The Melbourne Football Club boasts a legacy as rich as any sporting organisation on the planet. Founded in May 1859, it is the world’s oldest professional football club of any variety.
MFC’s recent history is far less auspicious. Since the infamous sacking of six-time premiership coach Norm Smith in 1965, the once-mighty Demons have claimed the wooden spoon seven times and played in only two grand finals. With the Western Bulldogs’ fairytale win in 2016, Melbourne now hold the longest active streak without a premiership.
Things were looking up when Simon Goodwin steered a young, talented team to the preliminary finals in 2018, but it all fell apart the following year as the Dees plummeted to 17th on the ladder.
The question is: where do Melbourne sit in the race for the 2020 AFL Premiership title? Let’s find out.
About the Melbourne Football Club
|Home ground:||Melbourne Cricket Ground|
|Premierships:||12 – 1900, 1926, 1939, 1940, 1941, 1948, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1959, 1960, 1964|
|2019 ladder finish:||17th|
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Updated Melbourne futures odds
Betting on futures markets surround the Melbourne Demons is easy, with all of the best Australian online betting sites boasting extensive AFL prices. We recommend always checking Demons odds on markets with multiple bookies, so you always get the best AFL odds.
|2020 Premiership||Make Finals||Make Top 4||Brownlow Odds||Rising Star Odds||Coleman Odds|
|Jan||$23||$2.75||$7||M Gawn $34||L Jackson $10||T McDonald $41|
|Feb||$23||$2.75||$7||M Gawn $34||L Jackson $10||T McDonald $41|
|Mar||$23||$2.75||$7||M Gawn $34||L Jackson $10||T McDonald $41|
|May||$34||$2.75||$8.50||M Gawn $34||L Jackson $13||T McDonald $41|
|Jun||$41||$2.75||$8.50||M Gawn $34||L Jackson $13||T McDonald $41|
|Jul||$34||$3.75||$12||C Petracca $15||L Jackson $26||S Weideman $67|
|Aug||$26||$1.67||$5||C Petracca $8||L Jackson $26||S Weideman $126|
Best Melbourne bets for the 2020 AFL season
There are dozens of AFL futures markets for Melbourne, but where are they likely to return some real value?
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- Melbourne started 2019 as one of the flag favourites and finished the season two games away from the wooden spoon. It was a horror year by anyone’s measure, so it is hard to get a read on where the Dees stand in this year’s premiership race. Give it a few rounds before you even consider backing Melbourne to win it all.
- If we assume that the Gold Coast Suns have the wooden spoon in the bag, the only way is up for Melbourne. But can they bounce back into the eight straight away? The Dees showed two years ago that the talent is there, so an immediate return to finals is not out of the question.
- Max Gawn is Melbourne’s main man in the Brownlow Medal betting. The star ruckman has polled 37 votes over the past two years and is hard to miss when he is playing well. Angus Brayshaw and Clayton Oliver also have prior form at the count, while the gifted but frustrating Christian Petracca is an interesting prospect at massive odds.
- No.3 draft pick Luke Jackson is rated a very good chance in this year’s AFL Rising Star betting. Simon Goodwin has predicted that the former basketballer will one day become the tallest midfielder in AFL history, so watch this space.
- Tom McDonald struggled last season without Jesse Hogan around to soak up the best defenders, but he will start 2020 as Melbourne’s best bet for the Coleman Medal. It is difficult to think of another option besides Christian Petracca, who topped the club goalkicking last year with a mere 22 majors.
Demons players to watch in 2020
Many in the footy industry saw May as the missing piece of the Melbourne puzzle when he made the switch from the Gold Coast last year, but he managed only eight games in a deeply disappointing debut campaign. Dees fans will expect a hell of a lot more in 2020.
After bolting to within a few votes of the 2018 Brownlow Medal, Brayshaw suffered a severe slump in 2019. The gutsy on-baller has overcome plenty of obstacles to get this far in his career, so he should bounce back this season.
Petracca might be the most talented player on Melbourne’s list, but he is yet to match his obvious ability with the consistency required of an AFL footballer. The former no.2 draft pick is running out of chances to prove his worth at the highest level.
Melbourne records, stats and history
- Most matches: 306 – David Neitz (1993-2008)
Most career goals: 631 – David Neitz
Most goals in a season: 97 – Fred Fanning (1947)
Most goals in a match: 18 – Fred Fanning (vs. St Kilda, 1947)
Best and fairest awards: Four – Allan La Fontaine (1935, 1936, 1941-42) and Jim Stynes (1991, 1995-97)
- Most wins in a season: 16 (1958 and 1990)
Most consecutive wins: 19 (1955-56)
Highest score in a match: 28.14.182 (vs. North Melbourne, 1986 and 1991)
Highest winning margin: 141 (vs. Hawthorn, 1926)
Highest home attendance: 99,256 (vs. Collingwood, 1958)
- Without the Melbourne Football Club, there is no Australian rules football.
The team’s origins can be traced back to 1858, when a group led by Victoria’s cricket captain, Tom Wills, published a letter calling for the codification of a new sport to keep players fit during the winter months. Meetings held at Parade Hotel the following May spawned ‘The Rules of the Melbourne Football Club’ – and so both MFC and Aussie rules were born.
While the Redlegs were the driving force behind footy’s early development, on-field success was scarce. They failed to win a VFA Premiership despite reaching the grand final four times and managed only a single VFL flag (1900) before the outbreak of World War I.
It was not until World War II that Melbourne became a true powerhouse of the competition. Frank ‘Checker’ Hughes coached the team to four premierships between 1933 and 1948, including three on the bounce from ’39 to ’41. Hughes is also widely credited with rebranding the club as the Demons.
The following two decades were even more glorious. Four-time premiership star Norm Smith was installed as coach in 1952 and Ron Barassi made his debut a year later. That pairing would lead Melbourne to six flags, including an astonishing run of five in six years from 1955 to 1960.
Everything changed in 1964. Shortly after helping the Dees to their 12th VFL title, Barassi left to take over as captain-coach at Carlton. Frictions between Smith and the Melbourne board – much of which had to do with Barassi’s departure – led to the superstar coach’s sensational axing during the ’65 season.
The club has never been the same since. Although Smith returned and coached another two seasons, the damage was done and the glory days were over. Melbourne went 23 years without playing finals and have reached the big dance only twice since ’64, losing to mighty Hawthorn in 1988 and to the all-conquering Essendon side of 2000.
Events of the past two decades will give MFC supporters hope that sunny days are just around the corner. Since the Brisbane Lions broke their duck in 2001, the Sydney Swans, Geelong, Western Bulldogs and Richmond have all snapped lengthy premiership droughts. Can Simon Goodwin lift the Curse of the Red Fox once and for all?