Coach: N/A
Captain: Ned Sutton
Finishing Position: 4th
Best and Fairest: N/A
Leading Goalkicker: Jack Leith (22)

Matches Ladder Playing List

Melbourne joined Collingwood, Essendon, Fitzroy, Geelong and South Melbourne to form a breakaway competition from the VFA, inviting Carlton and St Kilda to make up the eight team Victorian Football League Despite the most even competition in many years, 1896 saw declining attendances and debate about changing rules to improve the game, and the new competition counted behinds in scores, forcing players to kick the ball 10 yards before a mark was counted, and allowing pushing in the back. The new push in the back rule proved controversial in Round 1 and was reversed before Round 2.

The Redlegs entered the competition years of good form but lost 13 of their 1896 squad, including future Australian Football Hall of Famer David Christy, who went to Western Australia. They won six games in a row at the start of the year and finished third on the ladder, but with their depth tested by injuries they narrowly lost all three games of the top four round robin finals. The format for the finals series wasn't determined until the four competing teams were decided, with the league opting for a round robin competition where the top team would premiers, with a playoff if two sides were tied.

Essendon beat Melbourne in the last game 1.8 to 0.8 in the lowest scoring finals game ever, securing the league premiership without needing to play Geelong in what would have been the first VFL Grand Final.

Practice Match

Brighton WIN36-33
Combined Schools ?

Premiership Season

1 South Melbourne WIN44-27
2 Geelong WIN64-19
3 Fitzroy WIN50-39
4 St. Kilda WIN76-46
5 Carlton WIN107-26
6 Collingwood WIN33-26
7 Essendon LOSS27-63
8 South Melbourne LOSS20-73
9 Geelong LOSS10-15
10 Fitzroy WIN53-26
11 St. Kilda WIN71-13
12 Carlton WIN46-18
13 Collingwood LOSS28-43
14 Essendon WIN56-39
SF1 Collingwood LOSS47-51
SF2 Geelong LOSS37-46
SF3 Essendon LOSS8-14


South Melbourne815138.134
St. Kilda001429.10

Finals ladder


Playing List

Fred Blackham 20
Tom Crawford 10
Herbert Fry 51
Stewart Geddes 72
Jack Godby 10
Charlie Goding 41
Jack Graham 21
Alf Healing 101
Maurie Herring 151
Harry Hughes 20
Edwin Jenkyn 172
George Johnstone 30
Arthur Kirk 10
Jack Leith 1726
Austin Lewis 172
Walter Lyon 10
Lew Massey 81
Jim McCoy 10
Bill McCulloch 97
Fred McGinis 1710
Norm McLeod 140
Henry Mitchell 151
George Moodie 1512
George Moysey 172
Alex Murdoch 10
Bert Robinson 132
Jimmy Russell 10
Fred Sheahan 160
Eddie Sholl 60
Wally Steele 129
Dave Strahan 120
Ned Sutton 170
John Timothee 61
Dick Wardill 11 4
Bert Watson 110
Alf Wood 162
Charlie Young 1614

Some sources say a charity exhibition match against Collingwood on Saturday 14 August was called off because of heavy rain, and the loss of a week's play allowed the league to change the finals format from a knockout to a round robin starting the following week.

Australasian - 03/10/1896
Table Talk - 30/04/1897
Oakleigh Leader - 01/05/1897
Australasian - 22/05/1897
Argus - 18/08/1897

AFL Tables page
Wikipedia page

Created by Supermercado. Last Modification: Saturday 30 September 2023 16:43:06 AEST by Supermercado. (Version 34)

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