Coach: Mark Neeld
Captains: Jack Grimes and Jack Trengove
Finishing Position: 16th
Best and Fairest: Nathan Jones
Leading Goalkicker: Mitch Clark (29)
Best Young Player: Tom McDonald
Major Sponsor: Energy Watch (until Round 2), Webjet (from Round 3), Opel (from Round 4)
|Matches||Ladder||Playing List||Best and Fairest||VFL||Tribunal||Drafts and Trading|
Former Collingwood premiership assistant Mark Neeld filled the coaching vacancy left by the sacking of Dean Bailey and almost immediately had to deal with scandal, suspending Colin Sylvia from the first game of the new season for a late night drinking incident.
The new coach replaced Brad Green as captain after just one season in favour of youthful co-captains Jack Grimes and Jack Trengove. The rest of the leadership group consisted of Clint Bartram, Mitch Clark, James Frawley, Colin Garland, Mark Jamar and Nathan Jones.
Neeld's up and down pre-season continued, luring former AFL senior coaches Jade Rawlings and Neil Craig to join an extended coaching group but losing ruckman Max Gawn to a season ending injury and livewire forward Liam Jurrah to a combination of complications from a wrist injury and legal troubles stemming from an incident in the Northern Territory while he was recuperating.
The death of Jim Stynes caused further turmoil in the club before Round 1, and after a bad loss in the first match of the season Neeld was embroiled in a controversy following ex-St Kilda coach Grant Thomas posting false allegations about treatment of indigenous players which was passed to him by an employee of the AFL.
A bad season got even worse days later when the Demons were forced to drop their multi-million dollar sponsorship with Energy Watch after the company's CEO was revealed to have posted a number of racist comments online. The team were left without a paying major sponsor for a week before Webjet signed to replace Energy Watch.
With his side unable to win for the first nine weeks of the season both Neeld and the side came under heavy scrutiny with some commentators suggesting he was the wrong man for the job or that the Demons had been hasty in appointing him. Eventually his drought breaking first win as a senior coach came in a shock victory over the 9-1 Bombers in Round 10.
It would be the only victory over an established AFL club for the season, with just two victories against Greater Western Sydney and one against Gold Coast following as injuries further cut down an already depleted playing list.
Melbourne's total score of 224.236.1580 was their second lowest of the 22 game era, second only to 2008.
In August the AFL launched a probe into Melbourne's 2009 season amid allegations they have deliberately played to lose and gain draft picks. The investigation was ultimately finalised in February 2013 where Melbourne were found not guilty of 'tanking' but were forced to pay a $500k fine for the behaviour of employees Dean Bailey and Chris Connolly, both of whom were suspended.
Brad Green announced his retirement before the Round 22 match against Gold Coast, and shortly after the season ended Brent Moloney announced he would leave the club as a free agent and eventually signed with Brisbane.
Jared Rivers joined Moloney in leaving as a free agent, joining Geelong, and Neeld continued to turn over the list he had inherited by trading Jordan Gysberts, Stefan Martin and Cale Morton. Senior listed players Matthew Bate, Jamie Bennell, Lucas Cook, Liam Jurrah and Ricky Petterd were all delisted as well as rookies Kelvin Lawrence, Jai Sheahan and Leigh Williams. Clint Bartram retired after failing to beat a degenerative knee complaint.
The club gaines Chris Dawes from Collingwood, Cameron Pedersen from North Melbourne and David Rodan from Port Adelaide during the trade period, as well as signing unrestricted free agent Shannon Byrnes from Geelong. The club also gained Dominic Barry and Jesse Hogan in a trade from Greater Western Sydney.
Melbourne made an operating profit of $77,618 for the season.
|13||Greater Western Sydney||WIN|
|21||Greater Western Sydney||WIN|
|Greater Western Sydney||2||0||20||46.2||8|
The senior coach and three main assistants ranked each player from 1 to 7 for their performance in a match.
|Practice Match||Jared Rivers||Wrestling||$1200 fine|
|Practice Match||Tom McDonald||Wrestling||$1200 fine|
|Round 3, 2012||Jack Grimes||Rough Conduct||1 match|
|Round 3, 2012||Nathan Jones||Umpire Contact||$900 fine|
|Round 11, 2012||Luke Tapscott||Striking||1 match|
|Round 13, 2012||Nathan Jones||Melee instigation||$1800 fine|
|Round 13, 2012||Nathan Jones||Melee||$1200 fine|
|Round 13, 2012||Mark Jamar||Melee||$1200 fine|
|Round 13, 2012||Brent Moloney||Melee||$1200 fine|
|Round 13, 2012||Daniel Nicholson||Melee||$1200 fine|
|Round 17, 2012||Jeremy Howe||Misconduct||Reprimand|
|Round 18, 2012||Neville Jetta||Rough Conduct||1 match|
|Round 21, 2012||Lynden Dunn||Staging||Reprimand|
|Round 23, 2012||Colin Garland||Rough Conduct||Reprimand|
|Round 23, 2012||Rohan Bail||Rough Conduct||Reprimand|
Free Agents In
Free Agents Out
|Pick 20 |
|Greater Western Sydney||Pick 3|
|Chris Dawes |
|Collingwood|| Pick 20 |
|David Rodan||Port Adelaide||Pick 88|
|Cameron Pedersen |
|North Melbourne|| Jordan Gysberts |
|Pick 53 |
|Pick 88||West Coast||Cale Morton|
|4||Jimmy Toumpas||Woodville-West Torrens||27|
|26||Jack Viney (f/s)||Oakleigh Chargers||*|
|53||Matt Jones||Box Hill||61|
|73||Daniel Nicholson||Rookie Promotion||n/a|
|88||Michael Evans||Rookie Promotion||n/a|
|19||Mitch Clisby||North Adelaide||8|