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||–||–|
|Feb||$8||$1.20||$2||M Gawn $26||H Petty $81||T McDonald $10|
|Mar||$7.50||$1.25||$2||C Oliver $24||H Petty $81||T McDonald $10|
|Apr||$15||$2.25||$6||C Oliver $26||T Sparrow $51||T McDonald $34|
Best Melbourne bets for the 2019 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 were absolutely humiliated by West Coast in the preliminary finals, but let’s not forget that they got there in the first place. The young Dees will be all the better for that experience, however, and you will not be alone if you back them to go all the way in 2019.
- The Demons only just missed out on a place in the top four last season and should fancy their chances this time with Hawthorn expected to slide down the ladder. Others will have designs on that spot – namely Adelaide, Essendon, Geelong, GWS and Sydney – but Melbourne are in the box seat.
- How do you split Angus Brayshaw, Max Gawn and Clayton Oliver? All three have excellent form in the Brownlow Medal count, with Brayshaw (21 votes) and Gawn (20 votes) both finishing in the top four last season. Each of those three is a very good chance to go high again this year.
- Like last year, the Redlegs are lacking a serious candidate in AFL Rising Star betting. The pick of the long shots in Harrison Petty, who made his debut in a two-point defeat to St Kilda last year.
- Tom McDonald emerged as Melbourne’s number one forward last year with 53 goals in 20 games. The question is: can he take that step up and match the likes of Buddy Franklin, Josh Kennedy and Jack Riewoldt? The North Ballarat product might find it a little harder this season without Jesse Hogan drawing the attention of opposition defenders.
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|
Demons players to watch in 2019
Is this the signing that puts the Dees into premiership contention? May was co-captain at the Gold Coast Suns for two years and brings invaluable leadership skills along with his intercept marking, strength in the contest and all-round defensive nous.
It wasn’t long ago that Brayshaw’s career was on the line after he suffered a series of concussions. Now, following a breakout year in which he ran third in the Brownlow, the gutsy on-baller is a vital component in Melbourne’s premiership push.
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. If it all comes together for him this year, the rest of the competition had better watch out.
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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