David Neitz (65) Ryan Ferguson
2004 7th† Paul Gardner Steve Harris Neale Daniher David Neitz Jeff White David Neitz (69) Aaron Davey
2005 8th† Paul Gardner Steve Harris Neale Daniher David Neitz Travis Johnstone Russell Robertson (73) Chris Johnson
2006 5th† Paul Gardner Steve Harris Neale Daniher David Neitz James McDonald David Neitz (68) Clint Bartram
2007 14th Paul Gardner Steve Harris Neale Daniher,6
Mark Riley5
David Neitz James McDonald Russell Robertson (42) Ricky Petterd
2008 16th‡ Paul Gardner,7
Jim Stynes
Paul McNamee4
Cameron Schwab
Dean Bailey David Neitz Cameron Bruce Brad Miller (26) Cale Morton
2009 16th‡ Jim Stynes Cameron Schwab Dean Bailey James McDonald Aaron Davey Russell Robertson (29) Liam Jurrah
2010 12th Jim Stynes Cameron Schwab Dean Bailey James McDonald Brad Green Brad Green (55) Tom Scully
2011 13th Jim Stynes Cameron Schwab Dean Bailey,4
Todd Viney5
Brad Green Brent Moloney Liam Jurrah (40) Jeremy Howe
2012 16th Jim Stynes,7
Don McLardy
Cameron Schwab Mark Neeld Jack Grimes,
Jack Trengove
Nathan Jones Mitch Clark (29) Tom McDonald
2013 17th Don McLardy,7
Glen Bartlett
Cameron Schwab,7
Peter Jackson
Mark Neeld4
Neil Craig5
Jack Grimes,
Jack Trengove
Nathan Jones Jeremy Howe (28) Jack Viney
2014 17th Glen Bartlett Peter Jackson Paul Roos Jack Grimes,
Nathan Jones
Nathan Jones Chris Dawes (20) Dom Tyson
2015 13th Glen Bartlett Peter Jackson Paul Roos Nathan Jones Bernie Vince Jesse Hogan (44) Jesse Hogan
2016 11th Glen Bartlett Peter Jackson Paul Roos Nathan Jones Jack Viney Jesse Hogan (41) Jayden Hunt
2017 9th Glen Bartlett Peter Jackson Simon Goodwin Nathan Jones
Jack Viney
Clayton Oliver Jeff Garlett (42) Clayton Oliver
2018 4th† Glen Bartlett Peter Jackson Simon Goodwin Nathan Jones
Jack Viney
Max Gawn Tom McDonald (53) Bayley Fritsch
2019 17th Glen Bartlett Gary Pert Simon Goodwin Nathan Jones
Jack Viney
Max Gawn
Clayton Oliver
Christian Petracca (22) Harrison Petty
2020 9th Glen Bartlett Gary Pert Simon Goodwin Max Gawn Christian Petracca Bayley Fritsch (22) Luke Jackson
2021 1st^ Glen Bartlett,7
Kate Roffey
Gary Pert Simon Goodwin Max Gawn Clayton Oliver Bayley Fritsch (59) Kysaiah Pickett
2022 5th† Kate Roffey Gary Pert Simon Goodwin Max Gawn Clayton Oliver Bayley Fritsch (55) Jake Bowey
2023 6th† Kate Roffey Gary Pert Simon Goodwin Max Gawn Christian Petracca Bayley Fritsch (38) Judd McVee
Jacob van Rooyen

Individual awards

Best and Fairest

See Keith 'Bluey' Truscott Medal

Norm Smith Medal winners

Main article: Norm Smith Medal

Brownlow Medal winners

Main article: Brownlow Medal

Leigh Matthews Trophy

Main article: Leigh Matthews Trophy

VFL Leading Goalkicker Medal winners (1897–1954)

Coleman Medal winners (since 1955)

Main article: Coleman Medal

AFL Rising Star winners

Main article: AFL Rising Star

Mark of the Year winners

Main article: Mark of the Year

Goal of the Year winners

Main article: Goal of the Year (AFL)

All-Australian – AFL (since 1991)

Main article: All-Australian team

VFL Team of the Year (1982–1990)

All-Australian players – Interstate Carnivals (1953–1988)

National team representatives (since 1998)

Main article: Australia international rules football team

AFL Women's team

Melbourne captain Daisy Pearce leads her players past the men's side during round 3 of the 2017 AFL Women's season.

