Season Summary: 1908

1907 premiership centreman and vice-captain, Wyn Outen, was elevated to the captaincy of the team in 1908. Outen would captain the team again in 1909, his final season with the Club, before retiring after 99 games and 19 goals from 1899-1901 and 1907-09. He received life membership in 1910. Outen played at St Kilda from 1903-05 and for part of 1907 (54 games and three representative games for Victoria) before returning to Williamstown. He played in WA in 1906. Wyn passed away on November 10, 1964, at Glenhuntly at the age of 84. 

The Mayor of Williamstown, Cr William Henry Treganowan, succeeded Bob Ferguson as president of the football club in 1908, but for one season only. Pictured here in The Age newspaper of July 14, 1941, Treganowan was elected to the Council in 1890 and served for a period of 25 years. He retired in 1916 and moved to Emerald and passed away in Heidelberg House on July 10, 1941, at the age of 84. 

The 1908 year was preceded by a tumultuous off-season when Richmond left the VFA and joined the rival VFL, and North Melbourne and West Melbourne were banished from the competition for attempting to do likewise as a merged entity known as the City Football Club. University, which had won the Victorian Junior Football Association premiership in 1907, was also admitted to the VFL. Left with just seven clubs, the VFA admitted Brighton from the Metropolitan Junior Football Association and Northcote from the Victorian Junior Football Association. As North Melbourne and West Melbourne were left without a competition to play in, both clubs were declared defunct by the end of March. However, the Association could not afford to lose both the Punt Road and Arden Street grounds due to their proximity to the city and, by the middle of April, a new North Melbourne Football Club had been formed and was re-admitted to the Association on the grounds that nobody who had previously served on the committees of North or West Melbourne were involved in the new entity. The VFA also reduced the number of players on the field in this season from 18 to 17 by removing one of the ruck/follower positions from the game.


The legendary Syd Barker snr came to Williamstown in 1908 after two seasons with Essendon Association but only stayed for 3 games before joining the VFL's newest club, Richmond. He played just 2 matches with the Tigers and transferred back to the VFA the following year and was an outstanding ruckman for North Melbourne for the next 12 seasons. He played in premierships in 1910, 1914, 1915 & 1918, captaining the last two, as well as leading the Club through an unbeaten streak of 58 victories from 1914-19, which straddled the war recess. He briefly captain-coached Ascot Vale in the VJFA in 1916 during the recess. He went to Essendon VFL during 1921 when North temporarily disbanded following an aborted attempt to join the VFL and captain-coached them to premierships in 1923 & 1924. He passed away in 1930 at the age of 42. North Melbourne's best and fairest award is named the Syd Barker Medal.

Williamstown took its winning sequence to 10 with victory in the opening two games over Port Melbourne and Preston before losing to Essendon Association at Windy Hill by 7 points before a crowd of 6-7000, when the 'Dons were on top of the ladder. Former president, Bob Ferguson, had the honour of unfurling the Club's first premiership flag before the game against Preston at Williamstown, which was won by 15 points. Ferguson had stepped down due to business reasons and was replaced by the Mayor, Cr. William Henry Treganowan. Harry Reed was elected to the role of secretary, replacing Oscar Jenkins who had been in the role since 1905. No coach was appointed in 1908 but Wyn Outen was elected captain with Percy Garbutt vice-captain. New players included Bert Amy, who would go on to play 129 games and kick 118 goals from 1908-15 and 1919 and captain the side in 1919 and part of 1911 and lead the goalkicking three times, W. Fairchild from Leopold Juniors, Mick Tyrrell from Golden Point, Frank Ellis from West Torrens (SA), Tom Clancy from South Melbourne and Henry Paternoster also from South Melbourne who was seriously injured in the second quarter at Preston in round 11 on debut when Mason of the Bullants charged him and badly damaged his shoulder which required hospitalisation. 

Photo from the opening round clash at North Port Oval in 1908 between Port and Williamstown which resulted in a 67 point victory to the Villagers, 11.10.76 to 1.3.9. It was 'Town's 9th consecutive win since round 13 of the 1907 season.

