After winning the past three VFL premierships, Melbourne entered the new year with most of their premiership players engaged in the war effort, and only three of the 1941 seconds players available. Melbourne voted to cease the competition until the war was won, but other clubs opted to continue.
The Demons stated that it would be unable to field a team unless other sides cleared players from their districts, and considered voluntarily withdrawing as Geelong had done. Talk of a wartime amalgamation with Collingwood was shelved when each side discovered they were better off for players than they'd first thought. In addition to many players, Melbourne had also lost Secretary Percy Page and coach Checker Hughes to retirement.
Percy Beames took over a side with 18 of 36 players from 1941 unavailable, and many of them unavailable at various times during the year. The club had even lost access to the MCG, which was being used as a camp by the US Army. They played home games at Punt Road and trained at the Albert Ground. After losing their first three games, the decimated club recovered to finish eighth on an unbalanced ladder where Carlton, Collingwood, Footscray, North Melbourne and St Kilda had two byes, which carried four premiership points, and other clubs only had one.
In Round 2 war hero Keith Truscott returned to play what would be his final game. He was made honourary captain for the day. That day Melbourne and Richmond set a VFL record for aggregate score in a match, 313 points, that stood until 1972.
Crowds across the league tumbled, now nearly half of what they had been before the war and down nearly 30 per cent on the previous year.
|17||Allan La Fontaine||12||5|
|Round 1||Norm Smith||Jostling||Not Guilty|
|Round 3||Jack O'Keefe||Elbowing||Not Guilty|
|Round 12||Les Gibbs||Striking||Not Guilty|
All Seconds teams other than Richmond, Fitzroy and Carlton had two byes.
Some sources suggest Melbourne trained on Punt Road on Monday and Wednesday rather than the Albert Ground.
Pre-season report (Age 02/04/1945) says Bill Farrell would coach the Seconds 'subject to approval of the MCC' but he didn't take up the role.