Season Summary: 1978
Following along from the Club's recent tradition of employing captain/coaches came the appointment of 100-game player & 1976 premiership member, John Fanning, to the role.
It would be one of the darkest seasons for the football club with limited funds, disgruntled players and a board on the verge of leaving the club for dead. Former premiership player, Sid Wookey, was talked into accepting the presidency of the Club, the sixth new chief since Arthur Johnson stood down at the end of the 1972 season. Wookey played from 1950-1957 before a knee injury ended his career after 136 games and 31 goals, including the 1954, 1955 and 1956 premierships.
The season saw Williamstown set a very unforgettable record where they had the worst season for a team freshly relegated to second division, finishing second last with just three wins and 15 losses and in front of only Box Hill, which registered just the one victory, ironically over Williamstown in round 13 at Box Hill which ended a losing streak of 34 games, going back to round 15, 1976.
The first of the Seagull wins was over Werribee at Pt Gellibrand in round one, followed by a 77-point win over Box Hill at Williamstown in round 4 which left the Seagulls in sixth position, just two points out of the four. However, the next win didn't come until round 16 with a ten goal victory over Yarraville. Before and after then some large defeats were experienced, including a 99 point loss to Yarraville in round 7, a 91 point loss to Northcote in round 9, a 109 point loss to Camberwell in round 17 and a 112 point defeat by Northcote at Williamstown in round 18 to finish off a dismal year.
Two years after winning the Thirds best and fairest award, Laurie Taylor took out the Andy Taylor Memorial Trophy in the seniors from Neil Courtot. Best and fairest in the Reserves was won by John Coyne with 1976 premiership player Frank Briner in second place. In the Thirds, Kelvin Lavelle was awarded the best and fairest player for the season. He also finished as runner-up in the VFA Thirds competition award. Second was Peter Caulfield with Philip Chapman in third place. Chapman was the leading goalkicker in the VFA Thirds competition with a total of 129. When he booted his 100th goal for the year in round 13 against Box Hill, Chapman was averaging 8.5 goals a game (he had played one game in the Reserves earlier that year). Greg Boxall was leading goalscorer in the seniors with 32 for the year.
A raid on a Club fundraising venture by the Victorian Licensing, Gaming and Vice Squad in August 1978 had its sequel in court in May the following year when President Syd Wookey, Reserves team manager Terry Maloney and former player Ian "Hucky" Johnston fronted court on charges of selling liquor without a licence. Each received a 12-month good behavior bond (refer newspaper article below).
1978 playing list