Season Summary: 1907
Wyn Outen, who had played with 'Town from 1899-1901 before spending 3 seasons with St Kilda and then one in WA, returned to Pt Gellibrand in July while 1906 captain-coach, Horrie Dick, went to Essendon in 1907 where he played just the one game before transferring to Footscray. Star goalkicker, Jimmy Matthews, went to St Kilda and played 12 games and kicked 18 goals in this season before returning in 1909. Bert Reitman, who lived locally, joined from Collingwood during the season and made his debut in round 4 along with teammate Jim Addison, who was full-forward in the Magpies 1903 premiership team. Another newcomer to join the Club in June was John Francis McCabe, who played under the pseudonym of Dick McKay, after 148 games of League football with Fitzroy (1897-98), St Kilda (1899-1903) and South Melbourne (1904-07). He played in defence for the 'Roys in their first game of VFL football in 1897 and captained St Kilda in 1901. His VFL career featured not one finals match, a record at that time. Frank 'Jinner' Worroll returned after several seasons with South Melbourne where he played 31 senior games and kicked 12 goals, while Ernie Jamieson arrived from Carlton Juniors but went to Williamstown Juniors in 1908 and then to Carlton in 1909 where he would play 125 games including the back-to-back premierships of 1914-15 and two losing grand finals in 1910 and 1921 before captaining the Blues in his final season in 1922. He was selected in the Victorian State squad in 1913. Bobby Gibbs junior also made his debut in this season and would go on to play 140 games and kick 87 goals from 1907-15 and 1919. He was vice-captain in 1915 and 1919 and his father, Bobby Gibbs senior, had played 171 games and kicked 46 goals from 1885-99 and was killed in the Boxer Rebellion in China. Gibbs junior was the uncle of Bert McTaggart junior who played in Williamstown's 1939 premiership team before going on to a career with Carlton and Footscray. Bob Briggs also started in this season after transferring from Port Rovers.
Williamstown made the finals for the second time, not only finishing on top of the ladder with fifteen wins from its 18 home-and-away engagements but also winning its two finals to take its first premiership after 24 years of senior competition. The result should not have been unexpected due to the very creditable third position achieved in 1905 and the twelve good wins in 1906 when the finals were missed by the narrowest of margins. Under new captain-coach Paddy Noonan, captain of North Melbourne's 1903-04 premiership teams, and with Ted Alley as vice-captain, they won the first six games straight, including victories over the other three eventual finalists, Richmond, West Melbourne and Footscray, to take top spot from the previously undefeated West Melbourne when the Villagers downed them by 10 points in round 6 at East Melbourne. Three defeats over the next six weeks relegated the team to second spot by round 12 before top place was regained by virtue of another 6 consecutive wins, including another victory over eventual runner-up, West Melbourne, and the season's biggest win over last-placed Preston by 58 points in round 17. The match against West Melbourne ended in controversy when the timekeepers ended the game 5 minutes early when West had the wind and only needed a goal to win the game. There was also two victories by 56 points, over Brunswick in round 4 and Preston in round 8. The Club's first minor premiership was secured with victory over Port Melbourne at Williamstown in the last round, 13.18 to 7.10. Two of the three defeats during the home-and-away rounds were to Essendon by 3 points and Port Melbourne by 2 points. The other defeat was in the round 12 game at Punt Road against the strong Richmond team which attracted a crowd of 12,000, and which 'Town lost by just 15 points. The final four was made up of Williamstown, Richmond, Footscray and West Melbourne.
Williamstown beat Footscray at East Melbourne Cricket Ground, which is now the site of the Jolimont railyards, for the third time in this season, 5.11.41 to 3.9.27 in the first semi-final, with former captains Horrie Dick and Tom McKinley playing for the Tricolours against their old team. Only one goal was scored in the first half, with Williamstown leading 1.9 to 0.5, before the Villagers added four goals to one in the third term to set up the win. Billy Jones was best for 'Town, followed by Wyn Outen in the centre, Dick McKay in defence, Jim Caldwell on a wing and Mat Outen on the ball.