Seven wins in the first eight games indicated the reigning premier was on track for another finals appearance until a four-goal loss to Footscray created doubts. Essendon Association recruit, Syd Barker snr, crossed to Richmond VFL without a clearance after the 85-point round 8 win over Northcote at Williamstown and missed the game against the Tricolours. The Villagers enjoyed a good season winning 12 of the 18 home-and-away games to finish third, behind Footscray and Essendon but with the highest percentage of all teams. This was the 'Dons first finals appearance as was the case with the fourth-placed Brunswick. Footscray was the only team to defeat 'Town twice but the margin in the final home-and-away game at Williamstown was just one point. 


Bob Briggs was the first Williamstown player to kick 10 goals in a game, which occurred in round 16 of 1908 against North Melbourne at Arden Street, in an 81-point victory. He played 24 games and kicked 63 goals for the Villagers in 1907-08 after being recruited from Port Rovers and was full-forward in 'Town's first premiership side in 1907. He was the Club leading goalkicker with 59 in 1908, the highest tally by a Williamstown player up to that point in time, and one that would not be surpassed until Jim McAuliffe booted 63 in 1921. Briggs transferred to Fitzroy and played 26 games and kicked 47 goals in 1909-10, and was Club leading goalkicker in 1910 with a total of 30. He crossed to St Kilda in 1911 and played a further 7 games and kicked 7 goals. 

The team kicked their first-ever century score with 17.21.123 to North Melbourne's 5.6.36 in round 7 at Pt Gellibrand, with Bob Briggs kicking 5 goals. They followed this up with a score of 14.16.100 to Northcote's 1.9.15 the following week with Jim Addison booting 5 goals. Williamstown also topped the ton in round 13, beating newcomers Brighton 16.4.100 to 2.9.21 with Bob Briggs kicking 6 goals, and downing North Melbourne in the return clash at  Arden St. in round 16, 17.19.121 to 6.4.40, when Briggs kicked 10 majors. This was a record number of goals in a game for Williamstown and was not bettered until Harry 'Soapy' Vallence booted 18 against Oakleigh in 1939. Briggs also kicked the most goals in a season for 'Town with a total of 59, which placed him second on the VFA list, behind Jack Hutchison of Footscray who booted 68. Jim Addison also kicked 39 for the year, which gave him seventh place. The team kicked a total of 161 goals and 217 behinds (1183 points) while opponents booted 101 goals and 155 behinds (761 points) during the season.

1907 premiership full-back, John Francis McCabe, who played under the pseudonym of Richard 'Dick' McKay, played again in 1908 before transferring to Port Melbourne in 1909 and for part of 1910 before returning to 'Town during the 1910 season. He played two further games with the Villagers before retiring after 14 seasons of senior football with Fitzroy (1897-98), St Kilda (1899-1903), South Melbourne (1904-07), Williamstown (1907-08 and 1910) and Port Melbourne (1909-10). 

Williamstown bowed out of the finals race in the first semi-final, losing to Footscray at North Melbourne, 6.9.45 to 4.6.30, before a crowd of 12,000. Three players made their debut for the Villagers in this game in Bill McKinley, Shelley and Vincent, replacing Lamb, Bill Carrie and Arthur Caldwell. None of the three played another senior game for Williamstown. Best players for 'Town were Bob Monar, Bert Amy, Bobby Gibbs jnr, Jim Addison, captain Wyn Outen, Frank Ellis and Jim Caldwell.  

A scene from the round 9 clash against Footscray at the Western/Whitten Oval, which the Tricolours won by 25 points, 6.7 to 2.6

 Part of the crowd of 5,000 at the round 9 game at Western/Whitten Oval against Footscray 

 Both photos from Melbourne Punch magazine, June 18, 1908

From Melbourne Leader, 20 June 1908, photo taken at Western/Whitten Oval before the round 9 game against Footscray which the Tricolours won by 25 points, 6.7.43 to 2.6.18.

