Melbourne FC 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.
However, there is an air of optimism around the club these days. Membership is at an all-time high after Simon Goodwin steered a young, talented team to the preliminary finals in 2018, and many are predicting even better things from the Dees this year.
The question is: where do Melbourne sit in the race for the 2019 AFL Premiership title? Let’s find out.
About the Melbourne Football Club
|Home ground:||Melbourne Cricket Ground|
|Captains:||Nathan Jones and Jack Viney|
|Premierships:||12 – 1900, 1926, 1939, 1940, 1941, 1948, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1959, 1960, 1964|
|2018 ladder finish:||5th|
Best bookies for Melbourne Demons betting
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Updated Melbourne futures odds
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|2019 Premiership||Make Finals||Make Top 4||Brownlow Odds||Rising Star Odds||Coleman Odds|
|Jan||$8||$1.25||$2||M Gawn $21|
Best Melbourne bets for the 2018 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 are among a small crop of mid-table teams that could be right on the verge of a premiership window. They have an excellent batch of tough, talented midfielders, high-quality rebounding defenders and one of the game’s best young forwards in Jesse Hogan. Punters looking for a bolt from the blue could do much, much worse.
- The Dees opened 2018 smack bang on the -111.11 line in top eight betting, meaning bookies rate them an even chance to make or miss the finals. If they improve on last season, however, a top-four finish is not beyond them. Remember, the red and the blue were in and around fifth place for a good chunk of 2017.
- Nuggety young midfielder Clayton Oliver topped Melbourne’s Brownlow Medal count last year with 12 votes. Bookies have him as the best bet again for the Demons, but co-captain Jack Viney looks a very good option at longer odds. Don’t expect either to threaten in the overall count just yet.
- The Redlegs don’t have any realistic contenders for the 2018 AFL Rising Star gong. Young tall Sam Weideman and former Freo mid Harley Balic look the most likely to earn a nomination.
- Jesse Hogan is rightly among the top dozen candidates to take out the Coleman Medal in 2018. After missing a big chunk of last season with testicular cancer and then a busted collarbone, the West Australian will be determined to remind everyone why he won the 2015 Rising Star award. If you are looking for a long shot, Tom McDonald acquitted himself very well indeed in his first season up forward.
Melbourne 2019 AFL fixture
|1||Port Adelaide Power||MCG||Saturday, March 23||1:45pm AEDT|
|2||Geelong Cats||GMHBA Stadium||Saturday, March 30||7:25pm AEDT|
|3||Essendon Bombers||MCG||Friday, April 5||7:50pm AEDT|
|4||Sydney Swans||SCG||Thursday, April 11||7:20pm AEST|
|5||St Kilda Saints||MCG||Saturday, April 20||4:35pm AEST|
|6||Richmond Tigers||MCG||Wednesday, April 24||7:35pm AEST|
|7||Hawthorn Hawks||MCG||Saturday, May||1:45pm AEST|
|8||Gold Coast Suns||Metricon Stadium||Saturday, May 11||4:35pm AEST|
|9||West Coast Eagles||Optus Stadium||Friday, May 17||6:10pm AWST|
|10||GWS Giants||MCG||Sunday, May 26||1:10pm AEST|
|11||Adelaide Crows||TIO Stadium||Saturday, June 1||7:10pm ACST|