When West Melbourne accounted for Richmond by 4 goals in the second semi-final, it meant West would have to defeat Williamstown twice to repeat its 1906 triumph. The grand final was also played at East Melbourne, which was West Melbourne's home ground in 1907, before a crowd of 24,000 which saw Williamstown with a handy lead at quarter time of 4.4 to 0.2, thanks to winning the toss and Bob Briggs' 3 goals, before West improved to trail by only 11 points at half-time, 4.5.29 to 2.6.18. West had the wind in the last quarter but still trailed 5.9 to 2.9 at three-quarter time, but repeated attacks on goal by West at the start of the final term resulted in four behinds before Jim Addison steadied 'Town with a goal. West replied with a fine goal from Lou Armstrong but Williamstown sealed the game when rover Bobby Gibbs jnr kicked the side's seventh goal while West continued to add behinds. When the bell rang to end the game, Williamstown had won their first pennant outright, 7.10.52 to 3.16.34, meaning the Club's right to a challenge match did not have to be exercised. Hurley was the umpire and the goalkickers were Bob Briggs 3, Jim Addison 2 and Bobby Gibbs Jnr 2. Best players were Percy Garbutt, Bert Reitman, Captain Ted Alley, Dick McKay, Jim and Arthur Caldwell, Bobby Gibbs jnr, Bob Briggs, Jim Addison, Frank Worroll and Billy Jones.
The leading goalkicker for the season was Bill Lambert with 19, who was still the assistant property steward at the Club 50 years later. Williamstown also kicked their highest-ever score to date in this season when it booted 14.12 to 5.8 against Preston in the round 17 game at Pt Gellibrand. The Club reached another record aggregate score of 154 goals and 215 behinds (1139 points) in this season while the opposition put together 88 goals and 186 behinds (714 points), which would have given the team the healthy percentage of 159.5 under the present-day method of calculating these things. Jim 'Ginger' Caldwell and Billy Jones represented the VFA in a game against South Australia at East Melbourne on 8 June which was won by SA by just one point with Jones kicking 3 goals. Jones and Dick McKay were selected in the VFA team in the return match at Adelaide Oval on 27 July, won by the Association by 11 points. At the annual meeting in respect of the 1907 season, held at the Temperance Hall in Electra Street in March 1908, life memberships were awarded to former players Bob 'Coronation' Caldwell (1895-1904, vice-captain 1904) and Arthur Britt (1903-1906, 43 games, 22 goals, vice-captain 1906) and current players Howard 'Lordy' Lewis (1905-1908, 39 games, 6 goals) and Billy Jones (1904-1909, 62 games, 56 goals). Jones was mentioned in the annual report as being the most consistent player for the season.
One other notable event that occurred in 1907 was the Port Melbourne Cricket Ground being prohibited for use by the VFA over the last three weeks of the season, due to a complaint by Richmond and the umpire about the behaviour of Port players and supporters following the round 15 game between the two clubs at North Port which the Tigers won by 7 points. Port then had to play a home game against Preston at Williamstown and Essendon Town at Richmond. Games resumed at Port Melbourne the following season.
The Club lost long-serving official, John Gunn, who passed away on September 19, just before the premiership victory. Gunn served as secretary in 1895 and 1900, as a committeeman in 1896 and 1897, as treasurer in 1898, 1901 and 1902, was the Club's VFA delegate in 1904, 1905 and 1907 and vice-president in 1906. Life member, former captain and vice-captain and player from 1886-1897 (167 games, 37 goals), Ted 'Dinah' Griffin, passed away at age 39 on 1 July 1907 as a result of a liver infection. Griffin also represented Victoria in 1891.
The Club had 866 members in 1907, an increase on the 649 in 1906 and a huge improvement on the 1904 total of just over 200.