Back row: Mat Outen, Mick Tyrell, F. Johnston, Bert Reitman, Bob Monar, Tommy Hall, Frank Ellis

Centre row: Percy Garbutt (vice-captain), A. Fairchild, Dick McKay, Wyn Outen (captain), Bobby Gibbs jnr, Ted Alley

Front row: Jim Caldwell, Arthur Caldwell, Bob Briggs, Jim Addison

Footscray went on to win the grand final, defeating Brunswick at the MCG before a crowd of 44,246, a record which would stand until the 1939 grand final. Williamstown secretary, Arthur H. Johnson snr, had rather ingeniously suggested to the VFA that the final be played there on a public holiday when the American fleet was in town, which attracted thousands of people to the city in the morning. On July 11 in 1908 at Williamstown for the round 13 game against Brighton, flags were flown at half-mast as a mark of respect for three former secretaries who had passed away since the last home game, namely George Fleming (1901-02), Tom Edmunds (1897-99) and Duncan McLeod (1870-71, 1873, 1876 and 1882-86). Edmunds, who died at his home suddenly on the morning of the game at the age of 48, was also the Club's VFA delegate 1898-1901 and 1903 and vice-president 1904. Fleming had been vice-president in 1903. McLeod was also vice-president in 1877 and 1879-80 and a committeeman in 1882. He was also the Club's VFA delegate from 1884-86 and treasurer in 1887, and was largely responsible for gaining the Club's elevation to senior status in 1884. He was 52 years of age. 

Henry John Norman Paternoster joined Williamstown from South Melbourne during 1908. Born in Gawler SA, Paternoster was recruited from South Broken Hill and played two games in rounds two and three of that season with South before crossing to 'Town. He was seriously injured in the second quarter at Preston in round 11 on debut when Mason of the Bullants charged him and badly damaged his shoulder which required hospitalisation. Paternoster did not play again that season and made one further appearance in 1909, against Brighton at Williamstown in round one, for a total of two senior games with the Villagers without kicking a goal. 

A Ladies Committee was mentioned for the first time in the annual report for the year, headed up by the wife of the Club secretary, Mrs A. H. Johnson, although there is evidence that one existed as early as 1903. Ted Alley and Dick McKay represented the VFA in a game against South Australia at Adelaide Oval on 20 June which was won by SA by 7 points. Alley, Jim 'Ginger' Caldwell and McKay also played for the VFA in a game at Broken Hill on 27 June which the VFA won by just one point. At the annual meeting in respect of the 1908 season, held at the Empress Pavilion in Garden St in March 1909, life memberships were awarded to former players W. (George) Baker (1902-06, 62 games 26 goals, vice-captain 1905) and Tommy Hall (1904-08). 

'Town's Bob Monar breaks clear with the ball in the round 18 clash with Footscray at Williamstown while umpire Kendall looks on. The Tricolours were victorious by 1 point, 5.8.38 to 5.7.37. The two teams met again the following week in the first semi-final at North Melbourne, and this time Footscray led all day to run out winners by 15 points, 6.9.45 to 4.6.30, and went on to be premiers for 1908 and skippered by former Williamstown captain of 1903/04, Tom 'Bully' McKinley. 

Bert Reitman of Williamstown takes a fine mark against Footscray in the round 18 game at Williamstown, which the Tricolours won by one point, 5.8 to 5.7

A Williamstown player heads goalwards with the ball in the round 18 game at Williamstown against Footscray, which the Tricolours won by a single point, 5.8 to 5.7

A section of the crowd enjoying the round 18 game at Williamstown against Footscray, which the Tricolours won by a single point, 5.8 to 5.7

All photos from Melbourne Punch magazine, August 20, 1908

Williamstown Chronicle, October 3 1936 - Frank Young was WFC treasurer in 1908 and a committeeman in 1910.

Jim Addison kicked 39 goals for the season, second only to Bob Briggs who booted 59. Addison was seventh on the VFA list of goalkickers, while Briggs was second behind Jack Hutchison of Footscray who scored 68 majors. 

The front page of the 1908 Annual Report 

The Argus, March 21, 1908

Williamstown Chronicle, March 21, 1908 - Duncan McLeod was Club secretary/treasurer in 1870-71, 1873, 1876 and 1882-86 and was largely responsible for the Club's elevation to senior status in 1884. He was also vice-president in 1877 and 1879-80 and a committeeman in 1882. He was also the Club's VFA delegate from 1884-86 and treasurer in 1887.

Williamstown Chronicle, July 18, 1908 - Club secretary 1897-98, the Club's VFA delegate 1898-1901 and 1903 and vice-president 1904, Tom Edmunds, passed away suddenly at his residence in Giffard Street on July 11, aged 48.

 The Australasian, July 18, 1908

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