Season Summary: 1922
In November 1921, Williamstown, along with Prahran and Footscray applied to join the VFL, while Camberwell, Coburg and Geelong West applied to join the VFA. All applications were rejected. Williamstown also made it known that it preferred the Gardens (Fearon) Reserve to the cricket ground and was willing to pay cash for a new fence and the erection of a pavilion although it would prefer the removal of the Cricket Club pavilion and its re-erection on the Reserve.
Second ruckman in Williamstown's 1921 premiership side, Charlie Stanbridge, transferred to Port Melbourne in 1922 and played in their premiership team of that year. After three seasons he crossed to South Melbourne in 1925 and played 69 games and kicked 12 goals over the next five seasons, winning South's best and fairest in 1928 and being appointed captain in 1929. He also represented the VFL on seven occasions. Stanbridge returned to Port Melbourne for three seasons before coming home to Williamstown as captain-coach in 1933, winning the Club best and fairest, the Recorder Cup and VFA Medal in an outstanding season. He then played the first seven matches of 1934 after being replaced as captain-coach by Ted Cahill, represented the VFA against the VFL and was then cleared to Camberwell as assistant coach. Stanbridge was appointed coach of South Melbourne Districts in 1935.
Essendon Association amalgamated with the remnants of the North Melbourne Club before the season but the merged entity played on under North's name and managed to finish third on the ladder but lost both games against 'Town. A Geelong team playing out of Kardinia Park was also admitted, alleviating the need for a bye caused by Essendon's demise. Williamstown reappointed Jim Caldwell and Dick Condon to their positions of captain-coach and vice-captain, respectively, but 1922 got off to a bad start when Bob King was enticed to transfer to Williamstown Juniors by Captain James Fearon, the Juniors' president, as captain-coach but he could only get them to fifth position. Charlie Stanbridge crossed to Port Melbourne, Dave Elliman went back to Melbourne, Richard 'Ginger' Armstrong went to the country and 'Corker' Jamieson retired during the season, all key players in the premiership team of 1921. During the year Harry Haughton took up a country coaching position and Jack O'Connell crossed to South Melbourne without a clearance.
Mortimer Patrick 'Dan' Kiely joined Williamstown from Carlton in 1922 after 53 games with the Blues from 1914-17 & 1919-21, including the losing 1916 grand final. Originally from Brunswick Juniors, Kiely was sensationally suspended for life for abusing a steward at a tribunal hearing following the 1917 first semi-final loss to Fitzroy. The suspension was lifted during 1919 and Kiely played on until the end of 1921. He injured his knee at Northcote in round 6 of the 1922 season after three games for Williamstown and never played again.
New players included Allan Geddes from North Melbourne Juniors, Thomas O'Keefe from Northcote, Bert Colechin from Collingwood, Dan Kiely from Carlton and Harry 'Cop' Dussell from Essendon VFL. Bill Whitburn, Aub Holten, Jim Sutherland and H. Purtle were others to join, the last three being from Williamstown Juniors. Star Carlton and Victorian follower, Rupert 'Rupe' Hiskins, was rumoured to have signed with Williamstown and was named in the squad for the opening match against Prahran but Carlton refused to clear him and he returned to play with the Blues until the end of 1924. Another Carlton player, C. Frost, joined the team during the season.
Dave Elliman (pictured here in The Herald of July 30, 1926, when playing with Camberwell), centreman in the Williamstown 1921 premiership team, returned to Melbourne in 1922 after having earlier played with the Demons in 1919/20. Elliman played 11 games and kicked 2 goals for 'Town. He later played with Hawthorn in their first season in the VFL in 1925 before crossing to Camberwell for the 1926/27 seasons. He transferred to NSW with his employment in 1928 and played with North Shore in the Sydney competition for the next 5 seasons. He was captain-coach of the NSW team at the 1930 ANFC carnival in Adelaide and won the Phelan Medal for the best player in the Sydney competition the same year. Elliman then joined the Federal Government Department of the Interior and transferred to Canberra and played with Acton in 1933/34 and then Eastlake from 1935-40. He coached the ACT team at the 1933 ANFC carnival held in Sydney. Elliman remained in Canberra, apart from a stint in the AIF during the Second World War, for the rest of his life until passing away on July 7, 1995, aged 93.