Bobby Gibbs junior made his debut in this season and was rover in 'Town's first premiership victory later in the year. He would go on to play 140 games and kick 87 goals from 1907-15 and 1919. He was vice-captain in 1915 and 1919. His father, Bobby Gibbs senior, had played 171 games and kicked 46 goals from 1885-99 and was killed in the Boxer Rebellion in China. Gibbs junior was the uncle of Bert McTaggart junior who played in Williamstown's 1939 premiership team before going on to a career with Carlton and Footscray. Gibbs junior received life membership in 1921 and passed away in February, 1952, at his home in Newport aged 63.
Bert Reitman was another recruit from Collingwood in 1907, after playing 12 senior games with the Magpies in 1906-07. He was cleared to Williamstown early in the season and debuted in round 4 against Brunswick at Williamstown in a 56-point victory. He played in the back pocket in 'Town's first premiership victory in 1907 and would go on to play 126 games and kick 10 goals up until the end of 1914. He was vice-captain in 1911, captain for part of 1912, captain-coach in 1913 and captain again in 1914, his final season. Two of his sons, Ron & Keith, played senior football with Williamstown in the 1940's and both were in the 1948 Seconds premiership team. Bert passed away at his home in James Street on May 12, 1973, aged 85.
Full-forward in Collingwood's 1903 premiership side, Jim Addison, joined Williamstown in 1907, played in the premiership team of that season and led the Club goalkicking in 1909 with a total of 26. Addison played with the Villagers from 1907-10, totalling 52 games and kicking 87 goals.
Photos from Melbourne Punch magazine, June 20, 1907 of the match between Williamstown and West Melbourne at East Melboune on 15 June, won by Williamstown by 10 points, 8.10.58 to 6.12.48
Williamstown Chronicle, October 12 1907
Williamstown's 1907 premiership team was:
Backs: Bert Reitman Dick McKay Ted Alley (c.)
Half-backs: Howard Lewis R.J. Johnston Percy Garbutt
Centres: Jim Caldwell Wyn Outen (v.c.) Arthur Caldwell
Half-forwards: Billy Jones Jim Addison Frank Worroll
Forwards: Ernie Jamieson Bob Briggs Billy O'Shea
Followers: Mathew Outen Bob Monar
Rover: Bobby Gibbs jnr
Leader, October 5, 1907
1907 captain-coach Paddy Noonan sensationally resigned in the week leading up to the first semi-final against Footscray. It was reported that he had been dropped from the side but he had tendered his resignation before the team was selected and Noonan issued a statement to that effect. He said 'it has been made to appear that I was not chosen to play for Williamstown against Footscray, but I wish to state that such was not the case, as the match committee and I are as one. I resigned for sufficient reasons, which I care not to mention here, but which are well known to the players and supporters of the Williamstown club. Suffice it to say that a large majority of the players were with me and were prepared to stand out of the Footscray match, but at a meeting of players held on the night before the match, at the earnest wish of the president (for whom I have the greatest respect), I exhorted the players to stand together and go out as one man on the morrow and win - which they did.' Apparently Noonan was an interested and gratified witness of Williamstown's great triumph.
It was reported in The Age on September 30 that 'it is understood that his (Noonan's) retirement was due to some unpleasantness arising through remarks made by another prominent member of the team.' This was confirmed in the Leader newspaper on October 5 when it was stated that 'a few weeks back some friction arose between Noonan and another prominent member of the team resulting in the former standing out of the last two matches (the semi-final and grand final) and retiring from the club. Several of the players strongly supported Noonan, and evinced a disposition to also retire, when it was announced that he would not take part in the team's penultimate match against Footscray. It is to Noonan's credit that on the night before the match he exorted the players to go in as one man and win - which they did.'
