Williamstown
Williamstown seagulls logo.png
Names
Full nameWilliamstown Football Club
Nickname(s)Seagulls, Town
Club details
Founded1864; 158 years ago (1864)
Colours  Blue   Gold
CompetitionVictorian Football League
PresidentClint Rippon
CoachJustin Plapp (VFL), Penny Cula-Reid (VFLW)
Captain(s)Cam Polson (VFL), Erin Meade (VFLW)
PremiershipsDiv 1: 14 (1907, 1921, 1939, 1945, 1949, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1958, 1959, 1986, 1990, 2003, 2015)
Div 2: 2 (1969, 1976)
Ground(s)Williamstown Football Ground (capacity: 7,500)
Uniforms
Home
Other information
Official websitewilliamstownfc.com.au

The Williamstown Football Club, nicknamed The Seagulls, is an Australian rules football club based in Melbourne. The club currently competes in the men's and women's Victorian Football League and VFLW competitions.

History

The Williamstown Football Club was formed in 1864, making it one of the oldest football clubs in Australia. The club was initially considered a junior club, before being granted senior status in 1884. Starting in 1884, the club competed in the Victorian Football Association. Williamstown's original colours were black and yellow.

When it joined the VFA, the Williamstown Football Club sought to play its matches at the Williamstown Cricket Ground, but was not granted permission owing to a dispute with the Williamstown Cricket Club, and instead used the unfenced Gardens Reserve as its home ground. In 1886, players wishing to play on the cricket ground ultimately established a rival senior club, the South Williamstown Football Club, which also contested the VFA for two seasons.[1] In 1888, the dispute was settled and two football clubs amalgamated; and, through an organisational affiliation with the cricket club the Williamstown Cricket Ground was established as the football club's permanent home ground.[2] The Williamstown and South Williamstown clubs were off-field rivals, but they never played a match against each other.[3]

The suburb of Williamstown was named after King William IV in 1837 and was often referred to as "the village" or "the fishing village" in nineteenth-century Melbourne; the club was thus known by the nickname "the Villagers" in its early years. In the late 1930s, Larry Floyd and Bill Dooley decided to adopt a more modern nickname, and the club became formally known as "the Seagulls". Throughout its history, the club has also been colloquially known by the abbreviated name '‘Town.

Senior team in 1907
Senior team in 1907

Williamstown won its first VFA premiership in 1907, and its second in 1921. Following three unsuccessful finals appearances between 1922 and 1924, the club was weak for the next fourteen seasons, winning just 77 of 255 matches and playing just one final – losing to Oakleigh in 1930. Owing to severe local employment problems during the Great Depression, the club was consistently short of money,[4] despite a number of notable individual successes with several players winning Recorder Cups and VFA Medals.

As a result of skilful management by such officials as secretary Larry Floyd, president Bill Dooley and treasurer Jim McConville,[4] plus the termination of contract agreements with the VFL, Williamstown recruited Harry Vallence, a star goal-kicker from Carlton, plus Gordon Ogden and Eric Glass from Melbourne for the 1939 season. Williamstown finished fourth on the ladder but, despite not having won a final since 1924 won three close finals for its third VFA premiership. The Seagulls continued their recruiting raid on the VFL, recruiting star players Ron Todd and Des Fothergill, and won the first post-war premiership in 1945.

1954 team
1954 team

Following the end of the throw-pass era in 1950, many Association clubs began to struggle through the following decade as the prestige of the VFA declined. However, Williamstown's strong support through the local community meant that it was still able to recruit a strong calibre of player;[5] and, with the recruitment of former North Melbourne coach Wally Carter, who brought a VFL-level of professionalism to the team, the mid-to-late 1950s became the strongest era in the club's history.[6] Under Carter, the club won three consecutive premierships in 1954, 1955 and 1956, and was unbeaten in the 1957 home-and-away season before losing two semi-finals and finishing third.[7] Carter was replaced as coach in 1958 by club legend Gerry Callahan, who served as captain-coach until 1959, and premierships followed in 1958 and 1959, to give the club five flags in six years.[8]

Williamstown's form slumped in the 1960s and 1970s, and it finished last in Division 1 in 1967, resulting in relegation to Division 2.[9] It won the Division 2 premiership in 1969 under captain-coach Max Papley to return to Division 1.[10] The club was relegated again in 1975,[11] won the Division 2 premiership in 1976 under the coaching of Mal Allen,[12] but was relegated again after 1977[13] and remained in Division 2 for a few years thereafter.

Despite playing in the lower division, the club remained one of the best-supported and most viable clubs in the VFA;[14] and in 1982, when the divisional structure was modified such that the top division was selected primarily on off-field merits, Williamstown returned to Division 1 despite having finished only seventh out of ten teams the previous year.[15]

Terry Wheeler was appointed captain-coach in 1984, and he and president Tony Hannebery were critical in gathering a strong group of players, including Barry Round and Tony Pastore, to make Williamstown one of the strongest clubs in the late 1980s. The club reached five grand finals between 1985 and 1990: it lost the 1985 decider by one goal to Sandringham, won the 1986 premiership against Coburg under Wheeler, lost consecutive Grand Finals against Coburg in 1988 and 1989, then defeated Springvale to win the 1990 premiership under captain-coach Barry Round. Despite this finals success, the club's best home-and-away finish in those six years was second, achieved only in 1989.

