Season Summary: 1904
The Williamstown team of 1904 which made the finals for the first time the following season. Pictured holding the ball in the front row is captain, Tom McKinley, who transferred to Footscray the following season.
Enhancement and colourisation kindly provided by Adrian Newington, grand-nephew of Tom Newington (head trainer 1933-46) and John Martin snr. (captain-coach 1926 and player 1923 and 1927) and first cousin, once removed, of 1956 Liston Medallist, John Martin jnr.
Tom McKinley retained the captaincy for 1904 but Bob Caldwell was elected vice-captain, replacing Fred Houghton. New players included Alick 'Roodie' McKenzie, who would play for 'Town for seven seasons, Billy 'Whiskers' Jones, who would play for six and Len 'Mother' Mortimer, who would become the first Williamstown player to head the VFA goalkicking in 1905 and then go on to play 153 games and kick 289 goals for South Melbourne from 1906-15, including the 1909 VFL premiership and leading South's goalkicking 7 times.
Arthur Britt, pictured here in The Sporting Judge magazine of 1904, came to Williamstown during 1903 after playing 3 senior games with St Kilda and one game with Melbourne in 1902. A local, Britt went on to play 43 games and kick 22 goals with 'Town up until the end of the 1906 season. Britt was vice-captain in his final season.
The Villagers dropped a rung to sixth position in 1904 with 10 wins and 8 defeats from the 18 home-and-away games. A total of 96 goals were kicked for the season while 85 goals were scored by the opposition. Narrow losses in the opening four games, all by less than 9 points and including a 1-point loss to eventual premier North Melbourne, were followed by five consecutive victories that saw the Villagers just outside the four. The first of these wins was by a point over minor premier, Richmond, at Williamstown in round 5 and there was also a 6-point victory over premier, North Melbourne, at Williamstown in round 11. Subsequent wins were followed by losses and the team never really challenged for a finals place, although three consecutive victories in rounds 15-17 left Williamstown in fifth position on the ladder but two games behind fourth-placed North Melbourne. In the round 15 game against lowly Prahran at Williamstown, the Two Blues gave the Villagers a fright by kicking the first four goals of the game but only managed two behinds after quarter time to 7.9 kicked by 'Town. The season concluded with a 2-goal defeat at the hands of West Melbourne. Len 'Mother' Mortimer showed sound form in attack and booted 29 goals for the year, the highest total since Ernie Warren's 30 in 1886, including 6 goals out of 8 against Preston at Williamstown in round 16 in a 34-point victory.
Len 'Mother' Mortimer booted 29 goals for the year in 1904, the highest total since Ernie Warren's 30 in 1886, including 6 goals out of 8 against Preston at Williamstown in round 16 in a 34-point victory. Mortimer would become the first Williamstown player to head the VFA goalkicking in 1905 and then go on to play 153 games and kick 289 goals for South Melbourne from 1906-15, including the 1909 VFL premiership and leading South's goalkicking 7 times.
North Melbourne were again premiers, but this time it was awarded the pennant when Richmond refused to play in the grand final after the appointment of umpire Allen. Richmond were not happy with his handling of the semi-final which they had lost to North by two points, and when the VFA failed to relent the Tigers elected not to contest the final. North therefore became the first and only senior team to win a pennant by forfeit.
At the annual meeting in respect of the 1904 season, held at the Mechanics Institute in Electra St on April 1 1905, life memberships were awarded to players Vic Manderson (1901-1906, 70 games 12 goals) and Charlie 'Jigger' Viney (1899-1903, 50 games 4 goals).
Tom McKinley was captain of the team in 1903 and 1904 before being lured by Footscray in 1905 and went on to captain their 1908 premiership side. McKinley had joined Williamstown in 1897 and went on to play 107 games and kick 27 goals up until the end of 1904.
Have a look to see how the VFL side wentRead more ...