The Last Hurrah: Melbourne Premiers 1964 by Adam Woolcock


The Last Hurrah tells the story of Melbourne Football Club’s last great Grand Final and the fall from grace that has left the club without a premiership since.

From the mid 1950s, the Melbourne Football Club, led by the legendary coach Norm Smith, dominated the Victorian Football League like no other club before or since. From 1954 to 1964, the Demons competed in 11 finals series, played in eight Grand Finals, winning six. Year after year the club was able to recruit new stars, as other left or retired. The 1964 Grand Final victory, achieved after a last-minute goal by back-pocket player Neil Crompton, turned out to be not only the end of this dominant era, but also the beginning of a black hole of success for the club. In the 56 years since, Melbourne has made just two Grand Finals, both thrashings.

The Last Hurrah describes the reasons why Melbourne was such a great team, and how its great coach Norm Smith was sacked – albeit briefly – the following season, leading to what many have described as the ‘curse of Norm Smith’. Author, Adam Woolcock, describes, in minute detail, the events of 1964, and what has followed, a period in which Melbourne has competed in just 13 finals series, with little success.

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