Captain - Coach: Carl Ditterich
Finishing Position: 11th
Best and Fairest: Laurie Fowler
Leading Goalkicker: Robert Flower (33)
Best First Year Player: Peter Giles
Major Sponsor: Mayne Nickless

Matches Ladder Playing List Night Series Best and Fairest Reserves Under 19s

Image Newly appointed coach Carl Ditterich returned to Melbourne for a second time to replace Denis Jones and started his reign by putting the players through a torturous first training session. He immediately declared that the Demons would make the finals, and was ruthless in cutting what he considered to be dead wood with 18 players axed from the senior list before the season started.

It was a bold claim for a side that had finished last with five wins the year before, but one backed by six wealthy businessmen who pledged $10,000 each to the club if they could finish in the five. The club had outlayed $600,000 on players alone, bigger than the entire budget of 1978, and the hope was that the bonus money offered by the businessmen would help offset those costs. Other fundraising efforts included a weekly disco at an Armadale hotel, ‘selling’ lots of MCG turf to fans, and a $50 club tie. Phil Carman was the first of the big names to sign up.

It didn't take long for the new campaign to hit trouble. A pre-season trip to New Zealand was thrown into disarray when five players who were also employed as teachers were refused leave by the Department of Education. Chris Woodman, Peter O'Keefe, Greg Hutchison, Mark McKeon and Ditterich himself were the affected players. Ditterich eventually made the trip. Pre-season training was further affected by not being able to use the MCG until the Thursday before Round 1 due to the ground being occupied by cricket and a military tattoo event.

Ray Biffin was a playing assistant coach but retired after Round 3 to take charge of the Reserves. By Round 14 he had been lured back to an injury hit Demon backline which was leaking huge scores on a weekly basis. Frank Davis was the non-playing assistant coach.

The biggest score of all was Round 17, an afternoon where the Demons made history for all the wrong reasons. Fitzroy registered the highest score and biggest winning margin in VFL history against them at Waverley.

Fitzroy's highest score record would fall 13 years later when Geelong demolished Brisbane at Carrara, but the biggest win was never seriously challenged until Round 19, 2011 when Melbourne lost to the Cats by 186 points at Kardinia Park. In the spirit of all things that were topsy-turvy about the Demons in the 70's they won the next week against Essendon.

The club was so desperate for a competitive advantage that they had a consultant who practised a process called 'eyeballing', where players were encouraged to sit with knees touching and stare into each other's eyes, then be frank about their feelings towards their teammates contribution.

They still won six games for the season and finished three games in front of last placed St Kilda with 10% better percentage. A total of 46 players were used for the season - the equal most of any Melbourne season - and the 70s ended with the Demons as the only VFL team not to make the finals at some point during the decade.

At the end of the season, as multiple committee members resigned from the board, it was revealed that the club was more than $150,000 in debt and for the first time serious questions were asked about the club's survival. A plan was put in place to separate from the MCC at the end of the year, but the committee got cold feet and pulled out, prompting Richard Seddon to resign.

Despite constant talk about Ron Barassi returning to coach, Carl Ditterich retained his job going into 1980. Carman departed after a rocky season, and Greg Wells tried to leave. He first asked for a clearance to North Melbourne, then went through a protracted process that finally landed him at Carlton in mid-1980.

The Reserves competition was known as the Commodore Cup for sponsorship reasons.

Practice Matches

Geelong LOSS

Escort Cup

1 Claremont LOSS

Premiership Season

1 FootscrayWIN
2 GeelongLOSS
3 South MelbourneLOSS
4 RichmondWIN
5 CarltonLOSS
6 FitzroyLOSS
7 EssendonLOSS
8 HawthornLOSS
9 North MelbourneLOSS
10 St. KildaWIN
11 CollingwoodLOSS
12 FootscrayLOSS
13 GeelongLOSS
14 RichmondLOSS
15 South MelbourneWIN
16 CarltonLOSS
17 FitzroyLOSS
18 EssendonWIN
19 HawthornLOSS
20 North MelbourneLOSS
21 St. KildaWIN
22 CollingwoodLOSS