|12||Collingwood Magpies||MCG||Monday, June 10||3:20pm AEST|
|14||Fremantle Dockers||MCG||Saturday, June 22||1:45pm AEST|
|15||Brisbane Lions||The Gabba||Sunday, June 30||3:20pm AEST|
|16||Carlton Blues||MCG||Sunday, July 7||1:10pm AEST|
|17||Western Bulldogs||Marvel Stadium||Sunday, July 14||3:20pm AEST|
|18||West Coast Eagles||Traeger Park||Sunday, July 21||2:50pm ACST|
|19||St Kilda Saints||Marvel Stadium||Saturday, July 27||7:25pm AEST|
|20||Richmond Tigers||MCG||Saturday, August 3||7:25pm AEST|
|21||Collingwood Magpies||MCG||Saturday, August 10||1:45pm AEST|
|22||Sydney Swans||MCG||Friday, August 16||7:50pm AEST|
|23||North Melbourne Kangaroos||Blundstone Arena||TBD||TBD|
2018 Melbourne squad
|1. Jesse Hogan||12/2/1995||51||105||Forward||Claremont (WA)|
|2. Nathan Jones||20/1/1988||239||115||Midfield||Dandenong Stingrays|
|3. Christian Salem||15/7/1995||46||13||Defence||Sandringham Dragons|
|4. James Harmes||5/10/1995||44||29||Forward||Dandenong Stingrays|
|5. Christian Petracca||4/1/1996||39||38||Mid/fwd||Eastern Ranges|
|6. Jordan Lewis||24/4/1986||283||150||Midfield||Hawthorn|
|7. Jack Viney||13/4/1994||88||25||Midfield||Oakleigh Chargers|
|8. Jake Lever||5/3/1996||56||3||Defence||Adelaide Crows|
|9. Charlie Spargo||25/11/1999||–||–||Forward||Murray Bushrangers|
|10. Angus Brayshaw||9/1/1996||36||14||Midfield||Sandringham Dragons|
|11. Max Gawn||30/12/1991||74||38||Ruck||Sandringham Dragons|
|12. Dom Tyson||8/6/1993||90||42||Midfield||GWS Giants|
|13. Clayton Oliver||22/7/1997||35||10||Midfield||Murray Bushrangers|
|14. Michael Hibberd||3/1/1990||102||12||Defence||Essendon|
|15. Steven Stretch||8/9/1996||36||8||Midfield||Glenelg|
|16. Dean Kent||24/2/1994||58||56||Fwd/mid||Perth|
|17. Sam Frost||28/8/1993||56||8||Defence||GWS Giants|
|19. Mitch Hannan||9/3/1994||20||22||Forward||Footscray VFL|
|21. Cameron Pedersen||17/3/1987||76||67||Utility||North Melbourne|
|22. Aaron vandenBerg||3/3/1992||28||17||Midfield||Ainslie|
|23. Bernie Vince||2/10/1985||212||112||Midfield||Adelaide Crows|
|24. Jay Kennedy-Harris||21/3/1995||28||11||Mid/fwd||Oakleigh Chargers|
|25. Tom McDonald||18/9/1992||126||31||Def/fwd||North Ballarat Rebels|
|26. Sam Weideman||26/6/1997||10||6||Forward||Eastern Ranges|
|27. Harley Balic||5/1/1997||4||3||Midfield||Fremantle|
|28. Oscar McDonald||18/3/1996||37||0||Defence||North Ballarat Rebels|
|29. Jayden Hunt||3/4/1995||41||10||Defence||Brighton Grammar|
|30. Alex Neal-Bullen||9/1/1996||34||23||Midfield||Glenelg|
|31. Bayley Fritsch||6/12/1996||–||–||Forward||Casey Demons VFL|
|32. Tomas Bugg||5/4/1993||93||30||Fwd/def||GWS Giants|
|33. Oskar Baker||25/5/1998||–||–||Midfield||Aspley|
|34. Mitch King||1/1/1997||–||–||Ruck||Murray Bushrangers|
|35. Harrison Petty||12/11/1999||–||–||Defence||Norwood|
|36. Jeff Garlett||3/8/1989||167||294||Forward||Carlton|
|37. Dion Johnstone||1/6/1998||–||–||Forward||Oakleigh Chargers|
|39. Neville Jetta||12/2/1990||116||24||Defence||Swan Districts|
|40. Pat McKenna||12/8/1996||–||–||Defence||GWS Giants|
|42. Josh Wagner||24/6/1994||23||2||Defender||Aspley|
|44. Joel Smith||25/2/1996||3||0||Defence||–|
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 1958, 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?
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