During the middle 1990s Williamstown slipped, and at its nadir in 1995, the club failed to win a game in either the firsts or seconds. At the end of the 1995 season, the club's survival was threatened when the Victorian State Football League sought to align the VFA (which at that time renamed the VFL) with the TAC Cup, and needed only one western suburban team to align with the Western Jets; as such, it ordered Williamstown to merge with Werribee.[16] After the clubs could not agree to terms, the VSFL decided to grant the remaining licence and the affiliation with the Jets to Williamstown, resulting in Werribee's temporary expulsion from the VFL.[17] (Werribee regained its licence a month later after threatening legal action).[18]

In 2001, Williamstown entered into an affiliation with the Australian Football League's Collingwood Football Club, under which Collingwood's reserves players were permitted to play in Williamstown's senior team when they were not selected in AFL matches. Williamstown and Collingwood were affiliated from 2001 until 2007,[19] during which time the club won one premiership, in 2003. The partnership with Collingwood ended after 2007, and a new affiliation was established with the Western Bulldogs, which lasted from 2008 until 2013. Williamstown and the Western Bulldogs ended their affiliation after the 2013 season, and since 2014, Williamstown has competed as a stand-alone senior club in the VFL, with no AFL affiliation.[20]

The club was perennially competitive under both its affiliation with the Western Bulldogs and as a stand-alone team during the 2010s, and between 2006 and 2019 did not finished lower than fifth in the competition. These sustained strong performances yielded thirteen preliminary final appearances in fourteen years and three Grand Final appearances, for a premiership victory in 2015 and finishing second behind an unbeaten Port Melbourne in 2011 and behind the Richmond reserves in 2019. During this time, Williamstown also won the Foxtel Cup competition twice.

Since the 2018 season, the club has fielded a senior women's team in the VFL Women's competition.[21]

Honours

Club achievements

Premierships
Competition Level Wins Years Won
Victorian Football League Seniors (Division 1) 14 1907, 1921, 1939, 1945, 1949, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1958, 1959, 1986, 1990, 2003, 2015
Seniors (Division 2) 2 1969, 1976
VFA/VFL Reserves Division 1 13 1941, 1948, 1955, 1956, 1966, 1986, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2008, 2013, 2014, 2015
Division 2 2 1969, 1980
VFA/VFL Thirds Division 1 4 1958, 1971, 1986, 1987
Division 2 3 1969, 1979, 1981
Other titles and honours
Foxtel Cup Seniors 2 2011, 2014
Lightning Premiership Seniors 1 1946
Finishing positions
Victorian Football League
(Division 1)
Minor premiership 11 1907, 1940, 1948, 1949, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1964, 2010, 2017
Runners-up 12 1900, 1924, 1948, 1961, 1964, 1970, 1985, 1988, 1989, 1992, 2011, 2019
Wooden spoons 10 1890, 1892, 1926, 1934, 1935, 1938, 1967, 1975, 1977, 1995
VFL Women's Wooden spoons 1 2019

VFL squad

1. Hayden Bertoli-Simmonds 2. Mitch Hibberd 3. Corey Rich 4. Billy Myers 5. Brayden Monk 6. Liam Hunt 7. Jordan Gallucci 8. Nick Mellington 9. Lachlan Stapleton 10. James Cousins 11. Tom Downie 12. Eren Soylemez 13. Noah Gadsby 14. Jack Toner 15. Corey Preston 16. Fraser Phillips 17. Finbar O'Dwyer 18. Jake Greiser 19. Noah Gown 20. Joel Ottavi 22. Charlie Molan 23. Cameron Polson 24. Mitch Langan 25. Teia Miles 27. Patrick Taban 28. Will Mayhood 29. Harrison Macreadie 30. Matthew Gaul 31. Jack Noonan 32. Daly Andrews 33. Baker Smith 34. Liam Conway 35. Ben Woodfull 36. Darby Henderson 38. Max Philipot 39. Jordan Davey 40. Noah Lever 41. Matthew Gook 42. Kallan Dawson