North Melbourne1705123.668
South Melbourne601690.924
St. Kilda301965.012

Playing List

1 Garry Baker 16 11
2 Robert Flower 2133
3 Henry Coles 42
4 Tony Sullivan 70
5 Graham Hunnibell 61
6 Ken Roberts 10
6 Robert Elliott 176
7 Barry Denny 50
8 Glenn Elliott 1511
9 Laurie Fowler 210
10 Carl Ditterich 176
11 Greg Wells 2224
12 Cameron Clayton 137
13 Wayne Gordon 31
14 Michael Byrne 1210
15 Phil Seaton 9 2
16 Robert Walters 1222
17 Shane Grambeau 100
18 Maurice Wingate 106
19 Ray Biffin 714
20 Graham Gaunt 1915
21 Jim Durnan 111
22 Ken Whitfort 95
23 Shane Fitzsimmons 23
23 Kelly O'Donnell 118
24 Tony Martyn 171
25 Kelvin Richards 20
26 Stewart Gull 21
27 Don Whitford 62
28 Tony Dullard 50
29 Andrew Moir 1725
30 Peter Hamilton 130
31 Phil Carman 1123
32 Bruce Elliott 20
33 John Dellamarta 21
34 Tom Flower 611
35 Steven Smith 1615
38 Peter O'Keefe 10
39 Gerard Healy 2110
40 Peter Thorne 69
41 Chris Woodman 64
43 Greg Hutchison 103
45 Peter Giles 110
48 John Wallace 20
50 Tony Elshaug 21

Best and Fairest

1st Laurie Fowler 118
2nd Robert Flower 105
3rd Greg Wells 70
4th Graham Gaunt 68
5th Carl Ditterich 52
6th Glenn Elliott 49
7th Peter Giles 29
8th Garry Baker 27
8th Cameron Clayton 27
10th Steven Smith 23
11th Phil Carman 20
12th Peter Hamilton 19
13th Robert Walters 16
14th Andrew Moir 15
15th Kelly O'Donnell 14
16th Phil Seaton 13
17th Chris Woodman 12
17th Robert Elliott 12
19th Gerard Healy 11
20th Ray Biffin 10
21st Greg Hutchison 8
22nd Peter Thorne 7
23rd Tony Sullivan 6
24th Tony Martyn 5
25th Maurice Wingate 4
26th Don Whitford 3
26th Graham Hunnibell 3
27th Michael Byrne 1

Other Awards
Redlegs Trophy - Jim Durnan

Round 1 Reserves Robert Walters Spitting in face of umpireUnknown
Round 4 Peter Hamilton Striking 2 matches
Round 7 Carl Ditterich Striking 2 matches
Round 15 Reserves John Dellamarta StrikingUnknown
Round 11 Graham Gaunt Striking 2 matches
Round 21 Garry Baker Striking Not guilty


1979 Reserves Season
Best and Fairest - Chris Woodman
Second Best and Fairest - Tony Sullivan
Special Awards - Peter Giles, Bruce Elliott, Graham Hunnibell

Collingwood 1507138.560
North Melbourne 1507135.560
Footscray 1507124.360
Carlton 1408117.056
Geelong 1408113.356
Richmond 1309114.752
Essendon 12010109.448
Hawthorn 901393.836
Melbourne 801487.532
South Melbourne 801478.732
St Kilda501758.220
Fitzroy 401867.316

Under 19s

Captain - Phillip Greene
Best and Fairest - Phillip Greene
Second Best and Fairest - Greg Boyle
Special Awards - Tony Elshaug, Paul O'Brien, Peter Bardoel

Geelong 1516114.862
North Melbourne1417114.458
Fitzroy 1408111.556
Melbourne 1309112.852
Richmond 1309109.952
Collingwood 12010113.648
Hawthorn 8113101.734
St Kilda 411771.018
South Melbourne 202068.28


EF Fitzroy LOSS

Some sources say the club's debt was $197,000. This may be distinct from the single years' financial loss.

A new holding the man rule may have been adopted.

Age - 13/02/1979
Inside Football - 29/03/1979
Age - 02/04/1979
Inside Football - 05/04/1979
Age - 02/05/1979
Age - 18/10/1979

Created by Supermercado. Last Modification: Friday 23 September 2022 02:34:55 AEST by Supermercado. (Version 57)

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