Season Summary: 1913
Williamstown Juniors, effectively Williamstown's Seconds prior to the establishment of the VFA Reserves competition in 1928, travelled to Tasmania during Easter in 1913 and played two games against the Excelsior Football Club at Lindisfarne in Hobart. An enlarged copy of this photo was presented to the Excelsior Club upon the team's departure for Melbourne. The player in the middle of the front row, Charlie Tucker, was killed in action three years later at the Battle of Pozieres in France.
1907 premiership defender, Bert Reitman, took over the captain-coach mantle for the 1913 season with Bert Amy as vice-captain and the team showed belated improvement, winning eight of its last 10 games to finish fifth with 12 wins, just half a game behind fourth-placed Brunswick which drew with North Melbourne during the year. All home games were won in this season, which meant every other club was defeated at least once. Frank Rigaldi left for Carlton District and would later play one VFL game with Carlton in 1916 and two with Richmond in 1918 before returning to Williamstown in 1926 at the age of 32 and leading the Club goalkicking. Recruits included Bill Grant from Melbourne City, Hoey from Williamstown Juniors, Artie Adams, Jimmy Harrison and Leslie Coward, who ended up the leading goalkicker with 25 majors for the season. Williamstown kicked a total of 146 goals and 206 behinds (1082 points) while the opposition tallied 115 goals and 186 behinds (876 points).
Wally Gibbins joined Carlton in 1913 after having played 6 games and kicking 3 goals for Williamstown in 1910 and 1911. Originally from Carlton Districts, Gibbins would play 11 games and kick 10 goals for the VFL Blues in 1913 before heading interstate in 1914. He served in both World Wars, the second one at the age of almost 50.
The year commenced with a 3-goal loss at the Western/Whitten Oval to eventual premier, Footscray, and defeats were suffered in three of the first five games, with the only victories being over Northcote and Melbourne City, teams that would finish second-last and last, respectively. The season improved with a narrow win over eventual finalist, Brunswick, and then an 11-goal victory over Port Melbourne at Williamstown, despite being only 19 points in front at three-quarter time before unleashing a 7 goal to nil last quarter to double their score. Newcomer Coward booted 4 goals in the victory which saw the Villagers in sixth place on the ladder by round 7. The Australasian commented that 'the Portonians have fallen on evil days, and have been deserted by most of their following. Where a side is in need of sympathy and help, their usual portion is contempt and derision.'
A narrow loss at Essendon was followed by the season's biggest win by 70 points over Brighton at Williamstown and then the best performance of the year, a one-goal victory over eventual premier, Footscray, also at Williamstown, led by veteran small-man, Bobby Gibbs jnr. The win against Brighton was the first of what would become 19 consecutive victories by 'Town over the Penguins in the period up until 1925.
Long-serving defender, Bert Reitman, was appointed captain-coach for the 1913 season. Recruited from Collingwood during 1907, Reitman played in Williamstown's premiership team that season and retired after the 1914 season while still captain. He was immediately made a life member for his 8 years of service, and had two sons, Ron and Keith, who played seniors in the mid-1940's and were both in the 1948 Seconds premiership team.
A surprise defeat at Northcote was followed by three successive wins, including a thrilling one-point defeat of eventual grand finalist, North Melbourne, at Williamstown in round 12. A 5-goal loss at Brunswick dented the 'Town's finals hopes, but then another string of wins in the last three rounds of the home-and-away games made sure that Williamstown were still a chance to make the finals right up until the last round. Needing Brunswick to down Essendon Association, Williamstown players and officials sailed to their engagement at Brighton aboard the S.S. Williamstown and returned victorious, 11.19 to 8.10, but Essendon defeated Brunswick, 14.11 to 7.12, to clinch a finals place and deny the Villagers their first appearance since 1908.
Captain of 1908 and 1909 and vice-captain of the 1907 premiership team, Wyn Outen, married Priscilla Dainton at Shepparton on January 12, 1913. They took up residence in Williamstown where they raised five children, one of whom, Reg, was an emergency in Williamstown's 1939 premiership team. Wyn played a total of 99 games and kicked 19 goals for 'Town from 1899-1901 and from 1907-09. He played for St Kilda from 1903-05 and in early 1907 before returning to Williamstown. He played 54 games and kicked 3 goals for the Saints and had a year playing in WA in 1906. Wyn passed away on November 10, 1964, at the age of 84.
During the season, 'Town gave supporters some anxious moments with narrow victories over fourth-placed Brunswick by 3 points at Williamstown in round 6, eventual premiers Footscray by a goal at Williamstown in round 10, runners-up North Melbourne by a point also at Williamstown in round 12 and third-placed Essendon by 9 points at Williamstown in round 17. The team also lost to Essendon at Windy Hill by 2 points in round 8. The round 14 clash with Prahran at Williamstown ended in controversy when the secretary, Arthur Johnson senior, was alleged to have rung the bell to end the game rather than the official timekeeper with the Two Blues 8 points in arrears but kicking with a strong breeze and had scored 2.3 to NIL in the last term. 9 goals 20 behinds were scored at the end to which Prahran were kicking during the game and only 1.4 at the other end of the ground.
Membership in this season stood at 532 adults, 65 youths and 250 ladies, easily the best total in the Club's history.
Commercialisation of the game was alive and well in the early 20th century
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