VFLW squad

1. Shaneece Stratton 2. Sasha Long 3. Gabrielle Bidenweg-Webster 5. Ellie Cleland 6. Paige Nash 7. Thalia Wright 8. Danika Di Santo 9. Ruby Tripodi 10. Ruby Barnes 11. Sarah Hosking 12. Stella Bridgewater 13. Sophia McCarthy 14. Sofi Georgas 15. Lana King 16. Matisse Hunter 17. Kaitlyn Carew 18. Eliza Straford 19. Erin Meade (c) 21. Scarlett Dunnell 23. Jasmine Kawa 24. Kate Scott 25. Bridie Kennedy 26. Amanda Maginn 27. Payton Ozols 28. Asha Price 29. Elsa Mangan 30. Christy Landwehr 31. Lori Stepnell 32. Alana Sarec 33. Alanna Doherty 34. Olivia Woods 35. Ella Baxter 36. Tayla Dinnucio 37. Madison Blackburn 40. Olivia Purcell 41. Sharnie Whiting 44. Cassie McWilliams Coach: Penny Cula-Reid

V.F.A. best and fairest

Norm Goss Medalists

Fothergill-Round Medalists

Honour Roll

Year

  • 2000
  • 2001
  • 2002
  • 2003
  • 2004
  • 2005
  • 2006
  • 2007
  • 2008
  • 2009
  • 2010
  • 2011
  • 2012
  • 2013
 

Captains

 

Coaches

 

Gerry Callahan Medalists

 

Club Records

Team Of The Century

Back Eric Beitzel Max Munday John Ramsay
Half Back Brett McTaggart Gerry Callahan Colin Wilcox
Centre Jim Caldwell Max Papley John Martin
Half Forward Ray Smith Ron Todd Ian Rickman
Forward Harry Simpson Mark Fotheringham Saade Ghazi
Ruck Barry Round Eric Glass Alby Linton
Interchange Reg Harley Bob Jones Len Kent
Kim Kershaw Tony Pastore Tom Russell
Captain Gerry Callahan
Coach Wally Carter

Club song

The club song is "Stand and Deliver".

Jumper

The Williamstown Football Club's guernsey consists of a royal blue background with a diagonal yellow sash.

References

  1. ^ "The Football Season". The Argus. Melbourne. 30 April 1886. p. 6.
  2. ^ "Football – the amalgamation of the Williamstown and South Williamstown clubs". The Argus. Melbourne. 10 February 1888. p. 5.
  3. ^ Fiddian, Marc (2003), Seagulls over Williamstown, Williamstown, Victoria: Williamstown Football Club, p. 172
  4. ^ a b Fiddian, Marc (2004); The VFA; A History of the Victorian Football Association 1877–1995; p. 48
  5. ^ Fiddian, Marc (2003), Seagulls over Williamstown, Williamstown, Victoria: Williamstown Football Club, p. 84
  6. ^ Fiddian, Marc (2003), Seagulls over Williamstown, Williamstown, Victoria: Williamstown Football Club, p. 96
  7. ^ Fiddian, Marc (1984). Boilovers, Thrillers and Grand Eras in League and Association Football. Pakenham, Victoria: Pakenham Gazette. p. 93. ISBN 1875475087.
  8. ^ Fiddian, Marc (2003), Seagulls over Williamstown, Williamstown, Victoria: Williamstown Football Club, p. 104
  9. ^ Chris de Kretser (28 August 1967). "Burns was the "villain" of match". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne. p. 60.
  10. ^ Mike Smith (15 September 1969). "Seagulls back in top Div". The Age. Melbourne. p. 21.
  11. ^ Ken Piesse (25 August 1975). "Port's Holt ruffles Roosters". The Age. Melbourne. p. 31.
  12. ^ Marc Fiddian (6 September 1976). "Port has too many big guns". The Age. Melbourne. p. 33.
  13. ^ Marc Fiddian (29 August 1977). "Brunswick's first final in 21 years". The Age. Melbourne. p. 25.
  14. ^ Marc Fiddian (12 September 1980). "New VFA may save 'doomed'". The Age. Melbourne. p. 26.
  15. ^ Marc Fiddian (8 September 1981). "Oakleigh potential fails to sway VFA". The Age. Melbourne. p. 45.
  16. ^ Adrian Dunn (5 October 1995). "Willy and the Bees merge order stings VFA's oldest club". Herald Sun (Afternoon ed.). Melbourne. p. 86.
  17. ^ Adrian Dunn (27 October 1995). "VSFL votes to axe Tigers". Herald Sun (Afternoon ed.). Melbourne. p. 126.
  18. ^ Ashley Browne (10 November 1995). "Werribee survival all but certain". The Age. Melbourne. p. 31.
  19. ^ "You searched for newsdisplay". AFL Victoria.
  20. ^ d'Anello, Luke (21 September 2012). "Seagulls and Bulldogs cut ties". Leader. Retrieved 22 September 2012.
  21. ^ "NEW CLUBS TO ENTER VFL WOMEN'S". Victorian Football League. 11 October 2017. Retrieved 11 October 2017.
  22. ^ Noel Pascoe (8 August 1968). "Nankervis scored". The Sun News-Pictorial. Melbourne. p. 67.
  23. ^ Marc Fiddian (26 August 1976). "Hibbert wins Liston". The Age. Melbourne. pp. 32, 36.
  24. ^ "Marcon mirroring best mate – VFL – SportsTG". SportsTG.
  25. ^ See here