The season commenced with the year's biggest victory, by 77 points over Prahran at Williamstown, with Jim McAuliffe kicking 5 goals. Before the game, the premiership pennant won in 1921 was unfurled by the Club president's wife, Mrs Ditty. This was followed by a narrow 3 point win at Arden St over the rejuvenated North Melbourne, the first by the Villagers since 1913 and the first at Arden St. since 1909. The victory was repeated at Williamstown in round 11 with an 8-point win, also the first time that the Northeners had been downed twice in a season since 1909. A one-goal defeat at Port Melbourne was followed by two victories at Williamstown over Brunswick and Brighton by 34 points (McAuliffe 6 goals) which had 'Town in third position on the ladder by round 6. It was the 13th consecutive win over Brighton. Two losses at Northcote and at Williamstown to Hawthorn by just 2 points meant the Villagers were now back in sixth position on the ladder. The Argus reported that 'at Williamstown, where Hawthorn were successful by 2 points, the crowd blamed the umpire, who had to put up with much abuse. As they returned to the pavilion several attempts were made to strike them. One woman who was particularly aggressive tried to strike the umpire with an umbrella, and a man who was said to have endeavoured to hit a boundary umpire was promptly siezed by a constable. About 300 people waited about outside the pavilion for the umpires, and when they came out surrounded by police, they were followed by a mob to the railway station. Stones and mud were thrown, and finally the umpires were driven away in a motor car.' The home crowd had been incensed by field umpire Thompson's failure to pay a mark to Jim McAuliffe in the goal square with only seconds remaining in the match, and chased him toward Battery Road before police came to his rescue.
Albert Burton 'Bert' Colechin came to Williamstown from Collingwood in 1922. Originally from Prahran and then Fitzroy Juniors, he played 57 games with the Magpies from 1916-21, including the 1919 premiership and the 1918 & 1920 losing grand finals. Colechin also represented Victoria against SA in 1921. He came to Williamstown before clearances closed on June 30 and debuted against Port Melbourne at Williamstown in round 12 at the age of 35 in a two-goal loss. He only played 6 games with 'Town before moving on at the end of the year.
A 6-goal win at Kardinia Park over the new Geelong Association team followed and more umbrella action occurred as reported by The Argus, which stated that 'when the players were leaving the field a woman insulted the Geelong captain, and as he was passing through the gate she attempted to strike him with an umbrella.' A 9-point loss to eventual runner-up Footscray preceded wins over eventual wooden-spooner, Prahran, and finalist North Melbourne by 8 points on a wet day at Williamstown. A 2-goal loss to eventual premier, Port Melbourne, and a draw at Brunswick was summed up by The Argus which 'saw a bitter, unpleasant game in which punching, tripping, undue roughness and all the worst features of the game were displayed. The display of the two clubs was unworthy of the clubs and to the Association to which they belong. It will be surprising if there are not several men reported.' Two consecutive victories followed at Brighton by 20 points, even though the Villagers had 27 scoring shots to 12, and at Williamstown over Northcote by 49 points (Fred Carpenter 6 goals). The home-and-away games were rounded out with defeats in two of the last three games, interspersed with the second win of the year over newcomers, Geelong Association, this time by 52 points at Pt Gellibrand.
The Herald June 17, 1922 - 'Corker' Jamieson was first ruck in Williamstown's 1921 premiership team after coming from Williamstown Juniors in 1919. He played 43 games and kicked 8 goals up until the end of 1922. He was the uncle of Stan 'Nugget' Jamieson who played in 'Town's 1939 premiership side and the 1941 Seconds pennant team, both games being played on the MCG. Stan Jamieson and Jim Quinn are the only two Williamstown players to feature in two premierships played on the MCG. Jim Jamieson also played in premierships with Williamstown Juniors in 1916, when vice-captain, and 1919.
Nevertheless, Williamstown made the final four on percentage from Brunswick and Hawthorn with a rather modest 10 wins from its 18 home-and-away engagements. However, 'Town went down to Port Melbourne in the first semi-final at Arden Street before a crowd of 14,000, 13.14.92 to 8.3.51. The game was lost in the second and third quarters when the Villagers added only two behinds to the quarter time score compared to Port's 2.2 and the Borough then booted 6.4 to 2.0 to have the match sewn up at three-quarter time with a lead of 46 points after leading by 58 shortly before the break. It was Port's first win in a final at its seventh attempt and they went on to take its first VFA premiership with a 2-point win over Footscray at North Melbourne. Fred Carpenter kicked 3 goals for 'Town while better players were Harry Dussell, Dick Condon, Bill Whitburn, Herb Miles, Tom Geisler, Laurie Smith, Allan Geddes, Stan Mitchell and Norm McDonald. 1921 Williamstown premiership player, Charlie Stanbridge, played for Port Melbourne in this game.
Jim McAuliffe was leading goalkicker again with 48, closely followed by Fred Carpenter with 42, Norm McDonald on 23 and Harry Haughton 10. The team managed 183 goals and 195 behinds (1293 points) to 154 goals and 184 behinds (1108 points) kicked by opponents. Membership of the Club increased to a record number in this season, with 1623 senior season ticket holders and 208 youths. There was also an unprecedented level of turnover (1676 pounds) as well as expenses (1564 pounds). During the year, the secretary of the Club and VFA delegate, Les Thompson, resigned from both positions after a disagreement with the committee and the son of former secretary, Arthur Johnson senior, took up that role and A.L. Dixon became the VFA delegate. The year concluded with an end-of-season trip to Maryborough in October by 40 players and committeemen led by the Club's VFA delegate, Jack Dennis.
Sporting Globe, September 6 1922 - a scene from the first semi-final at North Melbourne, won by Port Melbourne 13.14.92 to Williamstown's 8.3.51
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