As a result Ted Alley captained the team for the remainder of the season and Wyn Outen was his deputy. Some players believed that Noonan would be conflicted playing against West Melbourne as he lived in that area but he had played well against West in the home-and-away games and he was a former North Melbourne player and not from West Melbourne. Some also thought that he was too friendly with opposition teams, such as when he was carried back shoulder-high to the Williamstown rooms by the Port Melbourne president and secretary after making a speech to the Port players following the round 18 game at Williamstown, which was won by 44 points. His resignation came in the week following this game.
Noonan played one game in 1908 before crossing to Yarraville in the VJFA as coach during the season. He then became a boundary and later a field umpire in 1909 before returning to North Melbourne as captain in July 1909 before retiring at the end of the year at the age of 34. He filled a number of administrative roles at Arden St. in the ensuing years and later coached North Melbourne in 1929 when the incumbent, Charlie Tyson, was sacked mid-season. He passed away on January 27, 1935, aged 59.
1907 Valentines Association postcard series
Back Row: (players only) Mathew Outen*, Ernie Jamieson*, Bob Monar*, Dick Bliss, Jim Addison*, Percy Garbutt*, Bob Briggs*, Howard Lewis*
Middle row: (players only) Frank Worroll*, Bert Reitman*, Wyn Outen (vice-captain)*, Bob Ferguson (president), Ted Alley (captain)*, Billy Jones*, Tommy Hall, Percy Pilkington
Front row: (players only) Will O'Shea*, Arthur Caldwell*, Bobby Gibbs jnr*, Bill Lambert, Jim 'Ginger' Caldwell*, Dick McKay*
Absent: R.J. Johnston*
* = played in 1907 grand final v. West Melbourne at East Melbourne on September 28, 1907, with Williamstown victorious 7.10.52 to 3.16.34
The trainer standing next to Howard Lewis is Bobby Weatherhead (far right, third row), who played for 'Town from 1875-87. He played 26 games and kicked one goal from 1884-87 after Williamstown gained 'senior' status but it is unknown how many games he played from 1875-1883.
Punch magazine, October 3, 1907 - a section of the crowd at the final of 24,000
John Francis 'Dick' McCabe, who also used the pseudonym of Dick McKay, came to Williamstown during 1907 after a lengthy VFL career with Fitzroy (1897-98, 24 games 14 goals), St Kilda (1899-1903, 73 games 4 goals, captain 1901) and South Melbourne (1904-07, 51 games 0 goals). He played in Fitzroy's first game in the VFL in 1897 and finished his 148-game career without making a single finals appearance, which was a VFL record at the time. He made his debut for Williamstown at the age of 30 in round 7 of the 1907 season against Essendon Town at Williamstown in a 3-point defeat, and went on to play at full-back in the premiership side later in the year, 'Town's first VFA pennant. He played for the Villagers in 1908 before crossing to Port Melbourne for the 1909 season. He returned to Williamstown before the close of clearances on June 30 in 1910 but retired after two further games, 14 seasons of senior football having finally taken a toll on his body. He played 31 games and kicked 2 goals for 'Town and a further 17 games for Port Melbourne. He later became a VFL boundary umpire and acted as field umpire in a game at Junction Oval in 1918 when the officiating umpire was injured in the third quarter. He passed away at his home in Perrins Street, South Melbourne, on June 21 1932, aged 55.
Dick McKay on a Sniders & Abrahams trading card while with South Melbourne before transferring to Williamstown during 1907.
The Age, July 2, 1907 - Life member, former captain and vice-captain and player from 1886-1897 (167 games, 37 goals), Ted 'Dinah' Griffin, passed away at age 39 on 1 July 1907 at his home in Station Road as a result of a liver infection. Griffin also represented Victoria in 1891.
The Age, July 2, 1907
Williamstown Chronicle, July 6, 1907
Williamstown Chronicle, September 21, 1907 - the Club lost long-serving official, John Gunn, who passed away on September 19, just before the premiership victory. Gunn served as secretary in 1895 and 1900, as a committeeman in 1896 and 1897, as treasurer in 1898, 1901 and 1902, was the Club's VFA delegate in 1904, 1905 and 1907 and vice-president in 1906.
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