Season Summary: 1916
W. (Reg) Wallis, pictured in 1914, played 57 games and kicked 11 goals for Williamstown from 1912-15. He became captain-coach of Williamstown Juniors in 1916 during the war recess until suffering a bad leg injury in round 5 against Footscray Juniors and was replaced by the North Melbourne champion rover, Charlie Hardy. Wallis then went to Footscray in 1918. With pre-war teammate, Ted Alley, he then went to Hawthorn and played 35 games from 1919-21.
The VFA went into recess in 1916 and 1917 due to the seriousness of the Great War and the large number of young men enlisting, and the following Williamstown players, coach and commiteeman were on active service by May of 1916: Alex 'Joker' Hall (coach), Harry Cox (committeeman), Ted Alley, Richard Anderson, C. Clemens, Bert McTaggart, Norm & Ted Busbridge, Jack MacDonald, Cecil McLean, Charlie Dunn, Bob Monk, William Reeves, Tom Bell and D. Strachan. Player from 1912-14, John 'Jacky' May, left for Europe in February 1917. The Association could not muster a full complement of clubs when it resumed in 1918, with only Footscray, Northcote, Port Melbourne, North Melbourne, Prahran and Brunswick participating. North won the grand final by 93 points over Prahran. Williamstown, Hawthorn, Brighton and Essendon rejoined the VFA in 1919. The Victorian Junior Football Association (VJFA) continued during this period in order to provide sport for those too young and those not able to go overseas and to keep some spark of interest in the Association for those charged with the task of rebuilding the competition after the war ended. The many senior players who came into the various teams lifted the standard of play immensely and, with no Association football, the crowds were content to follow the juniors.
Williamstown Juniors won the pennant in 1916 in that competition from second place at the completion of the 16 home-and-away rounds with 13 wins, but only after defeating Preston Juniors, the minor premiers, twice. Both games were held at the East Melbourne Cricket Ground, after 'Town overcame Yarraville in the first final before a crowd of over 3,000, 16.9.105 to 3.0.18. The first grand final resulted in a controversial one-point victory to Williamstown, 11.10 to 11.9, after Preston led by 4 points late in the game before the umpire awarded a free kick to Williamstown for time-wasting by Preston's Mutch after he had taken a fine contested mark. The resultant kick from 'Town's Ernie Dean scored a goal to win the game for the Villagers.
As Preston had finished minor premiers, they had the right to 'challenge' the result by way of a rematch the following week. The Villagers were sucessful once again in front of a crowd of 5,000, downing Preston by just 3 points, 2.9.21 to 2.6.18, under captain-coach, champion North Melbourne rover Charlie Hardy, who replaced former Williamstown senior player, Reg Wallis, when he was badly injured early in the season. Jim 'Corker' Jamieson, who debuted for the senior team in the losing second semi-final against North Melbourne in 1915, was vice-captain. Preston were coached by Percy Ogden, father of the future Williamstown dual premiership coach, Gordon Ogden. Preston's two goals both came in the first quarter, and their player Strawbridge had an opportunity to kick at an unguarded goal with 10 minutes play remaining but missed and recorded the last score of the match. Whilst the 'Second Twenty' had won premierships previously, this was the first in the VJFA.
The Prahran Telegraph, October 21 1916 - The Williamstown Juniors team that won the Club's first VJFA premiership in 1916, containing future Williamstown senior players Johnny Martin snr (42 games 41 goals 1923-27, captain-coach 1926) and vice-captain Jim 'Corker' Jamieson (43 games 8 goals 1919-22, 1921 premiership).
Williamstown Chronicle, October 21 1916 - Williamstown Juniors won their first VJFA premiership in 1916, with Jim Jamieson best-on-ground. Jamieson would go on to be first ruck in Williamstown's VFA premiership team of 1921. Future Williamstown captain-coach of 1926, John Martin snr, was also named amongst the best players.
Williamstown Advertiser, October 21, 1916.
The VJFA premiership medal of 1916, awarded to Jim 'Corker' Jamieson, vice-captain of the Williamstown Juniors team. He would go on to play 43 games and kick 8 goals with Williamstown from 1919-22, including the 1921 VFA premiership. He was the uncle of Stan 'Nugget' Jamieson who played in Williamstown's 1939 premiership team and the 1941 Seconds premiership side, one of only two Williamstown players to play in two premierships on the MCG, with Jim Quinn being the other.
'The Pioneer Exhibition Game of Australian Football in London', was held at Queens Club, West Kensington, London on October 28, 1916, between the Third Australian Divisional team and another team of Australian serviceman, called the Australian Combined Training Units, and played in aid of the British and French Red Cross. It was the first-ever exhibition of Australian Football played on foreign soil. The match raised 1,000 pounds (approximately $153,000 now). The match was organised by Lieutenant (later Sir) Frank Beaurepaire and attracted a crowd estimated at between 3,000 and 8,000, including the (then) Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII) and his third cousin, the former King Manuel II of Portugal.
The Third Australian Divisional team contained two Williamstown players, Leslie Edward 'Leggo' Lee (#11) and Edwin John 'Ted' Alley (#14). Lee is shown fourth from the left in the back row while Alley is far right in the front row. Lee played 12 games with 'Town in 1915 after earlier playing 2 games with Richmond in 1913 as an 18yo. He was killed in action on 8 June 1917 at Messines, Belgium. Alley played with 'Town from 1905-15, totalling 160 games and 20 goals. He captained Williamstown's first premiership side in 1907 after the captain-coach, Paddy Noonan, sensationally resigned on the eve of the finals. He was captain-coach for the first six rounds of the 1911 season before stepping down and being replaced by Bert Amy, and was captain again in 1915. He played 16 games for South Melbourne before coming to Williamstown and went to Hawthorn for the 1919-20 seasons after the War. A third Williamstown player, Ted Busbridge (#22), was named in the squad but did not play. He played 53 games for 'Town from 1912-15 after joining the Club from Essendon Association. He became a Prisoner of War during the campaign. Frank Beaurepaire is in uniform in the centre of the middle row. The Third Australian Divisional team won the contest 6.16.52 to 4.12.36.
The playing list from the official record of the game.
Further information about this game and some remastered footage can be viewed at the following link and by clicking on the first image
and also here by copying and pasting the following link into your web browser https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LuUjgJHLgdg
Williamstown Advertiser, November 4, 1916
Have a look to see how the VFL side wentRead more ...