In June 2013, the club fielded a women's representative side known as the Chappettes against Western Bulldogs in the first AFL-sanctioned women's exhibition match, held at the MCG. The two teams competed annually over the next three years for the Hampson-Hardeman Cup.[72] In 2016, when the AFL announced plans for AFL Women's, an eight team national women's league competition, Melbourne was asked to submit an application for a licence alongside other AFL clubs. [73] The club was one of four Melbourne-based clubs to be granted a licence that year.[74]

The club's first players were marquee signings Daisy Pearce and Melissa Hickey.[75] The full list was completed later in the year with signings and selections made in the October draft period.

Oakleigh Chargers coach Mick Stinear was appointed the team's inaugural head coach in September 2016.[76]

Current squad

Senior list Rookie list Coaching staff
  • 28 Saraid Taylor
  • 29 Eden Zanker
  • 30 Shelley Heath
  • 32 Gabrielle Colvin
  •    Grace Hill
  •    Jacinta Hose
  •    Lily Johnson
  •    Delany Madigan
  •    Alyssia Pisano
  •    Jemma Rigoni
  •    Ryleigh Wotherspoon

Head coach

Assistant coaches

  • Matt Brewer (midfield)
  • Tamara Hyett (back line)
  • Shae Sloane (forward line)
  • Justin Crough (ruck)
  • Ben Brown (specialist; key position/ruck)
  • Jon Stinear (development/runner)

  • (c) Captain(s)
  • (vc) Vice-captain(s)
  • italics – Inactive player list
  • Long-term injury

Updated: 1 July 2024
Source(s): Players, coaches

Season summaries

Melbourne AFLW honour roll
Season Ladder W–L–D Finals Coach Captain(s) Best and fairest Leading goal kicker
2017 3rd 5–2–0 DNQ Mick Stinear Daisy Pearce Daisy Pearce Alyssa Mifsud (9)
2018 3rd 4–3–0 DNQ Mick Stinear Daisy Pearce Daisy Pearce (2) Tegan Cunningham (9)
2019 4th ^ 4–3–0 DNQ Mick Stinear Elise O'Dea & Shelley Scott Karen Paxman Tegan Cunningham (8)
2020 4th ^ 4–2–0 Semi-final Mick Stinear Daisy Pearce Shelley Scott Kate Hore (5)
2021 4th 7–2–0 Preliminary final Mick Stinear Daisy Pearce Tyla Hanks & Karen Paxman (2) Kate Hore (12)
2022 (S6) 2nd 9–1–0 Grand final Mick Stinear Daisy Pearce Daisy Pearce (3) Tayla Harris (18)
2022 (S7) 2nd 9–1–0 Premiers Mick Stinear Daisy Pearce Kate Hore Kate Hore (17)
2023 2nd 8–2–0 Semi Final Mick Stinear Kate Hore Tyla Hanks (2) & Kate Hore (2) Eden Zanker (23)

^ Denotes the ladder was split into two conferences. Figure refers to the club's overall finishing position in the home-and-away season.

See also


  1. ^ Between 1951 and 1990 the McClelland Trophy was awarded to the club with the highest-aggregate points across the VFL/AFL seniors premiership, VFL/AFL reserves premiership, and VFL/AFL under 19s premiership. Between 1991 and 2022 it was awarded to the club who finished on top of the AFL premiership ladder, thereby merging it with the minor premiership. Since 2023 it has been awarded to the club with the highest aggregate-points across the AFL and AFL Women's competitions.
1.^ The 2020 AFL season was shortened by five rounds as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
2.^ Awarded to the best first year player (1933–2011), then to the best young player (2012–present).
3.^ In recess owing to war.
4.^ Sacked mid-season.
5.^ Caretaker coach.
6.^ Retired mid-season.
7.^ Resigned mid-season.


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